Sunday, May 27, 2001

Big night for
recording biz

The Hawaii Academy of Recording Artists' annual Na Hoku Hanohano awards ceremony Tuesday night at the Sheraton Waikiki and televised on KFVE will feature familiar faces, new faces and an indication that anybody can have their own record label nowadays. A majority of this year's nominees record under their own labels, and most are nominated for one body of work.

"It used to be prohibitive for most artists to have their own record labels because of the cost of studio time, but with the availability of home studio equipment, prices have gone way down," said academy President Alan Yamamoto.

He said affordable technology enables many artists to be their own bosses, and keep more of the fruits of their labors.

The down side is cutting a traditional record label out of the mix means "they end up losing some of their objectivity," he said, because there is nobody to push them to try harder.

Yamamoto said artists with their own labels may still contract with a distributor. Such companies do the groundwork to get recordings into various stores and keep them well-stocked.

The 21 categories in this year's Hoku competition list 105 nominees. The list reflects fewer than a dozen record labels which represent multiple artists. More than 30 of the other labels shown on the list are so-called vanity labels named after the artist, or representing only the artist that records under it.

Among the more noteworthy of these is Na Leo Pilimehana, with its self-named label. Nalani Choy, Lehua Heine and Angela Morales are recording industry veterans with national and international recording experience under their belts.

For the most part, however, those with private record labels are up and coming artists, or are not as well known as big industry players.

Family businesses are also found in the local recording industry. Tracey Terada's Four Strings label has five nominations -- two are for his brother's graphics work on CD covers. Preston Terada is also nominated for graphics for another label.

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin.
Call 529-4302, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle,
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210,
Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached

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