The Best Musical Artists From Hawaii

Over 400 Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Best Musical Artists From Hawaii
Voting Rules
Only artists born or raised in Hawaii or bands formed in Hawaii.

Here are the best artists and bands from Hawaii. Despite Hawaii's small size in comparison to other states, it has made some major contributions to the music industry. For example, the styling of the slack-key guitar is recognizable no matter where you live around the globe. The state has also impacted the country music genre with the introduction of the steel guitar, which can be heard in dozens of classic songs. One thing is certain. When you look at the best musical artists from Hawaii, you never know what you might get. 

From folk artists to rock bands, Hawaii has an incredibly diverse roster of artists to call its own. All of the artists on this list were either born in the state or raised there at some point in their childhoods. Don Ho's song "Tiny Bubbles" was a smash hit upon its release. All of the members of the band Iration came from Hawaii, and now, they play their smooth, reggae beats for audiences to enjoy worldwide. Other popular Hawaii artists include Israel Kamakawiwoʻole, Jack Johnson, and Hoku.

Even if you come from the mainland, you will find artists here you adore. Determining who the most famous Hawaii musical artists are is entirely in your hands. It is up to you to decide who the biggest kahuna of them all is. 

Photo: Peter Chiapperino / Wikimedia Commons
Ranked by
  • Israel Kamakawiwo'ole
    Music of Hawaii, Reggae, Jazz
    142 votes
    • Albums: Alone in IZ World, Over The Rainbow, N Dis Life, Facing Future, E Ala Ē
    Israel Kaʻanoʻi Kamakawiwoʻole (pronounced [kəˌmɐkəˌvivoˈʔole]; Hawaiian for "The Fearless Eyed Man"; May 20, 1959 – June 26, 1997), also called Bruddah Iz or IZ, was a Native Hawaiian ...more
  • Ledward Kaapana (born August 25, 1948) is a Hawaiian musician, best known for playing in the slack key guitar style. He also plays steel guitar, ukulele, autoharp and bass guitar, and is a baritone ...more
  • Don Ho
    Pop music, Music of Hawaii, Traditional pop music
    78 votes
    • Albums: Hawaii's Greatest Hits, Tiny Bubbles, Greatest Hits!, Hawaiian Favorites, Don Ho Gold
    Donald Tai Loy Ho (August 13, 1930 – April 14, 2007) was an American traditional pop musician, singer and entertainer. He is best known for the song "Tiny Bubbles" from the album of the same name.
  • Jack Johnson
    Indie pop, Tropical rock, Pop music
    88 votes
    • Albums: In Between Dreams, Sleep Through the Static, On and On, En Concert, To the Sea
    Jack Hody Johnson (born May 18, 1975) is an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, actor, record producer, documentary filmmaker and former professional surfer. Johnson is known primarily ...more
  • Moe Keale
    39 votes
    Wilfred Nalani "Moe" Keale (December 3, 1939 - April 15, 2002) was a musician of Hawaiian music, a ukulele virtuoso, and an American actor. He was the uncle and major musical influence of Israel ...more
  • Cecilio & Kapono

    Cecilio & Kapono

    56 votes