Hawaii News Now surprised Madison with a visit from musician Kamakakehau Fernandez. (Image: Hawaii News Now)
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -
For 21-year-old Madison Scott, Hawaiian music speaks to her like no other.
"I had taken other languages before, but nothing clicked like Hawaiian has," she said.
The California native speaks olelo Hawaii with a fluency that could put most locals to shame.
Unlike most language learners, she didn't learn Hawaiian by reading a plain old textbook. She depended on her sense of touch and listening to pick it up.
Born premature at just 26 weeks, Madison has been blind since birth.
She weighed just 1 pound 10 ounces.
"God's had his hand on her her whole life," Madison's mother Helen Scott said. "To see him continue to do it, it's really humbling."
With help from her father Curt, Madison discovered an unexplored love for Hawaiian culture eight years ago after listening to songs about the moon.
"I was so taken with the sound of the language," Madison said. "Then I became curious about what people were singing about and I wanted to know what was being said."
She made learning the language a family affair.
"She's been very patient with us. We learned a little bit, but for her she just gets so excited about it," her father Curt said. "So she very patiently (reminds us), 'Pronounce it this way, your forgot your ka'i' or something like that."
The Scott Ohana has visited Hawaii multiple times. They're wrapping up their fourth trip to the islands, and each trip is filled with opportunities for Madison to meet island music icons — who are just as thrilled to meet her.