Duncan Kamakana grew up on the island of Oahu in a family richly steeped in music, Hawaiian culture, intellectual stimulation and abundant love and creativity. Born on February 21, 1988 in Honolulu, Duncan Andrew Kamakanaonakuahiwi Osorio lived in Palolo Valley with his older brother and three younger sisters. His dad Jon Osorio is a Na Hoku Hanohano Award winning musician for his collaboration with the late Randy Borden on the 1981 Song of the Year "Hawaiian Eyes." He's also an esteemed scholar and expert in Hawaiian language, history and politics at the University of Hawaii. Duncan's mom Mary Osorio is a social worker.
Strong supporters of the performing arts, the family often attended Jon's various gigs in local bars and churches. As a folk musician, he introduced Duncan to a vast array of music, ranging from traditional and contemporary Hawaiian music, to singer songwriters like James Taylor, Jackson Browne, Simon and Garfunkel, Joni Mitchell and Bonnie Raitt. One of Duncan's favorite childhood memories is falling asleep to the sound of his dad strumming songs on the guitar.
As a child, he was painfully shy with severe stage fright. When Jon would call his kids up on stage at shows, it was fearless sister Jamaica who finally inspired Duncan to overcome his limitations and emerge as a performer. She, by the way, has gone on to become a celebrated slam poet and recently performed for President Obama at the White House.
Despite his musical surroundings, while attending both Wilson and Hokulani Elementary Schools, Duncan was always more interested in sports than music. He was honored for his abilities in soccer, basketball and football. It wasn't until 8th grade at Kamehameha Schools that he first seriously picked up a guitar and discovered his love for singing and songwriting. He was accepted to the prestigious Kamehameha Concert Glee Club as a bass singer. The calibre of musicians there encouraged him to express himself artistically. He would often work on music deep into the night.
After graduation, Duncan spent time in Oregon, California and Michigan honing his musical skills on various projects and attending college. He came back to Hawaii in 2010 to regroup. In 2012, he scored a significant break by landing a Burger King commercial that featured a modified version of the hit song "Fish and Poi." It catapulted his career locally. While playing a gig at Rumfire in Waikiki that July, a prominent LA music supervisor recognized him from the commercial and helped him get a private audition for NBC's hit show "The Voice." Producers chose him out of 50,000 other contestants vying for the coveted opportunity. Maroon 5's Adam Levine chose Duncan for his team and coached him alongside the other finalists. It was a whirlwind experience that he hopes to build on, as he creates his own musical legacy and from his humble beginnings, finds his own voice.