CBS’ Hawaii Five-0 Creates Exposure and Business Opportunities for Local Musicians

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BY GEORJA SKINNER – HONOLULU, HAWAII — The CBS hit television series Hawaii Five-0 will soon feature more than just island scenery. Since the first season, local musicians such as Na Leo Pilimehana and Hapa have been part of the soundtrack. In season two, more island artists are included, expanding the reach of Hawaii’s rich musical heritage to millions of viewers in prime time television.

As part of its mission to emphasize collaboration between creative sectors, the Creative Industries Division at the Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism (CID) partnered with the Kauai Music Festival this past July to support panels and workshops with music supervisors, including Liza Richardson, the Los Angeles based Music Supervisor for Hawaii Five-0 and other television and film projects.  

As a result, several local musicians have had their music placed in two network series.


·        Musician and Kauai High School English teach Terry Low’s song “Summer of Love/Add 40” was featured in the season premiere episode of the NBC TV network dramedy “Parenthood” in an episode featuring industry notables Harry Nilsson, Elvis Costello, and Paul McCartney.

·        Singer/musician Kepa Kruse was featured in a recent episode of Hawaii Five -0.

·        John Cruz’s “Hi’ilawe”, made famous by Gabby Pahinui, will be featured in an October episode of Hawaii Five-0 and, will now join Jake Shimabukuro as one of two Hawaii artists featured in the upcoming Hawaii Five-0 soundtrack album released on October 4. Cruz’s Hi’ilawe and Shimabukuro’s Ukulele Five-0 are part of the  album alongside music by Ziggy Marley, Bob Dylan, and Jimmy Cliff, among other notable award-winning artists.  See for more information on the CD release.
“This is another example of utilizing the public-private partnership model to spur economic growth,” said DBEDT Director Richard C. Lim. “In this case, the spotlight is on music, one of our most successful creative industries.”  

“By connecting creative communities we are building a strong creative economy for Hawaii. This kind of collaboration across sectors supports business development as well as tourism by expanding the Hawaii brand through its music, culture and the arts.” said Georja Skinner, DBEDT’s Creative Industries Administrator. “We appreciate the efforts of CBS and the Hawaii Five-0 team for recognizing Hawaii’s world class artists.”

Israel Kamakawiwo’ole helped open the door for more Hawaii based artists to make the leap to film and television. Due to the interest of producers and music supervisors, local singer/songwriters and musicians are becoming a more frequent component in films as well. This fall, Fox Searchlight’s feature film “The Descendants”, based on the book by Hawaii author Kaui Hart Hemmings, written and directed by Alexander Payne and starring George Clooney features a predominantly all Hawaii music soundtrack.


Submitted by Georja SkinnerCreative Industries Division