By Léo Azambuja
A few years ago, a young Kaua‘i musician playing the violin was turning heads while performing covers in the streets during the crowded Kapa‘a Art Walk on first Saturdays. People often wondered who that high-school girl was whose music reached deep into their hearts with every song she played.
Well, Kimberly Hope grew up, left to the Mainland to pursue a music degree, returned to Kaua‘i and continued to turn heads with her violin. The difference now is that she plays her own original music. And last month, she released an album with a dozen songs of her own.
“This is my very first album. Basically, I’ve been working on it for about seven years. I started playing in art walks and performing around the island when I was a senior in high school,” Hope said.
During those early days of street performances, people would approach Hope and ask her if she had a CD. At that time, she said, she had never thought of recording an album; she was just playing covers. But those people inspired her, and she started writing her own songs while still in high school.
Last year, the 26-year-old Wailua resident finally put together a dozen songs that she wanted in an album. She first started recording with Ariki Foster, and then with Ron Pendragon. But when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, their work slowed down a bit.
“It probably would have been done last year,” Hope said of her first album. “But because of the pandemic, I couldn’t really go to (Pendragon’s) house, and actually sit down with him and tell him exactly what I wanted. We had to email back and forth, so that took longer.”
Besides being available as a CD, Hope’s album, titled Kimberly Hope, is also accessible for streaming across several online platforms, such as Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes and Amazon Music.
The album was carefully crafted to tell a story, with each song advancing to a new level of healing, evolution and self-discovery. The first songs deal with darker themes and overcoming struggles, while the themes of the songs carefully progress to enlightenment and self-fulfillment.
The first track is called Shipwrecked; a song to overcome loneliness. The second track, Haunted, acknowledges our fears and insecurities — and helps us to face them. The tracks’ sequence continues with Look Inside, One and Only, Just Believe, Rise Up, Breakthrough, Recovery (composed to help Hope’s grandmother heal from an accident), Find Yourself, Light Up The Dark, and Shine (a song to inspire us to become the best version of ourselves). The last track, Before You Go, is an upbeat performance to send you home with a touch of happiness.
“It’s been a dream, mainly because I want to share positive music with people in the world. That’s mainly what music therapy is,” said Hope, who first got into college seeking a degree in music therapy. Along her journey, she changed her degree to violin performance.
Hope said one of her main sources of inspiration comes from Lindsey Stirling, a violinist who mixes it up a lot, doing dubstep, electronic music, covers and her own songs.