May Lei Day

The sounds of Paula Fuga, Hawaii’s rising star and recording artist will fill the air at The Kauai Museum during the 35th annual Irmalee and Walter Pomroy Lei Contest on May Lei Day, Friday, May 1.

The performer who sings and plays ukulele has performed at the White House for President Obama and at Madison Square Garden in New York City with the legendary musician Jack Johnson. She has also collaborated with Johnson and toured internationally, including trips to Australia and New Zealand.

“He lives what he preaches,” Fuga said. “He is unassuming and good-hearted.”

Fuga said she is grateful Johnson took her under his wing.

“Music is my first love,” Fuga said. “It’s something I feel so blessed to have and share with others.”

Another blessing for Fuga is her wonder of nature and on May Day she is looking forward to the wonders of lei making.

“I will get to see all the beautiful leis,” Fuga said.

Last year, more than 100 lei entries from the Kauai community were entered in the contest.

“The Pomeroy Family is so talented and makes the most beautiful leis. I love the Pomeroys so much that when Chucky Boy Chock asked me to perform at The Kauai Museum at the event, I said, ‘Yes.’”

Fuga’s past wasn’t always ideal. She was homeless as a child, living on the beach on Oahu. Those early challenges are part of what drives her to also perform benefit concerts and tell her story.

“I tell them to believe in themselves,” Fuga said.

Her outlook on performing is one that is also linked to nature.

“When I sing, I feel connected to the entire universe,” Fuga said. “When I close my eyes I’m among the stars, the planets and the cosmos.”

Fuga is recording her next album titled, “Rain on Sunday,” in Honolulu. She said the song was written about going with the flow of life and not judging the day by the weather.

Tickets for the 5 p.m. concert are $12 in advance. To purchase tickets, call the museum at (808) 245-6931.

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