244 voters

The Best Musical Artists From Hawaii

Updated May 12, 2021 1.9k votes 244 voters 14.1k views82 items

List RulesOnly 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. 

  • 1

    Israel Kamakawiwo'ole

    Music of Hawaii, Reggae

    AlbumsAlone 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

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  • 2

    Don Ho

    Pop music, Music of Hawaii

    AlbumsHawaii'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....  more
  • 3

    Jack Johnson

    Indie pop, Tropical rock

    AlbumsIn 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

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  • 4

    Jake Shimabukuro

    Pop music, Rock music

    AlbumsLive, Gently Weeps, Walking Down Rainhill, Dragon, Crosscurrent

    Jake Shimabukuro (born November 3, 1976, in Honolulu, Hawaii) is an American ukulele virtuoso and composer known for his fast and complex finger work. His music combines elements of jazz, blues,...  more
  • 5
    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
  • 6

    The Brothers Cazimero


    AlbumsHawaiian Paradise, Hawaiian Hula Eyes, Destiny, The Brothers Cazimero: Volume 2, Destination Paradise

    The Brothers Cazimero are a Hawaiian musical duo made up of Robert Cazimero on bass and Roland Cazimero on twelve string guitar. Robert also plays piano as a solo musician. The Cazimeros got their...  more
  • 7

    AlbumsThe Exotic Sounds of the Arthur Lyman Group, Hawaiian Sunset, Taboo, Yellow Bird, Taboo 2

    Arthur Lyman (February 2, 1932 – February 24, 2002) was an American jazz vibraphone and marimba player. His group popularized a style of faux-Polynesian music during the 1950s and 1960s which later...  more
  • 8

    Alfred Apaka

    Traditional pop music, Standard

    AlbumsGreatest Hits of Hawaii, Alfred Apaka's Greatest Hits, The Best of Alfred Apaka with the Hawaiian Village Serenaders

    Alfred Aholo Apaka, Jr. (March 19, 1919 – January 30, 1960) was a Hawaiian singer whose romantic baritone voice was closely identified with Hawaii between the late 1940s and the early 1960s. Alfred...  more
  • 9

    The Green

    The Green is a reggae band formed in 2009 on Oahu, Hawaii. Their sound blends roots reggae with traditional Hawaiian vibes....  more
  • 10

    Yvonne Elliman

    Popular music, Ballad

    AlbumsThe Best of Yvonne Elliman, The Very Best of Yvonne Elliman, Love Me, Food of Love, 20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: The Best of Yvonne Elliman

    Yvonne Marianne Elliman (born December 29, 1951) is an American singer, songwriter, and actress who performed for four years in the first cast of Jesus Christ Superstar. She scored a number of hits...  more


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  • 11

    Eddie Kamae

    Music of Hawaii

    AlbumsEddie Kamae & Friends

    Edward Leilani "Eddie" Kamae (August 4, 1927 – January 7, 2017) was one of the founding members of Sons of Hawaii. He was a 'ukulele virtuoso, singer, composer, film producer and primary proponent...  more
  • 12

    Glenn Medeiros

    Pop music, New jack swing

    AlbumsGlenn Medeiros, Not Me, Sweet Island Music, Nothing's Gonna Change My Love for You, Captured

    Glenn Alan Medeiros (born June 24, 1970) is an American singer and songwriter of Portuguese descent who achieved chart success in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He is best known on the national and...  more
  • 13

    Cecilio & Kapono

  • 14

    Agnes Lum

    Agnes Nalani Lum (born May 21, 1956) is an American gravure idol, singer, actress, and bikini model popular in Japan in the late 1970s and early 1980s. At that time, she was nicknamed "Lum-chan" in...  more
  • 15

    Genoa Keawe

    Pop music, Easy listening

    AlbumsHana Hou! Volume 1

    ‘Aunty’ Genoa Leilani Adolpho Keawe-Aiko (October 31, 1918 – February 25, 2008) was a Hawaiian musician. Aunty Genoa was born on the island of Oʻahu in the Kakaʻako district of Honolulu and grew up...  more
  • 16

    Ooklah The Moc

    Roots reggae
    Ooklah The Moc is a band formed in 1997 playing roots reggae. Through the years and several lineup changes, Ooklah became a strictly roots dub reggae band and reached its present 8-person lineup in...  more


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  • 17


    Rock music, Reggae

    AlbumsAutomatic, New Roots, Fresh Grounds, Time Bomb, No Time for Rest

    Iration is a reggae group from Santa Barbara, CA. All members originally hail from Hawaii. They play a mix of reggae, dub, rock and are known for playing a lot of Sunshine Reggae....  more
  • 18

    Bette Midler

    Adult contemporary music, Pop music

    AlbumsThe Rose, Cool Yule, Beaches, Bette, Some People's Lives

    Bette Midler (born December 1, 1945) is an American singer, songwriter, actress, comedian, and film producer. Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, Midler began her professional career in several...  more

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  • 19
  • 20
    Poncie Ponce (born Ponciano Hernandez; April 10, 1933 – July 19, 2013) was an American actor, musician and stand-up comedian. Born in Maui, Hawaii, he moved to Los Angeles, where from 1959–1963 he...  more
  • 21
    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
  • 22

    Razed in Black

    Electro-industrial, Gothic rock

    AlbumsShare This Poison: Retrospective, Sacrificed, Oh My Goth!, Shrieks, Laments & Anguished Cries

    Razed in Black is a gothic electronic music act created by Romell Regulacion (vocals, keyboards, guitars) and is supported in live performances by band members Chris Nelson and Raj Kapololu. The band...  more
  • 23

    Go Jimmy Go

    Ska, Reggae

    AlbumsThe Girl With The Fishbowl Eyes, Slow Time ..., Soul Arrival

    Go Jimmy Go is a ska, rocksteady, reggae and soul influenced band from Honolulu, Hawaii. Although chronologically, the band belongs to the third-wave, their mellow, slower tempo sound is reminiscent...  more

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  • 24


    Pop music, Rock music

    AlbumsHoku, Listen Up

    Hoku Ho Clements (born June 10, 1981) is an American singer. She is best known for her 2000 hit single "Another Dumb Blonde" from the soundtrack and film Snow Day and the song "Perfect Day" from the...  more
  • 25


    BK3 is the third solo album by rock guitarist Bruce Kulick. It was released by Twenty4 Records on February 2, 2010. Bruce Kulick has been the lead guitarist for Grand Funk Railroad since 2001. He was...  more