Three times Hawaiian Music Awards winner and the winner of two “Na Hoku Hanohano” awards for the magnetic albums, “Hot Club of Hulaville”, “Django Would Go”, 2010 also “Hula Joe & The Hut jumpers”, 2000); Ginai has proven to be a compelling surge of dynamism that continues to shock your mind, body and soul with her charismatic, hypnotic voice and welcoming stage presence. When you hear her voice and see her perform, you can’t help but be captivated. She is an exciting and riveting internationally acclaimed singer; songwriter who has worked many years to become one of the worlds most accomplished performers with 8 CD releases in Japan! Born in the city of Chicago, one of the most notably jazz nuclei of the world, Ginai was exposed to a great musical atmosphere. There, her melodious appetite was delighted by the sounds of jazz greats like, Nat King Cole, Gene Ammons, Benny Goodman and Bud Freeman and it was Ginai’s mother who encouraged her love of jazz music at such a tender age. Ginai’s parents met on the island of Oahu; her mother Hawaiian/Scottish/Irish, her father African American / Cherokee Indian/French. He was in the military and she, was simply in love and it was without hesitation that her mother was whisked away to the windy city of Chicago. Shortly thereafter, Ginai was born and was named after the Ingrid Bergman character in the 1958 film “The Inn of the Sixth Happiness”. The name Ginai means "one who loves” and if you ever have the pleasure of meeting her, you would realize how well she’s lived up to that exquisite name. However, Chicago at that time was experiencing race wars and it was tearing the country apart. Ginai’s mother in an attempt to protect her young impressionable daughter, made the difficult decision to move her back home to Maile Point on the North Shore of Oahu. There she raised Ginai to value herself and to overcome adversity. She dressed her well and taught her to embrace her beautiful diverse heritage. Her love for music helped her through the many childhood difficulties she endured by the local ‘island’ children. They didn’t quite know how to identify and accept her, to them she didn’t belong; but despite being born in Chicago, Ginai will tell you she is an ‘island girl’ through and through and Maile Point, Oahu is home.
The seeds of music her mother planted came to fruition at an early age there in Hawaii. In the seventh grade she won a talent contest with her version of Roberta Flack’s “First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” and at 16, she joined the professional world in a group named “Nostalgia” that toured the military bases doing covers from the ‘50s. By age 18, she was ready for the big time, moving to the Bay Area and helping form a nine-piece funk band named “Mo Dog”. They opened for Huey Lewis and the News, hired a manager and were set to blow up. But a funny thing happened on the way to the Rock ‘roll Hall of Fame - the band fell apart. Members got married, got “real jobs” and moved past their childhood dreams, but not Ginai. She knew she was destined for bigger things. Ginai traveled the Mainland; from the lights of Vegas to the isolation of Montana, earning a living singing covers and making the music she loved, but it all got too lonely in the wide expanse of America, and she returned home in 1981 to create her mark on the Islands.
Once home, she found lots of work entertaining tourists in revue shows like “Aloha Las Vegas”, and working conventions, while still never giving up the dream of making music for herself. She found a niche as a ‘Whitney Houston’ impersonator; with the strength of voice to match the pop star and the good looks to host the shows she was perfect. She spent a decade imitating what she so longed to become; but rather than have it turn her bitter, Ginai saw herself as the lucky one. “I got to make a living in Hawaii as a singer, while functioning as a mother and a wife.” She said once. Also an avid surfer she went on to say “I enjoy my life here in paradise!” Ginai has guest performed with the Honolulu Symphony numerous times, she was even the opening act for quite a few artists over the years…legendary Ray Charles…Lou Rawls…Bruce Hornsby…Diana Krall…to name a few!
In 2011, Ginai was ready for her first solo debut and decided to approach John Kolivas of the Honolulu Jazz Quartet about making an album - not just any album, but an introduction to jazz for the local community, a Jazz 101. “It’s a struggle, because so many people in Hawaii don’t know what jazz is,” says Ginai. Her purpose with this album was to shine a spotlight on the genre and create a massive jolt, to awaken the minds and hearts of her Hawaiian people, exposing them to the tuneful, soulful sound of Jazz. She viewed it as a starter’s course covering melody, lyrics, improv and execution. “Improv is the key to what distinguishes jazz from other genres of music.” She exclaims! The album had a little bit of everything, including the Hawaiian song “Puamanafused” with the music of “All Blues” by Miles Davis.
Her plan worked and when the album was released, Ginai received enormous feedback from not just the Mainland, but Europe as well, but more gratifyingly, right here on the islands. Currently, she is one of Hawaii’s well renowned and recognized Jazz entertainers. Everywhere she steps out in Hawaii, whether performing or walking on the streets, someone calls her name and she always respond with that huge welcoming smile and sincere acknowledgement! When asked about her success on the islands she states “I wanted to start this here in Hawaii first because it’s home, but also because I have so many fans here who have been waiting, they have fallen asleep waiting for Ginai to do something on a solo basis; and lastly because I thought we could make a real splash coming from Hawaii.” Always identifying herself as an island girl, she has unwaveringly felt strongly about being an ‘ambassador’ for her homeland and invites the world to enjoy all the musicians from Hawaii, including of the jazz genre.
She is self-confident when performing any genre, especially her beloved Jazz and attracts your every being with her excitement on stage. The jazz music world is eager for a fresh, new sound and Ginai is ready and passionate to deliver. She is currently working on her newly anticipated album appropriately entitled “Conversations” and since not having released anything since 2011; she certainly has a lot to talk to her fans about! “I've been loving people with my music most of my life. It is a sublime high just to see you dancing and to watch you surrender to the moment with complete abandon.” she explains.
Remaining true to her Leeward coast roots, the album explores new sounds and brings a taste of the island’s popular “reggae” to the album with the song "My Love's Gonna Get You". Ginai’s versatile, enigmatic sound was what let her to Grammy award winning producer Michael Whyte. Michael Whyte who has travelled all over the world working with various artists was enamored by her sound.
“When I realized I was working with Grammy Award winning producer Michael Whyte, I started pinching myself. Now that I am wide awake and quite aware, I am elated to tell you about my newest effort entitled, "Conversation". The CD is about you and me getting to know each other all over again. You only 'thought' you knew me. It is as if we are meeting for the first time. This record brings out my deepest desires that you get to the heart of me through songs like the title cut along with "Your Love Is My Love"..."Slide By My Side"....and "My Love's Gonna Get You". There is so much more to me than the Jazz I've done in my youth. In this record I bear my Soul to you...I Pop that bubble and blow a new one, all grown up as your Adult Contemporary. The Rhythm and Blues of life has me singing, "I'll Be Fine" -no doubt- and promise to give you "Whatever You Want" as we strike up a brand new relationship!”
This album has a distinctive fresh style; it is progressive and breathes new life into the depths of both the seasoned and unsullied jazz aficionados alike. The Quality of the music is astounding with various live instruments bursting through, enticing you to want more; the lyrics both simplistic and enlightening. The broad spectrum of Ginai’s mysterious, pulsating sound which sometimes include the early art form of scatting, (Jazz singing in which improvised, meaningless syllables are sung to a melody) only revives and invigorates the jazz world, as she voyages and takes you on this amazing stylistic journey you won’t want to miss.