Creative Lab Hawaii Music Immersive Finalists to Showcase Talents at TAXI Road Rally 2018

Oct. 26, 2018


 Local Artists Selected to Network at Leading Music Industry Conference

HONOLULU – Opening revenue and creativity channels for Hawaii’s musicians, Creative Lab Hawaii (CLH) is proud to announce four finalists from its 2018 Music Immersive program will attend TAXI Road Rally.

The three-day music industry conference takes place from Nov. 1 – 4, 2018 in Los Angeles and offers panels, mentor sessions and breakout workshops — connecting more than 2,500 independent songwriters, artists and composers to music industry decision makers. It also coincides with the CLH Media Immersive fellows, who will also travel to Santa Monica for the American Film Market & Conference.

The CLH Music Immersive, spearheaded by the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism’s (DBEDT) Creative Industries Division, is held annually on Hawaii Island following the Hawaii Songwriting Festival and admittance to the free program is highly competitive. Partnering songwriter participants with leading entertainment studio executives and top music producers to collaborate on compositions for specific TV, film and new media projects, the Immersive builds a bridge for local musicians to reach mainland industry insiders. Fellows are further provided the tools to understand licensing, publishing, intellectual property protection and more, as well as how to create music for a specific television show, online network promo or national/international commercial opening up new avenues to monetize their work.

“TAXI is a perfect complement to our work at the CLH Music Immersive, and it’s an extension of building out those important networks outside of the state,” explains Georja Skinner, chief officer of DBEDT’s Creative Industries Division and founder of CLH. “We provide local talent an opportunity to make meaningful music industry connections that can otherwise be nearly impossible to secure without the right opportunities, along with the creative tools needed to make those interactions as successful as possible. This provides our fellows this level of access at a leading conference and is a great continuation of their journey as working artists.”

Grammy and  Hōkū Hanohano Award-winner, Charles M. Brotman, directs the CLH Music Immersive, and was instrumental in the selection process of the participants to attend the conference. “These fellows have truly impressed us over the course of the Music Immersive, both with their unique talents and their desire to learn the business from all aspects. They have honed an understanding of how to create music and pitches for specific opportunities, and have the skill set to navigate Road Rally in the right way to open doors,” explained Brotman.

CLH will accompany the following finalists to TAXI Road Rally, representing a diverse range of talents:

  • The Fresh Preps is a musical collaboration between two songwriters/producers from Mililani, Hawaii, consisting of Joshua Stephens and Daniel Lyons. Together, they specialize in polished, highly energetic songs and performances. They’ve shared the stage with Kina Granis, Jun Sung Ahn, McKay Kim, and many others. In 2015, they released their single, “Zombie Song,” which has since played consistently on local radio around Halloween. In 2017, their album, “We Are Alive,” was nominated for ‘Best Alternative Album’ at the Na Hoku Hanohano Awards and became the two-time champion of the Honolulu Hard Rock Battle of the Bands.
  • Imua Garza is a vocalist, musician, producer, recording engineer and composer. He first appeared on a professionally released CD at the age of 11. About this time, Imua started playing in his first music group, Opihi Pickers. Ten years and seven albums later, the Opihi Pickers have become one of Hawaii’s most beloved bands with several #1 radio hits. Some chart-topping bands Imua has produced or worked with include Rebel Souljahz, Kolohe Kai, Kimie, Katchafire, Natural Vibrations, John Cruz, Streetlight Cadence, Weldon Kekauoha and Kuana Torres. In 2009, his band, “One Right Turn,” was a part of SXSW in Austin, Texas, and featured as one of the top 10 must see bands. He’s also shared the stage with Jack Johnson, John Cruz, and Jake Shimabukuro, to name a few.
  • Olivia Thai is a multi-instrumentalist with the ability to beatbox, play the violin, guitar, and piano while singing–all at the same time. Olivia engages with live audience members in a meaningful, yet comedic and relatable way with music that is the perfect balance of truth, creativity and sophistication. She records each instrument on stage with a looping machine, then after creating her composition live, she adds her dynamic and soulful vocals to complete each song.  In addition to writing more than 200 songs, Olivia was on the last season of American Idol on FOX, won Taiwan Idol, and won Megastar, Usher’s worldwide talent competition in 2018. She has over 21 million views on YouTube with more than two million fans worldwide.

About DBEDT (Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism)
DBEDT is Hawaii’s resource center for economic and statistical data, business development opportunities, energy and conservation information, and foreign trade advantages. DBEDT’s mission is to achieve a Hawaii economy that embraces innovation and is globally competitive, dynamic and productive, providing opportunities for all Hawaii’s citizens. Through its attached agencies, the department fosters planned community development, creates affordable workforce housing units in high-quality living environments, and promotes innovation sector job growth.

About CID (Creative Industries Division)
CID, a division within DBEDT, is the state’s lead agency dedicated to advocating for and accelerating the growth of Hawaii’s Creative Economy.  Through initiatives, program development, and strategic partnerships, the division and its branches implements activities to expand the business development, global export and investment capacity of Hawaii’s arts, culture, music, film, literary, publishing, digital and new media industries.

About the Creative Lab Hawaii Program
The Creative Lab Hawaii (CLH) Program was founded in 2012 by the Hawaii State Department of Business, Economic, Development and Tourism (DBEDT)’s Creative Industries Division to accelerate the growth of Hawaii’s creative entrepreneurs through immersive, hands-on training in broadband/new media, producing, screenwriting, interactive media, music and design/fashion.  The CLH Program, a key facet of Hawaii’s creative economy, is developing an ecosystem to increase export, attract investment and build the State’s creative entrepreneurial capacity in media, music and fashion/design. The CLH Program features three program components: 1) Immersive Programs; 2) Ideation Workshops; and 3) Public Keynotes. Website:

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Media Contacts:

Christine Hirasa 
Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism 
Phone: (808) 587-9006 
Mobile: (808) 286-9017 
Email: [email protected]

Program Contact:
Georja Skinner
Creative Industries Division/DBEDT
Founder, Creative Lab Hawaii
Phone: (808) 291-8073
Email: [email protected]