John Quincy Adams once said “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” And by those standards, Mauikai, the Cuban-American soul siren, lyricist and political activist has been a leader her entire life. Born and raised in the heart of South Florida’s most popular city, this Miami-bred artist has been paying her dues since grade school. Passion, tenacity & fearlessness represent few of the qualities this outspoken chanteuse possesses.
Emerging out of thin air and breaking into Orlando’s underground Hip Hop scene back in 2004, Mauikai, a quick study, teamed up with then-local super crew: the Sol.illaquists of Sound, at their weekly open-mic jam, Vocalizations at famed Will’s Pub. The journey continues just after receiving her degree in audio engineering from Full Sail University, when she moves in with her mentors (who later sign to Anti-/Epitaph Records) to begin working on her career. No stranger to the mass market, this musical chameleon once worked for “Diddy” at his New York recording studio, Daddy’s House and interned for bi-cultural, bi-lingual Telemundo subsidiary, mun2 Television. Suffice to say, both of these experiences only strengthened her convictions to steer clear of the commercialized music industry. Blending song & rhyme with stripped-down, honest lyrics, Mauikai’s unique style stands out amongst today’s cookie cutter artists that solely replicate songs major labels consider “hit records”.
And while most twenty-something’s are still trying to find themselves and figure out what they want to do with their lives, 24 year old Mauikai has stayed way ahead of the curve. With several collaborative releases on indie Hip Hop label Nonsense Records and four successful national tours as a supporting act for the Sol.illaquists of Sound and DJ Vadim’s London outfit, One Self to name a few, Mauikai has just returned from her debut European tour. Releasing a preview of her first LP “Auto-tuneless Life Formations” produced by Solilla emcee, producer & artist extraordinaire Swamburger, stops included Eastern Europe’s largest Hip Hop festival: Hip Hop Kemp, Germany’s month long celebration of women in Hip Hop: the We B*Girlz Festival and several shows alongside the legendary Roxanne Shante, Bahamadia, Yarah Bravo, Stacy Epps, DJ Shortee, The Coup, DJ Nu-Mark, Immortal Technique and many more!
As if her musical conquests aren’t enough, 2008 marks the beginning of a dream realized, as Mauikai has teamed up with several friends and supporters to launch the “I Am Hip Hop: My Voice Matters” program, a non-profit organization in the works that focuses on exposing Hip Hop history and culture to the incarcerated youth in her hometown juvenile detention center. You may not know the name yet, but one encounter is all you’ll need to know that Mauikai isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon…so keep your eyes and ears peeled. From the US to Europe and all around the globe, this floecist is sure to rock the mic and drop knowledge in a city near you!