Maui Arts & Entertainment

2021 Nā Hōkū Hanohano Winners List: Kainani Kahaunaele Wins 7 Awards in 6 Categories

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Kainani Kahaunaele. Photo courtesy Maui Arts & Cultural Center.

Kainani Kahaunaele was the standout at the 44th Annual Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards, winning seven awards in six categories for her third album Waipunalei.

Kainani’s wins include two awards as both the artist and the producer of Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Female Vocalist of the Year, Hawaiian Music Album of the Year, and Hawaiian Language Performance. Hiapo K. Perreira and Kainani Kahaunaele also won a Hōkū for Haku Mele Award for Ohaoha Kou Lei Pua I Ka Hikina.

Kainani Kahaunaele, vocalist. PC: Our Kuleana.

The Hawai‘i Academy of Recording Arts recognized Hawai‘i’s recording industry and brightest stars during the event Thursday night. With 12 live performances and 40 award categories, the Annual Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards celebrated virtually with the theme of Ho‘āla Hou – A New Awakening.

“It’s been almost two years since the world shut down and many of our beloved HARA members were left to navigate their careers after having gigs and concerts cancelled,” said HARA President Amy Hānaiali‘i. “To recognize the resiliency, grace, creativity, and innovation of our recording artists, we chose the theme of Hoʻāla Hou – A New Awakening as a rebirth for the industry.”

Other musical standouts included Lukela Keala who won Male Vocalist of the Year and Island Music Album of the Year for his namesake album. As the lead vocalist of the group Ekolu, Lukela allso who won Group of the Year and Reggae Album of the Year for 2020. Iolani and Natalie Ai Kamauu won three Hōkū’s for Single of the Year, Hawaiian Single of the Year and Music Video of the Year. Keilana was named as the Most Promising Artist of the Year and won R&B Album of the Year for I Am


If you missed the world premiere, the show will be rebroadcast on Saturday, Oct. 9 on KGMB; and Saturday, Oct. 30 on KHNL.

Album of the Year (Artist’s & Producer’s Award)
Waipunalei by Kainani Kahaunaele (Māhuahua Music LLC) Kainani Kahaunaele, Producer 

EP (“Extended Play”) of the Year
Where I Reside by Kalaʻe ( Kalaʻe) 

Hawaiian EP (“Extended Play”) of the Year
He Mele No Papa by Kalani Miles (Mea Nui Records LLC) 

Single of the Year
Noelani by Iolani & Natalie Ai Kamauu (Keko Records LLC) 


Hawaiian Single of the Year
My Sweet by Iolani & Natalie Ai Kamauu (Keko Records LLC) 

Christmas Single of the Year
O Holy Night by Kalani Peʻa (Peʻa Records & Entertainment)

Music Video of the Year
Noelani by Iolani & Natalie Ai Kamauu (Keko Records LLC) Justyn Ah Chong – Video Director / Kapena Delima – Music Producer

Hawaiian Music Video of the Year
Worldwide #Jam4MaunaKea – Kū Ha’aheo & Hawai’i Loa by Mana Maoli (Mana Maoli) Mitch Viernes – Video Director / Kelii Heath-Cruz – Music Producer

Instrumental Composition of the Year (Composer’s Award)
Brave by Kris Fuchigami (Kris Fuchigami)


Song of the Year (Composer’s Award)
Waipunalei by Kainani Kahaunaele (Māhuahua Music LLC)

Female Vocalist of the Year
Kainani Kahaunaele for Waipunalei (Māhuahua Music LLC)

Male Vocalist of the Year
Lukela Keala for Lukela Keala (Waiehu Records)

Group of the Year
Ekolu for 2020 (Waiehu Records)

Most Promising Artist(s) of the Year
Keilana for I Am (Zeo Music)

Alternative Album of the Year
Chroma (Vol. 1) by Sean Cleland (Sean Cleland Music LLC)

Anthology of the Year (Producer’s Award)
Anthology Album by Tropical Knights (KDE Records) Kapena DeLima, Producer

Christmas Album of the Year
Kapena: A Kapena Family Christmas Special by Kapena (KDE Records)

Compilation Album of the Year (Producer’s Award)
Lei Nāhonoapiʻilani: Nā Mele Hou (North Beach West Maui Benefit Fund) Zachary Alakaʻi Lum & Nicholas Kealiʻi Lum, Producers

Contemporary Album of the Year
Henry’s House by Henry Kapono (Kapono Records)

Contemporary Acoustic Album of the Year
First Dance by Kaleo Phillips (Maui Tribe Records)

Hawaiian Music Album of the Year
Waipunalei by Kainani Kahaunaele (Māhuahua Music LLC)

Hawaiian Slack Key Album of the Year
Far Away by Patrick Landeza (Addison Street)

Hip Hop Album of the Year
From Beneath Maunakea by Punahele (Punahele)

Instrumental Album of the Year
Queen Liliʻuokalani by The Mana Music Quartet (Mana Music Hawaiʻi)

Island Music Album of the Year
Lukela Keala by Lukela Keala (Waiehu Records)

Jazz Album of the Year
Your Refrain by Maggie Herron ( Herron Song Records)

Metal Album of the Year
Poisoned Love by Storm (Tin Idol Productions)

R&B Album of the Year
I Am by Keilana (Zeo Music)

Reggae Album of the Year
2020 by Ekolu (Waiehu Records)

Religious Album of the Year
Nā Halelū by Kenneth Makuakāne (Makuakane Music Music)

Rock Album of the Year
Diamond Head Road by Michael Piranha (Tubby Tunes Records)

ʻUkulele Album of the Year
ʻUkulele Life by Herb Ohta Jr. (Lele Music Productions)

Favorite Entertainer of the Year
Henry Kapono Kaʻaihue

International Album Special Recognition Award
Kaulana (TRIO) – Leolani

Haku Mele (Composer’s Award)
Hiapo K. Perreira & Kainani Kahaunaele for “Ohaoha Kou Lei Pua I Ka Hikina” 

Hawaiian Language Performance (Artist Award)
Waipunalei by Kainani Kahaunaele (Māhuahua Music LLC) 

Hawaiian Engineering Award
Michael Casil for Lei Makamae by Makamae Auwae (Soulforth Records) 

General Engineering Award
Imua Garza, Nate Brown & Evan Khay for In The Wilderness by Rachel Morley (Zeo Music Worship) 

Liner Notes Award
Uʻilani Tanigawa Lum & Zachary Alakaʻi Lum for Huliāmahi, Vol. 1 by Various Artists

Graphics Award
Elsa Senner for Sway by Tavana

This year’s presenting sponsor was The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement; legacy sponsor Kintetsu International Hawaii Company; and supporting sponsors Papa Ola Lokahi, Ala Moana Hotel, Hilton Hawaiian Village, Outrigger Hotels and Resorts, Queen’s Health Systems, Hawaiʻi Theatre Center, Moanalua Gardens, Summit Media, Hawaiʻi News Now, KoAloha Ukulele, Creative Labs of Hawai‘i, Hawai‘i’s Creative Industries; and special thanks was extended to DTL Hawai‘i for their commitment to Hawai‘i’s recording industry. 

The Hawai‘i Academy of Recording Arts is a non-profit organization founded in 1982 to promote Hawai‘i’s recording industry and the music of Hawai‘i. HARA’s mission to preserve, protect, promote, foster and advance Hawai‘i’s recording industry and the music of Hawai‘i. Governed by a voluntary 13 member-elected Board with over 500 members, HARA’s origins date back to 1978 and KCCN-AM Radio, then the world’s only all-Hawaiian music radio station. HARA hosts the Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards and Lifetime Achievement Awards to honor the most prestigious and legendary entertainers in Hawai‘i’s recording industry.


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