The two weeks around the Grammys and the Super Bowl were very exciting for you this year. How did it feel to win Best Pop Vocal Album and perform at the Super Bowl all within a week?
Probably like the most nerve-wracking week of my life. I know I got nervous when I accepted that Grammy. The Super Bowl is, it really became this massive pop culture gig for any artist to land, it’s such an honor, but with that honor comes a lot of pressure, and we were the first to ever do it outdoors. And the pressure of it being cold, and we rehearsed in 9 degree weather, we had a lot of factors that were working against us, but it turned out to be a lot of fun. And something that I have with me forever, I can tell my kids that Dad performed at the Super Bowl.
How does it feel to be the youngest Super Bowl halftime performer?
I just wanted to make sure that we did it right, treat it like any other show. Even though the public didn’t want to treat it like that but that’s how we had to walk into it, that’s the only way we were going to do a decent job.
Coming from a family of musicians, your sisters also have a band – are there any plans for collaborations in the future?
They’re still singing and songwriting. They have to find their way, just like every artist has to put in the work and the hours and write songs. It’s just like any occupation, you got to study. And that’s what they’re going through right now and I’m helping them as much as I can.
You’ve mentioned in the past that Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley are some of your musical influences, could you tell us more about that and how they have influenced you as a musician? What are some of your favorite songs by them?
Some kids watch Michael Jordan or Joe Montana or Mike Tyson and want to get into sports. And I was watching rock stars – Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, James Brown, The Beatles. I was fascinated by that I guess at a young age. Let’s say, Michael Jackson, I’m going to go with Dirty Diana. Elvis Presley, I’m going to say Heartbreak Hotel.
What is your songwriting process?
It’s never forced. Every time I try to write a song, when I sit down and think I’m going to write, I really want to write a song, and it never works out. It’s always when it hits me unexpectedly on a plane or right before I go to bed, something like that. Some kind of idea will come into my head, sometimes the next day I have the idea finished, sometimes it’ll take me a year to finish the idea, but that’s how it normally works, you can’t just force it.
Of your songs, are there any that hold a particularly special meaning?
Every song. I wouldn’t put it out if it was just something that I didn’t really genuinely feel, or something that I’m not proud of. But every song. I only have two albums out and both albums only have 10 songs on it. So I basically do every single song, in a concert I do every single song I’ve ever written.
Are you working with anyone in that you are particularly excited about?
We’re always working with our friends Jeff Bhasker and Mark Ronson. They are some producers that we really like, we’re good buds and musical wise they’re our favorite producers. We’re always going back and forth with them thinking what’s the next step, what can we do together. Sam Smith, I like his music. There’s a couple of cats out there that are writing some special tunes.
Beyond music you have also been involved in film and SNL, how do you like the film experience? Any particular memories?
It’s a different monster. And SNL was me kind of facing my fear, I grew up playing in bars and in the clubs and singing live, and when I first started promoting my album and stuff and had to go on TV, that was kind of a new thing for me. And not necessarily that I was scared of it, it’s just a different thing. I’m more comfortable just doing my thing with my band, but TV was a whole other beast. So when the SNL opportunity came up, I just used it to face the fears and just go for it. And I’m so thankful they called me and hopefully one day I get to do it again because it was a blast.
How did the name Moonshine Jungle come about for this tour?
Well I got a song on the album called Moonshine, and I got a song on my album called Gorilla. I open with Moonshine and I close with Gorilla in the show. It’s giving people an experience, and with the jungle and the whole theme, we wanted to make it feel like you’re stepping into something a little unpredictable. Unorthodox. And maybe a little dangerous.
Is there anything you’re looking forward to or would like to experience this time in China? What can audiences expect from your show this time?
Just being there. Growing up in Hawaii I was always around Asian culture, and I definitely can relate. I’m just excited to see it and feel it. We don’t get a chance to spend that much time out there so I’m going to be really taking advantage of every opportunity I can, and especially performing in front of the audience that we’ve never performed in front of.
Do you think Asia will influence your music?
It’s just all love. That’s what music is. That’s why music was created. To make people feel good, to uplift people. It’s like cavemen beating on drums and stuff to dance around the fire. That’s what musicians are here for, it’s to give everyone an escape, to let everyone feel good and take people out of everyday problems and hear music and sing and hopefully give you some words you can relate to. Not just Asia, but every country, I just want to go out there and uplift some people and let people walk away feeling like they saw something and are excited.
What’s next after this tour? Plans for a new album?
Nothing (laughs). Expect nothing. I’ve been on tour for awhile now and I still have a little more to go after Asia, and it’s important that I don’t burn out, and it’s important that I keep it sacred, my music sacred, so when I’m ready, it’ll be ready.
What do you want to do next?
I want to get better. I want to write better songs, I want to put on a better show, I want to make better music videos, I want my next album to be better than the first and the second.
Visit the original source and full text: the Beijinger Blog