John Cruz (Hawaiian/Chamorro/Native American-Cherokee/ Japanese/Caucasian) has distinguished himself as one of the most talented artists to come from Hawai‘i, known for his heartfelt melodies and passionate, soulful vocals that his fans have grown to love. His song “Island Style” has become one of the most cherished themes of Hawai‘i. He engages audiences with his rich storytelling through songs ranging from Hawaiian to Blues, Folk, Americana, Roots and Country. He delivers spellbinding performances, with music that references Hawaiian roots and “Island style” life, while incorporating contemporary folk-rock rhythms and virtuosic riffs. Captivating guitar, soulful vocals and a compassionate, genuine heart make Cruz one of Hawai’i’s most talented and beloved Artists. Cruz is multi-Na Hoku Hanohano Award-winner (Hawai‘i’s “Grammys”), and was featured on the Grammy Award-winning album Slack Key Guitar, Vol. 2, the first album to win in the newly-created “Hawaiian Music” category (now retired) at the Grammys, and the first-ever Hawaiian album to win a Grammy. John Cruz Indigenous Singer-songwriter from Hawai’i.
“... soulful, folksy, bluesy and technically superb, yet seemingly effortless.” --Honolulu Magazine John Cruz grew up in Hawai‘i in a home immersed in music; he performed with his father and brothers from a young age. His move to the East Coast in 1983 enabled him to develop his own style as a singer songwriter, performing everywhere from New York’s coffeehouses and bars to clubs and local haunts from Martha's Vineyard to the Boston area, as well as venturing into both theater and dance, and was leading member of the prestigious New World Theater. Returning to Hawaii, he released his first album Acoustic Soul in 1996, to artistic and commercial impact. It spawned the radio hits "Shine On," "Sitting in Limbo" and "Island Style," which has become a local anthem known around the world (including President Obama’s iPod songlist) and won two Na Hoku (Hawai‘i’s “Grammy”) Awards, including one for Most Promising Artist. In 2005, John added a Grammy Award to his list of honors, as part of the compilation CD Slack Key Guitar Volume 2, which won the first Grammy ever awarded for Hawaiian music.
John's touring has included Byron Bay Bluesfest in Australia, Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Tennessee, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Summerstage in New York's Central Park, Carnegie Hall and prominent venues up and down both coasts. He played 14 shows at the prestigious SXSW (South by Southwest) music festival. He has collaborated with such artists as Jack Johnson, Jackson Browne, Eddie Vedder, Jimmy Buffett, Lisa Loeb, and Phish frontman Trey Anastasio. In October 2006, a documentary film on his life, Made of Music - The Story of John Cruz, debuted at the Louis Vuitton Hawai‘i International Film Festival in Honolulu. He was named Best Singer Songwriter by Hawaii Magazine in 2008. His 2nd album One of These Days debuted at #2 on the Billboard Heatseekers Chart and #6 on the Billboard World Chart, earned the Na Hoku Award for Contemporary Album of the Year, and was named one of the "Top 25 Greatest Hawaii Albums of the New Century" by Honolulu Magazine in 2012. He won his most recent Na Hoku Award in 2022 for the Music Video of his song It’s Time to Build A Bridge.