The first time Alx Kawakami grabbed a Ukulele, he held it left handed but kept the strings tuned right handed. That was the start of a very upside down journey in to the music world…
Alx got his first ukulele at the age of two and it seems like ever since then he hasn’t been able to stay away from music. He learned many of the basics from his Dad at a young age and eventually started taking lessons from the legendary Roy Sakuma. Roy insisted on teaching him right handed, but Alx always went home after the lessons and taught himself how to play it upside down.
After becoming one of Roy Sakuma’s super keikis, Alx decided to take lessons from one of his idols Jake Shimabukuro. He considers Jake one of the biggest influences in his life because Jake told him to play the Ukulele whatever way feels comfortable. Jake’s band, Pure Heart, was very popular during that time and it inspired Alx to pursue his music career further. In high school, Alx was a three-year music director for the school hula program and eventually started a band with his friends called Pa’ani. They performed at various school events and graduation parties before splitting up in 2004.
After a brief year in college at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where they didn’t allow Alx to enter the music program because he played upside-down and backwards, Alx returned home to Hawaii to pursue music. Originally planning to go solo, Alx had no idea what was in store for him and his family. With the help of a great family friend, ManoaDNA was born. By the first gig, Alx knew that this is the reason he moved back home. ManoaDNA has recorded 4 US abums and 1 international album over the years and also recorded his first solo EP album in 2012. In the summer of 2014, Alx co-produced a cover of the famous Men at Work song “Land Down Under” that ManoaDNA recorded, which made it on to the Billboard Top 40 list.