Kalihi Born Singer Reflects on Food
Andy Beth Miller | Feb 13, 2017
The Love for Music and Local Grindz
As priceless and treasured as the gemstone it was named after, Pearl City has held, and always will hold, a special place in Hawaiian recording artist Sean Na’auao’s heart. Though born in Kalihi, where he spent the earlier part of his childhood, Na’auao and his family relocated to Pearl City as the singer prepared to enter the 7th grade.
It was during these formative years (who doesn’t remember those teenage angst-riddled days of middle and high school?) that Na’auao has such keen memories. Yet for the artist, the only thing his recollections are riddled with seem to be fond reflections on two main things: sports and 7-Eleven. A match made in heaven, according to Na’auao, the singer says that, between the convenience of its location to the ono grinds it offered, his local Pearl City 7-Eleven provided the perfect spot for a quick stop en route to his numerous sports activities.
The Love for Convenience and Freshness
“I played a lot of football and basketball back then, and we would always stop (before and after!) practices—before, to grab a Spam musubi, and after, the Big Gulp or Slurpee!” Na’auao grins, as if, in remembering, he can practically taste them now. “It was right across the street from the shopping center, near the library—kind of providing this stepping stone with the sports.”
These days, the singer has a new neighborhood—and nearby 7-Eleven—that he continues to frequent regularly. “My store is right down the road from where I live, on Campbell Avenue,” he says. “I just love their Jumbo Hot Dogs—the bomb!—and then the Fuze Green Tea—Oh my God! I know exactly where they keep it in the cooler and go straight for it!”
Na’auao’s enthusiasm for his Hawaiian food is infectiously endearing, and I giggle as he gets REALLY specific about how he likes to strategically lay out his 7-Eleven nachos and hot dog—combining them “just so” before they are perfect and ready to devour. And if you are already a familiar fan of his music (who isn’t?!), this soft spot for broke da mout grinds is a common theme in the singer’s most loved songs. Who can forget the catchy, fun tune “Fish and Poi”—an ode to Na’auao’s favorite Hawai’i fare. “As a Hawaiian family, we would eat raw fish, poi, opah, all da kine,” he recalls. “Growing up with the food that was generated here, it’s where songs like ‘Fish and Poi’ really register with the ‘ohana—it brings them back.”
And it’s this beautiful concept—of bringing Hawai’i to people through his melodies and lyrics—that really gives Na’auao joy. “When I’m singing, it’s my sanctuary,” he smiles. Other places that provide solace (and sunshine) for the singer? Well, he has an awesome sounding routine.
“I go to the gym, then go get my Fuze Green Tea, then from there I head to Ala Moana Beach and just hang out, enjoying the beach, sitting on the wall and soaking it all in,” he says. “After traveling so much, I look forward most to those times.” And speaking of traveling, the singer has definitely had plenty of it in the recent past—having taken his tunes touring all over Japan—and he is not slowing down anytime soon, with plans to head back out on tour, promoting his newly released CD. An exciting future on the horizon, to say the least, but for now, Na’auao intends to soak up every bit of sunshine, and enjoy all the respite that his island home has to offer—that, and its green tea, of course.
To learn more about Sean, visit Mountain Apple Company