Troy Fernandez: Finger's Fernandez

Who's Troy Fernandez you say? When you start trying to list some of the best ukulele players in the world, his name is one of many players that immediately come up. He’s easily a musician that should be on the top of any ukulele lover’s play list. He has some of the fastest and nimblest fingers in the business, and he’s a true inspiration to players of all levels around the world. He’s one of the individuals responsible for the ukulele’s surging popularity in the 90s through to the present, and his music may well be one of the reasons that many readers out there picked up a ukulele in the first place.

The Early Years and Later Success

Fernandez, born in Oahu, HI, started playing the ukulele at a young age. It’s very popular in Hawaii, and is a part of the music education of many young people. Fernandez really took to the instrument though and he quickly showed that he was more than just a kid playing to get a passing grade. He had real talent, and that was apparent almost from the minute he picked up the instrument. By the time he was just 13 years old, he had formed his very first group, called “Us”, and that was really the start of his journey to become a professional musician.

It was his time with the popular Hawaiian band Ka’au Crater Boys that really helped him to take off. They quickly became one of the most popular acts in Hawaii and this popularity soon spread to the rest of the world. They released their first album called Tropical Hawaiian Day, which received critical and fan acclaim. The album won the Na Hoku Hanohano Award for best album of the year, and this projected them to even greater heights. He was a part of the band for seven years, and many still remember their live performances fondly.

One of the things that helped to make Fernandez, and the band, so popular was that they had a variety of influences that helped them to create truly unique music. When you listen to their music, you can hear the influences of jazz and reggae. This helps to change the perception of the ukulele. When you think about some of the most influential players of the past 20 years or so, such as Fernandez and James Hill, it’s the way that they take the music in different directions that helps to make them so popular. It’s also what will help them to stand the test of time.


Interview


Troy Fernandez's Influence Amongst The Younger Generation

Troy Fernandez is a beloved cultural figure in Hawaii, and that goes beyond the music. Many cite him as being a very important influence for many young people on the island, particularly those who are picking up a ukulele for the first time. They see what he was able to do and they want to replicate that and take the instrument into the future. He’s not only an influence in Hawaii though. Many players around the world find his music and use it as an example of how to “do it right” by blending the traditional and the modern to take music to new plateaus.

Ukulele Teacher & Producer

He continues to have a very powerful presence in the world of music, and today he’s the owner of his own record label. He produced Hawaiian groups such as Valley Boys and Typical Hawaiians. Presently, he lives in California with his family, trying to give his daughters an opportunity in the music industry. In the past, he offered ukulele lessons for players who wanted to improve their skills. He’s showed the world that the ukulele is more than just a niche instrument. It truly does have a place in many different forms of music, and his style and albums are testament to the power of the ukulele.

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