The native of the North Shore of Oahu, Landon McNamara, has lived a life dictated by the philosophy of following his passion. Formerly, Landon has made a career as both a professionally ranked surfer and a professional model, and now has been making strides in his new career as a professional musician. With his music reaching the heights of both the iTunes and Billboard Reggae charts, he is surely a musician on the rise worth keeping an eye on. In sitting down with him and his band during the Cali Roots festival in Monterey this year, we got an opportunity to hear from them, and talk about what success they have achieved so far, and what they hope to still accomplish further.
How does it feel to be performing at Cali Roots?
Pretty amazing! It’s my first time here, (and my) first time performing here also. Just walking around through the crowds is pretty amazing. There’s a lot of characters and a lot of people with smiles on their faces, so I’m just really antsy and excited to get up on stage.
How do you identify and make a personal connection with your music?
My music to me is just whatever I’m feeling at the moment in time is going to come through the words I’m saying or chords I’m playing. It’s my meditation.
What influences do you draw from?
Everyday life is what inspires me. Struggle and good times.
You’ve played more than a few different venues, how does Monterey compare?
I think this is going to be by far the best show we’ve had the opportunity to play. Just by cruising around and seeing all the faces, and just the vibe of everything. Also the crowd, I don’t think I’ve played in front of this big of a crowd yet, so I’m really excited. I think the most we’ve ever (played in front of) is maybe a couple thousand, but not compact like this. It’s exciting.
What are your biggest accomplishments? Musically or otherwise?
Musically, my biggest accomplishment has been dropping my album “A Dollar Short and a Minute Late”, that came out this December, also coming out with our music video for our song “Don’t Go Away”, and being here at Cali Roots is definitely up there.
What is some advice you would like to give to anyone that wants to follow your example?
The best advice I could tell anyone is, and I know it sounds cliché, but follow your heart and trust the path that you’re going on because that’s what people really connect with. Being able to feel what is real, and coming from a genuine place. Don’t let anyone change the path that you know is right for you.
Name one of your songs and one artist you would like to cover that song.
*After much deliberation and a call to his manager for advice, Landon was finally ready to give his answer.
It would be cool to see SOJA do something with Time to Waste. I would like to see that, (after) growing up listening to his music.
As an artist at your level, I’m sure you get asked most every question possible. Is there any question you are never asked on a subject that you have always wanted to speak on more?
People never really ask why we’re actually doing it (making music), or I haven’t gotten that question yet, and the reason we’re doing it is just for the love of this lifestyle, and the opportunity to be able to connect with people, and grow our relationships with people. (We want to) try and make someone’s day a little happier and help people through struggles. We also do it for Hawaii, for our home town. There’s so much talent coming out of there that gets stuck in Hawaii, and we want to be a part of the helping hand that creates a path to bringing what Hawaii has worldwide.
How does it feel to be a part of that small percentage of artists who get the opportunity to, as you put it, break out of Hawaii?
I’m feeling super fortunate to be able to share the love for my home with the whole entire world. Hawaii is a great place. It’s where I took my first steps, and where my ashes will be spread. Just to represent my home, and everyone in Hawaii, and everyone doing what they love, it’s more than I can explain with words how grateful I am for the opportunity to be here right now.
Any last words you want to leave your Bay Area fans with?
In Hawaii my last word for everything would just be Aloha, so Aloha everybody!