Love and aloha are the two main ingredients singer/songwriter Daniel Pak stirs into the songs of freedom that stem from an upbringing on reggae and uplifting island melodies. Born and raised in Hawai`i, Pak has dedicated his life to embodying the warmth and soul of the islands in his music of healing and joy.
“Storytelling is a big part of kanikapila (jamming), and that’s what we’d do every weekend back when we were kids,” Pak explains. “When the `ukulele came out, everybody sang, our feet in the sand and the waves crashing in. Participation was part of the culture, not something you had to ask permission to do. We told stories and shared information through music, unlike the smartphone culture of today. We were so much more human.”
In nearly ten years as the leader of Kore Ionz, Pak performed four times at Bumbershoot Festival and shared the stage with The Wailers, Toots and the Maytals, Steel Pulse, Sly & Robbie, and many more of reggae’s founding fathers. “Love You Better,” his “poignant love letter,” as The International Examiner calls it, went to #1 on commercial radio in Hawai`i. Pak has also performed with reggae artists from Hawai`i including J Boog and The Green.
When he’s not on the road with his eight-piece band, Pak spends his time amplifying the voices of young people in his community. As co-founder of Totem Star, a record label for youth, part of his life’s work is to ensure that young people have a safe and encouraging space to create music and build community.
Pak serves on the Seattle Music Commission as Chair of the Youth + Community Committee, as Governor for the Pacific Northwest Chapter of The Recording Academy (Grammys), and as a Trustee for The Bush School.
“Maybe if we realized we all share the same collective energy, we’d be more open to seeing each other through an empathetic, compassionate lens. Maybe we’d put down our dumb phones and start singing together again. Maybe we’d be more human.”