REVIEW BY WAYNE HARADA
“The Best of Kevin I., 1980-1985,” a new digital release, offers a peek in a window of the life and times of Kevin Iwamoto, professionally known as Kevin I. He’s been a longtime buddy of mine, dating back to the Hawaii of the ‘80s, when I was writing reviews, interviews, and an entertainment column called Show Biz in the Honolulu Advertiser.
Prompted to revisit his musical past, while simultaneously updating and defining ownership of his best tracks, the digital album should appease his former fans and attract a new fan base.
Kevin is at a crossroads. The plan was to update his analog recordings and convert into MP3 digital tracks, remastering and bolstering the sound and flavor to carve a niche in the new streaming world of music where there is no physical product like CDs. His music was being posted on YouTube and other social media sites without his knowledge or permission. “I felt I had to take back control of my past recordings in this new age of streaming on-line music,” he said.
Kevin also has launched a career retrospective website that preserves his ‘80s career, which serves as an electronic resource for himself, his family and his fan base. It has been a painstaking process, but with energy and resources, he is finally able to redefine his territory.
With the help of talented engineer Garrett Haines, Kevin jumpstarts a series of signature tunes.
His first local hit on island radio was “Fairy Tale,” a warm and cozy ballad composed by the husband of his former hairstylist, is about unrequited dreams. It’s a triumph; his voice is majestic, and honestly, you may not recognize the singer. It is a formidable flashback.
“Candle in the Night,” written by Cecilio Rodriguez of Cecilio and Kapono, with Cecilio doing back-up vocals is not earmarked, but it is here, and you can detect his tones. Both singers’ vocals blended well relying on their mutual love of R&B music.
NOTE: This review originally was published on Kevin Iwamoto’s Kevin I website. Wayne Harada is the longtime entertainment editor, columnist, and journalist with the Honolulu Advertiser, where he served for 45 years. He also wrote the Show Biz column in the combined Honolulu Star-Advertiser daily newspaper for another 10 years after retirement.