After 25 years, a financial'Island Days' a promising debut By John Berger
planner's dream of being
a musician comes true
Special to the Star-Bulletin
TERRY Lee and Rudy King Jr. have made a shared dream into a reality this summer. Their first album, "Island Days," was officially released late last week. The duo, performing as Horizon, plays a series of Friday night one-nighters at Shipley's Ale House in the Manoa Marketplace through July 21. Lee plays guitar and handles the electonic backing tracks. King plays percussion. Both men sing.
The project is the culmination of a 25-year dream for Lee, who shelved his youthful interest in playing music professionally to placate his father.
"I went to Punahou from kindergarten on for 13 years (and) when I got out I went to college right away. My senior year, I was approached about joining the Ali'is and he hit the roof. He wanted his son to be a professional. He didn't feel that he paid all that money to Punahou for his son to come out and be a musician.
"I appreciate his feelings now, but when you're 22 you don't see it."
Lee was hired by Xerox after graduating with a degree in business. He moved on two years later to become a financial consultant with Merrill Lynch. He left Merrill Lynch 12 years ago to start his own investment company, First Pacific Securities. As president of First Pacific Securities and head of the First Hawaii Municipal Bond Fund, he manages more than $130 million in assets.
But Lee never lost his love of music. He met King and his family while campaigning unsuccessfully for political office. He says he lost the election by a few votes but found a musical partner.
"Rudy had mentioned that he wanted to work on a musical career and so we put some ideas together and decided to give it a try."
King is in his "late 20s" but looks younger and is certainly no upstart when it comes to singing. His father was his earliest inspiration and he recalls singing at family parties even before he joined the Honolulu Boy Choir at the age of 5. King also sang in church, at St. Patrick's School and at Maryknoll (Class of '89). The Papakolea resident will be recognized by karaoke junkies as a 1998 "Hawaii Stars" Grand Champion.
Lee is older than King by about 15 years. He mentions Kalapana and Cecilio & Kapono as two of his biggest musical influences. King likes several types of music including traditional Hawaiian falsetto and nahenahe (sweet gentle) Hawaiian music.
"I have my stylings and Terry has his own stylings and we just try to blend them the best we can. I bring in a little more of the R&B pop type of stylings with my voice (and) Terry brings in a lot of what he grew up with," King says.
"(The age difference) gives us a good blend," Lee adds. "We play some older music but we try to bring it up to be current. Rudy helps me with that because when we do remakes he has a way of making it more current."
Other differences add to the fertile mix of ideas. King is married and has three children. Lee is single.
The album was recorded in Lee's office over several months. Lee inaugurated the 2000 First Pacific Productions label as a vehicle for the project and enlisted veteran studio guitarist Vernon Sakata as engineer, co-producer and ex officio band member. He credits King with inspiring him to reactivate his dream of becoming recording artist.
"I don't think I would have pursued it this much if Rudy and I hadn't become friends. I still would be someone who loves music but who does it on the side. This is a lot more of a commitment, not only timewise but financial ... but I'm grateful for the chance to do it. This has given me a kind of second rebirth in music."
King says the appreciation is mutual:
"I said on 'Hawaii Stars' that I like to touch people's hearts with my voice and I'm thankful for the opportunity I have now with First Paradise Productions and my partner."
When: 9 to 11 p.m. Fridays through July 21.
Where: Shipley's Ale House, Manoa Marketplace
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Island Days a
promising debut"Island Days" by Horizon (2000 First Pacific Productions)A pleasant mix of remakes and originals delivers a promising debut by Horizon -- Terry Lee and Rudy King Jr.
Lee writes in a soft romantic style reminiscent of the acoustic pop popular here in the '70s and '80s. The title track is one of his strongest entries and a beautifully crafted pop calling card. Other originals merit play too. "Beautiful to Me" sails on an inspired mix of light rock riffs and a reggae beat. "Under The Moon" is another strong, though poignant, entry.
Few local acts succeed in doing remakes well. Horizon proves one of the rare exceptions as Lee and King put a soft fresh spin on Carole King's 1972 hit, "Been to Canaan." Their take on Al Jarreau's 1981 breakthrough hit, "We're In This Love Together," is more routine but still noteworthy, while a rocking reworking of "Personally" puts the languid Karla Bonoff hit in fresh perspective.
Concise annotation adds interesting details, such as the fact that the beautiful closing medley, "Hawai'i Aloha/Love At Home," is a requiem for Lee's grandmother and consists of her favorite songs.
There are a couple of clunkers as well. "Turn it Loose" is at best local funk lite, and producer Vernon Sakata made an odd choice in remaking "Boogie on Reggae Woman," but this is overall a bright and charming debut.
By John Berger 2000 First Pacific Productions, 2756 Woodlawn Drive, 6-201
Honolulu, HI 96823 - Phone (808) 988-8088
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Beautiful To Me
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