With more than three decades of experience playing and creating music, Candy Diaz has enjoyed sharing her original compositions with fans as both a solo artist and member of a band. And in recent years, she’s also discovered a new passion for sharing what she’s learned with the next generation of Hawaii musicians.
“I’ve spent the last few years working as a music teacher, coach and mentor while also starting my own record label — which is a dream I’ve had since I was 12 years old and buying 45 records via mail order from the likes of Polyvinyl Records, Tree, Sub Pop, and Fat Wreck Chords,” she says. “I’vefound helping others — especially young artists coming up — is wildly rewarding andprovides me with the ability to give back to Hawaii’s creative community in the same way so much has been done for me.”
Born in California and raised in Hawaii, the 37-year-old is a graduate of Roosevelt High School and has spent much of her adult life developing the connections and relationships needed to further her musical career. Ever since she was old enough to hold a microphone, she’s sung at every family party, performed at every school recital — and even helped her father sell karaoke systems at the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet.
Yet for every Brown Bags to Stardom or radio station battle of the bands she’s done, Candy can also name drop with the best of them: Jack Johnson. Eddie Vedder. Matt Costa. Dave Matthews. Tim Reynolds. Justin Nozuka. Don Carlos. She’s played with them all, and now draws upon those experiences when working with her students at Kailua Music School.
“Working with Kailua Music School has given me more confidence,” Candy says.“I’m working with a team that understands and supports my musical outlook. We’re creating relationships with upcoming musicians to help them fine-tune their craft, image, and overall business plan.
“It's been a natural progression for me to share with others what has worked. My passion for music and creating only continues to grow as I do.”
Candy launched her own label, Coal Heart Records, earlier this year. Before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the music industry in Hawaii, she was also a regular performer in Kailua at restaurants like Goen Dining + Bar and Maui Brewing Company, along with a recurring gig playing at the Kailua Farmers Market.
“A black heart burning red is the kind of passion I have for putting out original music. Under pressure, coal makes diamonds — and my hope is that Coal Heart produces those diamonds as hit records.”
To learn more about Candy, follow her on Instagram at @candydiaz.