One of Hawaii's most influential ?voices? in contemporary island music is that of Na Hoku Hanohano award winner, Troy Fernandez, whose lightning fast picking and innovative style were instrumental in generating the ukulele renaissance of the early 90s. Like most island children, Troy began playing the ukulele in elementary school. Popular musicians like ukulele master Peter Moon provided inspiration and Troy's skills quickly surpassed most of his peers.
Like most island children, Troy began playing the ukulele in elementary school. Popular musicians like ukulele master Peter Moon provided inspiration and Troy's skills quickly surpassed most of his peers. At age 13, Troy formed his first group, ?Us,? with Palolo Housing buddies, Chino Montero and Nathan Nahinu, and soon found them selves opening for a Helen Reddy concert in Honolulu.
Troy, Chino and Nathan continued to play together through high school (?Us?, ?Anuhea? and ?Palolo?) and Troy also performed with fellow surfer, John Valez (?John and Troy?) and Ernie Cruz, Jr. A steady gig at the Elks Lodge opened the door for Troy and Ernie to tour Japan for 6 months. Troy went on to tour Guam for six months and upon returning hooked up once again with Nathan and Chino, and ?Backyard Ohana,? an ever changing group of musicians.
A last minute gig with Ernie Cruz, Jr. a few years later at Moose McGillycuddy's proved the duo still had magic, and the pub became a regular gig - this time as ?E.T,? (after the popular film, ?ET ? The Extra-Terrestrial? and ?Ernie/Troy?). Their first album, ?Tropical Hawaiian Day,? released in 1991, marking the official beginning of Troy and Ernie's 7 year partnership as one of the most successful groups in contemporary island music ? Ka'au Crater Boys. With the help of Roy Sakuma, they released one creative album after another (?On Fire? garnered a Na Hoku Hanohano award for ?Best Contemporary Album of the Year,? and their smash hit ?Opihi Man? won the Hoku for ?Song of the Year? for composer Craig Kanehele). Troy also teamed up with Chino and Nathan, releasing two successful Palolo albums.
News of the duo's impending split, to pursue other opportunities, broke the heart of many a Ka'au Crater Boy fan. Since that time Troy hasn't missed a beat. Under his own record label he successfully produced several new island music groups. He also released his own solo project, ?Surfer from Palolo,? a group project, ?Kaiser Surf Crew,? ?Collaboration: Troy Fernandez and Friends,? a compilation featuring Troy with popular island music entertainers, and opened Troy Fernandez Ukulele Studio, where ukulele enthusiasts can receive one-on-one instruction from ?the very best.?
In the midst of all his success, Troy is always quick to credit his wife, Rose, and daughters, Tory and Tia, whose love and support remind him every day of how blessed he is. He hopes his achievements will inspire today's kids in the same way, back in the day, Peter Moon's music inspired a kid from Palolo.