The Sound of Musical Collaboration

Jerry and Katherine Brocklehurst

Bigger and better than ever, the four-day Kaua’i Music Festival includes seminars, jam sessions and concerts

Many movies, TV shows, commercials and videos need music, and one of the major thrusts of the annual four-day-long Kaua’i Music Festival – July 28 to 31 -is to be a hub where about 150 songwriters show their stuff to music executives. Among these 25 or so execs are some who select music for major motion pictures, TV shows, etc.

Jerry Brocklehurst, who heads KMF and has been with it since its inception eight years ago, is a trend-watcher in the industry who is stepping up the festival to keep pace.

He’s also the station manager for KKCR Kaua’i Community Radio, heads his own New Boomer Music Company and is a Na Hoku award-nominated producer and recording artist.

He and his festival board are focusing on two key aspects of the business: collaboration and helping attendees get their music placed.

“In prior years, we brought a lot of record label folks over and continue doing so,” says Brocklehurst. “But three years ago, we started bringing music supervisors from places like Warner Bros. Pictures, Prime Time Cable, NBC, Universal and other studios.

“In credits at the end of TV shows and movies, you often see something called music supervisors,” he says. “They pick all of the music for TV, film, video, those kinds of things, and that’s really an important outlet for aspiring artists.”

Music supervisors attending this year include Lynn Grossman, president of Secret Road Artist Management and Music Services and music supervisor of House; Chris Jackson, director of music, Comcast Entertainment Group (E!, Style and G4); and Dan Kimpel, not a music supervisor but a networking guru who’s interviewed about everyone in the business. And the list goes on.

Kenneth Makuakane and O’Brian Eselu

The credentials of the KMF faculty include a musician with the distinction of having songs on the country, pop and R&B charts all at the same time, and musicians who have written songs for Britney Spears, are multiple Grammy and Na Hoku Hanohano award-winners, as well as heads of record companies, music supervisors and more.

In four days at the Kaua’i Beach Resort (aka Hilton), attendees enter into competition, jam by the poolside at lunch, in Shutters Lounge at night, in their rooms, in the corridors. It’s all about the music. Two concerts sell out early – they’re open to the public – popular music on Friday night, Hawaiian music on Saturday.

“Collaboration is one of our key emphases this year,” says Brocklehurst. “There are very few artists today who are writing and composing all of their songs on their own – almost all of the hits today are done through collaboration.”

An entire day of KMF is set aside for attendees to collaborate with one another, form new creative partnerships and begin new pieces of music together.

This year, the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism helped fund the festival so that KMF can do more statewide outreach. Bigger and more collaborations resulted.

Brocklehurst and his board, some of whom also serve on the board of the Hawaii Academy of Recording Artists (HARA), which does the Na Hoku Hanohano Awards, teamed to set up a Hawaiian music songwriter contest on Oahu during the Na Hoku activities in late May. The winner got a free ride at the Kaua’i Music Festival plus automatic entry into the KMF competition; Oahu and the rest of the state got a glimpse of the new, annual opportunity for musicians to learn and connect with the big shots of the music industry at KMF on Kaua’i.

“It’s another big change,” says Brocklehurst of the KMF collaboration with HARA. And there are more.

Traditionally, KMF has linked itself to music that will hit the charts. In 2008, KMF added a Hawaiian track and has since jumped in with the Garden Island Arts Council on Kaua’i to help with the Hawaiian Songwriter Camps held in Kokee the past two years.

Says Brocklehurst, “It’s not that we’re leaving the charts behind, but we’re working with others to help the Hawaiian music industry overall, and one of the things we bring to the table is a more intimate connection to the musical experts from the Mainland.”

KKCR heavily promotes Hawaiian music, with live-streaming music going out to listeners in more than 70 countries and more than 100 volunteers doing the programming.

“We promote Hawaiian artists not just in Hawaii, but worldwide,” says Brockle-hurst. “As part of this whole effort, we’re all working to take it to the next level.”

The Kaua’i Music Festival (Wednesday through Saturday) still has a couple of spots open. Check it out at kauaimusicfestival.com.

Tickets for the Friday, July 30, and Saturday, July 31, concerts at Kaua’i Beach Resort are for sale online at kauaimusicfestival.com/2010concert, and also through ticket outlets around the island.

Highlights for Saturday night’s concert include O’Brian Eselu and his award-winning halau hula Ke Kai O Kahiki, the Rev. Dennis Kamakahi, Charles Brotman, and Kenneth Makuakane with The Pandanus Club.

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