When indy rocker Yoza was given a weekly residency at the Hard Rock Cafe in Hollywood, Calif., she knew things were headed in the right direction. Only a few weeks before she was employed at a Glendale Guitar Center, spending every second of her free time honing her music—songwriting, singing, playing—and hoping to jump to the next level.
She’d only been in L.A. a year when she got the call. Yet, a few months into her Hard Rock gig, just as the locals and staff were rallying behind the Oahu born-and-raised musician, she did the unthinkable. She packed up for the summer and headed back to Hawaii for a weekly gig in The Study at THE MODERN HONOLULU.
“I left Hawaii way back,” shares Yoza in our exclusive interview for TMH.
The 31 year old was eager to get back and prove her growth when she took to the microphone inside The Study, during her summer run in 2013. The room was packed with friends, family and throngs of fans, many of whom Yoza had no idea had continued to follow her progress when she uprooted to California.
“I’ve been playing since I was 5. I started on ukulele with Roy Sakuma; moved to guitar when I was 16 and at Kalani High School in Aina Haina. I was teaching myself, trying to mimic the players I was seeing, like Barry Kimokeo—guys who were emulating Hendrix licks into Hawaiian songs."
“The Study is THE new spot, it’s got amazing atmosphere and great sound quality. My following tells me it’s their favorite place in town to see me play,” she says.
The notion of even having fans for this sultry sounding, tattooed beauty still seems fresh to her.
“I would record videos on my phone in L.A., and then post them online. When I first came back for those Study gigs, I almost fainted when people started shouting out names of songs, singing along with me and stuff. I had no idea people were even seeing them.”
Back in California, Yoza is hard at work planning her first European tour, picking up gigs at Hard Rock Hollywood and putting pen to paper for a litany of new songs “just screaming to get out there.” She’s also flying back to Honolulu with frequency to satiate the throngs of fans who have now grown accustom to seeing her back home. It’s undeniable: Yoza is definitely someone to follow.
Keep an eye on Yoza’s website as well as The Study calendar for her next appearance at THE MODERN HONOLULU.