Nearly two decades ago, Mailani Makainai and Talk Story host McKenna Maduli became friends thanks to a makeup tutorial right before a concert in Los Angeles. Now, the multi Na Hoku Hanohano Award winner, singer, songwriter and devoted mother has some passionate projects on the horizon. One is a mentorship program, borne because of her daughter.
“The reason why I even gave birth to this mentorship, this other side of things is because she (my daughter) wanted to get into acting. I had no idea. We watch you a lot and I tell my daughter your story and how you come from here. You have a lot of Hawaiian background in you but you’ve been able to leave Hawaii for a bit, learn, insert yourself into other markets and come back home and serve our community. You inspire my daughter, as well. I always let her know, no matter what it is you do, no matter how far you go in life, your role each time you find success is to find ways to give that success to somebody else.”
Mailani is known for her great storytelling and haku mele. So what triggers the melodies she writes? “Inspiration,” said Mailani. “I know that is so cliché, but you get that feeling in your na’au (soul). When you get chicken skin or when the wind blows on your face in a certain way. You will feel a presence of something more than yourself. It’s moments like that that I get in certain wahi pana (special or legendary place) where I visit that I feel comfortable enough in writing.”
About Mailani Makainai: Mailani Makainai was raised in a loving and supportive home where the importance and tradition of her Hawaiian culture was instilled early on by her parents. As she blossomed, so did her passion and interest as a vocalist, composer, and musician. By the time she was in middle school in Honolulu, she and a friend had received two prestigious Na Hoku Hanohano Awards, and released four other award-winning albums, securing a place within the Hawaii music scene. In 2010, her self-titled release, “Mailani,” garnered the Na Hoku Hanohano award for Female Vocalist of the year, which conﬁrmed her place amongst Hawaii entertainers. With her mesmerizing songs and lilting voice, fans old and new to her style of music continue to sing her praises.
For more information: @Mailani