Love and aloha are at the heart of what singer-songwriter Daniel Pak stirs into his songs of freedom that stem from an upbringing on reggae and uplifting island melodies. Born and raised on O`ahu, Pak has dedicated his life to embodying the warmth and soul of the islands in his music of healing and joy, bringing balance to a modern social landscape thirsty for more compassion and love.
“To this day, I never really feel like I fit in anywhere else than around people who love island music,” Pak explains. “Reggae and Hawaiian music were a big part of my playlist growing up – the uplifting beat of the one drop coupled with a message of resistance, mixed in with island melodies and lyrics that connected us to the land and the people who came before us – that’s what I love and what makes me whole.”
In nearly ten years as leader of Kore Ionz, Pak has 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.
In his Main Stage appearance at Upstream Music Fest in June 2018, Pak performed on the same stage as Miguel and The Flaming Lips. Pak has also performed with some of the top reggae artists out of Hawai`i including J Boog and The Green.
When he’s not on stage 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, a big 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 also serves on the Seattle Music Commission as Chair of the Youth + Community Committee and as a Governor for the Pacific Northwest Chapter of The Recording Academy (Grammys).
Photo by Avi Loud