Kawehi Wight, better known by her stage name, I am Kawehi, or simply Kawehi, was born on 9th January 1983 in Honolulu, Hawaii. She is a singer/songwriter who creates her own music using a combination of beatboxing, guitar and ukulele, which she records and mixes using a digital audio workstation (DAW) with software and hardware used for looping layers of music.
Below is her brilliant loop pedal cover of Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel”. All musicians and non musicians will be able to appreciate how good this cover is, but especially loop pedal users. The way Kawehi uses the tracks available on her RC-300 is nothing short of genius!
To a novice, it sounds complicated, but Kawehi’s cover of Nirvana’s Heart Shaped Box, which went viral in 2014, was in fact supposed to be nothing more than a practice session – a “spur of the moment, halfway through a bottle of wine thing”. Nevertheless, the cover has achieved more than two million views on youtube.
After graduation high school, Kawehi moved to Los Angeles after she successfully auditioned for a band, but it was not long before she realized that the type of music and lifestyle were not what she expected or wanted and she parted ways with the band shortly after. She would later move to Lawrence, Kansas, after her husband, Paul, discovered a “beautiful” and affordable recording studio, and the couple have resided there ever since.
After the viral success of Heart Shaped Box, Kawehi set up a Kickstarter to fund her first EP, which proved to be successful, and Robot Heart was released in July 2014.
Described as a collection of songs from the perspective of a robot girl, Robot Heart was received well by critics, who praised the title track as “catchy, syrup and pleasant ear candy” (popdose, July 21st, 2014). Her music has also become a firm favourite with some of the world’s biggest musicians, with Courtney Love tweeting that Kawehi was a “genius”, referring to her viral cover of Love’s late husband’s hit.
In an effort to give back to her community, Kawehi hires local talent to produce artwork for her CDs and DVDs. Despite her growing success, she remains loyal to Lawrence, the city where she found her recording studio and her sound, and where she now calls home. “I love it here”, she told LJWorld in 2014, “It’s beautiful, quiet, calm. I love the wide-open space.
Kawehi represents a rare breed of musician; the type that pursue a career in music, because they cannot imagine doing anything else, and staying true to themselves, rather than chasing guaranteed success. She prefers a quiet life in Lawrence to the glitz and glamour of LA. Tired of simply playing the guitar and singing, she began to experiment with digital music, an experiment which ended up paying off. Now Kawehi has become an underground success in her own right.
She has been featured in Music Connection Magazine’s Hot 100 Unsigned Artists and Bands. During lockdown in 2020, she released the quarantine sessions, a collection of songs performed in her living room. Now that restrictions have been lifted, she is bringing the Qurantine Sessions to an international tour, which she recently took to Europe and the UK recently, in April 2022.