68 minutes | Apr 27, 2020

The Business of Dreams with Makana

Makana is an award-winning slack-key guitar player, singer/songwriter, and composer, based in Hawaii.

He’s performed for presidents and other world leaders and had his music featured on the Grammy-nominated soundtrack for The Descendants.

When we connected for this interview, Makana was in the midst of a joyful renewal as an artist and human being. 

Among the topics we discussed in this interview:

  • His childhood mentorship with slack-key legend, Sonny Chillingsworth.
  • Playing for a career since moving out at age 19 (over 20 years ago)
  • The balance between honoring tradition and evolving an art form.
  • The Big Lie in the music industry.
  • The intersections of art, activism, and community.
  • On Kuleana: why rights and responsibility are inseparable. 
  • Why he values freedom over fame and turned down big traditional deals. 
  • On psychological brand management and managing access to his work.
  • How producing hundreds of songs over the past two years has helped him reclaim a sense of creative play and limitless possibility: “There are no boundaries to what I can create now.”
  • What’s in Makana’s Artist Survival Kit.
  • On what happens when you combine mastery of your craft with human connection and vulnerability. 
  • The Business of Dreams: A Primer for the aspiring artist.
  • Why most artists struggle.
  • The importance of captivating an audience in the first fifteen seconds.
  • What’s next: Consolidating control of his art, a full reset/relaunch of his online presence, and putting the final touches on a Broadway musical script.

To learn more about Makana, you can visit his website. 

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Intro Song: “Unlimited Love” (instrumental version) by Ethan Freckleton & Lucas Clebsch

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