JoLivi: Country Music Feels Like Home For This Native Hawaiian

Above all, the former pop star wants to make her fans dance no matter what genre she’s performing.

It’s the most obvious (and ultimately most unavoidable) question you can ask recording artist JoLivi: How does a girl from Hawai’i end up in Nashville performing country music? Surprisingly, the answer is much simpler than expected.

“I grew up listening to a lot of country music,” JoLivi explains. “I grew up listening to a lot of genres of music, but I definitely leaned more towards the James Taylor, Bonnie Raitt, Willie Nelson… The steel guitar was invented in Hawai’i. Hawaiian music actually has a very country sound. I grew up in the country with horses and a lot of land and family was everything.”

But when JoLivi first began her music career, it was the pop industry that came calling and that led to a significant measure of success with popular videos for her songs “Games” and “Chains.” Amid that journey, her manager noticed that she was listening to a lot of country music and encouraged her to write a song that reflected her love for the genre. One thing led to another and JoLivi was hooked.

“I was doing pretty well with pop music, but when I came (to Nashville) to visit, people were so welcoming,” she explains. “I really got to see the community of country music. They all support each other and that was huge for me. And people come out to see live music so much here. I love it.”

According to JoLivi, many of her pop fans have continued to support her despite the change. And ultimately, it’s that growing audience that inspires a commitment to keep writing songs that resonate.

“A lot of my songs are very happy—living in the moment,” JoLivi says. “I want (fans) to dance, really. I love it when they sing along with me.”

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