Teresa Bright

Melissa Moniz
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Friday - December 05, 2008
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The 411

This jazzy Hawaiian songstress has another album for her fans to add to their Teresa Bright collection. The album, which features 12 classic hapa-haole songs, is another of Bright’s contemporary twists on traditional music that she and her family grew up listening to and playing.

Bright, who resides on the Windward side of the island, says “for this album, we had such a good time recording it, and everything went really smoothly.”

The release takes classic songs and combines them with other genres Bright holds near to her heart such as swing, jazz and bossa nova. It features tracks such as I’ll Weave A Lei Of Stars For You, Silhouette Hula, Kaimana Hila, Blue Hawaii, Red Sails In the Sunset, Sweet Leilani, Beyond the Reef, Tahauala, Pagan Love Song, Hanalei Moon, On A Tropic Night and Aloha ‘Oe.

“This one was designed more on the old songs that my mother and grandmother listened to, and we tried to bring it up to date,“says Bright.“We made it all brand new again.”

Singing and performing since she was just a tot, Bright has spent a lot of her time on stage and traveling, but she says now “her roller-coaster ride is slowing down a little bit.” Instead of international performances, Bright now holds down a day job and has committed herself to recording about one CD a year.

“Music isn’t full time for me; it was full time back in the ‘80s,” she says. “Once in a while I’ll make a trip to Japan, but it’s been pretty close to home, which has been great because we have to design these albums every year. We usually start talking about the next one in September, then in January until March we have to get it done.”

She says she’s already in the planning stages for the next album, which she anticipates to start recording soon.

To find out more about Bright, visit http://www.mountainapplecompany.com/teresa or http://www.tropicalmusichawaii.com.

Teresa Bright



Can you describe the sound and feel of your album, Tropic Rhapsody?

This is dedicated mostly to my mother’s and grandparent’s era, which is the 1930s, ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s. It has different ethnic beats, so it’s more jazz, hapahaole type of music.We brought all these beautiful old love songs up to date. It’s very simple, but clean.

Which are your favorites songs on the album?

Probably Silhouette Hula or I’ll Weave A Lei Of Stars For You. Only because I love Aunty Nina Kealiiwahamana. I grew up listening to her. And the whole time I was recording Silhouette Hula it was in honor of her.

Who has been influential in your musical career?

Besides my own family, I would say Aunty Genoa (Keawe). As a girl growing up singing in Hawaii, she was very positive.Growing up I loved listening to Pua Almeida, the Andrews Sisters, as well as Ella Fitzgerald and Alfred Apaka. It’s kind of extreme, but that’s what I listened to as a little girl.

What are your most requested songs when you’re performing?

I think my older stuff like Hula Heaven. Once in a while people will come and ask for an Okinawan song or a Portuguese song. But it’s mostly the Hawaiian jazz that people request.

You started singing when you were 5 years old. Does that mean it came naturally for you, or did you have to work at it?

I think because my family was so musical it was almost natural. We come from the country side so we spent lots of time singing instead of watching television. Singing was a part of our life.

So you never took any type of lessons?

I actually did. I was 13 years old and I was studying under Aunty Genoa. It was at least for a year. To hit those high notes, she would tell me, “breathe.“So I would go Saturday mornings and my mother would take me. I would sit with Aunty Genoa and learn technique.

What has been the hardest thing you’ve had to do musically?

The hardest thing I have done was to do the album Hawaiinawa because we had to translate and we had to apply Hawaiian music to Okinawan music. That was the hardest.

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