Taimane Gardner is a force to be reckoned with. To witness her live performance is to experience the ferocity of a natural wonder. Her talent on the ukulele is beyond comprehension — as demonstrated by a career that has continued to flourish since she first picked up her instrument. Born and raised on the island of Oahu, her unique sound has become iconic to the Islands and representative of cutting edge Hawaiian sound. Read on to hear her story, see her perform and support Taimane as she launches the Kickstarter for her first self-produced album.
WS: Did you find the ukulele or did the ukulele find you?
TG: My dad actually found the ukulele and gave it to me at the age of 5. I played in front of the mirror pretending to be a rockstar until I broke a string. From then on, my father put me into classes and the rest is history.
WS: What’s the music making process like for you?
TG: It can be fun and frustrating. Finding inspiration is the fun part. It's the practicing that gets in the way. However, I do enjoy the practicing because it really keeps my ego in line.
No matter how long you've been doing something, there is always room to improve in some way. It's refreshing to be the student again. On the music making process, I tend to find my inspiration in the ethereal (light) or the darkness. I love those two polar opposites because I can relate to both. I think a lot of people can.
WS: If listeners could take one message from your work, what would you want that to be?
TG: To do whatever it is that you’re passionate about. If you can find a job that you love, you will never have to work a day in your life. It doesn't matter if it's painting, dancing, making something, cleaning (I love cleaning), etc. Follow what you love, as long as you do it as artfully and passionately as possible. That is what life is about!
WS: What are the elements that make a particular performance feel magical for you?
For me, a performance is magical if it has 3 things.
1) The music is damn good. This is the most important. The musician must be emotionally connected to what they’re singing about. No one likes a distant performance where the artist is bored—unless it's Lana Del Rey. I love Lana del Rey.
2) If they incorporate dance, lighting, and sometimes poetry. Collaboration is SO magical.
3) if it's interactive with the audience. To incorporate EVERYONE into a performance, that is a magical feeling. The audience is half of the performance. The lighting and dance accentuate the music, but it always comes down to the music first. That is the foundation: if the foundation sucks, then it's going to be hard to make magic.
WS: What can we expect to hear/see next?
TG: My new album, "We Are Made of Stars"! It will be released in Feb or March this year and I'm SO excited for it since I did everything myself. The concept is a song for each planet, along with other tunes inspired by our universe. It's completely self-produced, along with the images, songs, mixing, mastering—everything! It's all me, and I'm super proud of it no matter the reaction.
WS: What does wild mean to you?
TG: Wild is your primal self before rules and manners were made. Wild is the essence of a human being's soul without the filter on.
Mars is a taste of what's to come from Taimane's soon to be released album — We Are Made of Stars
More on Taimane Gardner
At the age of five, Taimane picked up her first ukulele and began her journey in performing. Playing on the streets of Waikiki with the beach boys, Taimane was discovered by legendary crooner, Don Ho, and became a featured performer in his show. From there, her popularity grew and Taimane has since performed around the world. She has played privately for John Travolta, Steven Seagal, George Clooney; and has opened for Earth Wind and Fire, Chicago, Jimmy Buffett, Chris Isaak, and many more.
Whether delicately plucking through Bach, or radically ripping through Led Zeppelin, Taimane has the ability to morph genres—from Classical to Rock to flamenco—and to stretch her instrument far beyond the familiar melodies of her Hawai’ian upbringing. Listeners will be riveted by the artistry of her technique and the tapestry of her styling. Her fingers fly, and her body dances in a whirlwind of skill and sensuality, leaving audiences gaping with amazement.
Featured Photography by Amber Crago Photography.
Neptune's Storm Filmed & Edited by Talltree