‘Sweet’ success

LIHUE — Since the debut of her Na Hoku Hanohano nominated EP “Letting Go” four years ago, Kapaa High School graduate Shar Carillo has struck lightning once again with her sophomore EP, “Taste of My Love.”

The three-time Na Hoku Hanohano award nominee is in the running for Best Extended Play of Year in the 40th annual Na Hoku Hanohano on Saturday. An extended play release consists of three to eight songs of newly released material.

“All the hard work that I’ve been putting into my music has been worth it. It’s a great honor just to be nominated for this award,” said the 32-year-old Kailua resident.

Born and raised in Anahola, Carillo released her second EP after touring the last four years.

“My inspiration was just to put something out there, let people know that I’m still in the game and still doing music,” she said. “I haven’t had much time to write. I have been writing, but I haven’t been putting anything together.”

“Taste of My Love” personifies the quintessential sound of the Hawaiian-reggae style, which has been a staple of Carillo music. The melodic “Sweeter Than Honey” combines simple, poetic lyrics with the familiar tone of Hawaiian-Reggae influence.

“Music has always been something that everyone needs. It’s therapy. It’s something that reminds us of our younger days,” she said. “It will bring us back when we didn’t need to worry about anything. Music, to me, is something that everybody needs and everybody should be a part of. It’s life to me.”

Growing up in a musical family, Carillo was influenced by her mother, Loke Sasil, and her group Leahi.

“I got a lot of my influence just by watching them and how they performed and how they interacted with the crowd,” she said.

Carillo started professionally in 2010, performing weekends in bars and more recently, touring with Rebel Souljahz and Eli-Mac in Guam.

The tour opened her eyes to a bigger world.

“I’m very surprised that people knew my music over there,” she said. “It increased my motivation to write more. I want to start doing more every year — rather than doing one every four years.”

Carillo is planning on touring the Marshall Islands in the next couple of weeks and performing in MayJah RaJah on Oahu.

Though her focus has been writing, performing and singing Hawaiian/Reggae, the Kapaa native said she could go in any musical direction.

“I always loved singing country music because that’s what I grew up on on Kauai. I could see myself doing a country music album in the future,” she said. “I also have ties to Hawaiian music as well. … As of right now, I think I want to keep and pursue the Hawaiian-reggae genre so my name is known a little bit more.”

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