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The Quiet Thunder of Derick Sebastian

Humble Maui talent expresses his heart and soul through music.

January 7, 2010
Trisha Smith

While in the presence of this proclaimed ‘ukulele virtuoso, this ray of light quickly warms your heart with his endless aloha spirit and vigorous dedication to his craft.

Maui-born and raised, the 27-year-old is a devout ‘ukulele sensation, entertainer, singer, songwriter, instructor, husband, father, friend, inspiration and much more.

His instrument of choice is a close friend and a reliable outlet of expression, which he has found himself “going home” to time after time over the last 16 years.

Article Photos

Open your heart to the pure sounds of Derick Sebastian.

“I let the ‘ukulele sing,” he said. “It’s been a friend that saved my life.”

Growing up without a father was difficult, and Derick found release through excelling in sports. Unfortunately, his asthma halted his ESPN dreams.

While attending Maui High School, his high grades, athletic skills and musicianship kept him in the spotlight, yet Derick was still searching. He found guidance and a father figure in the security guard Sam Ellis III—aka “Mister.” “If it wasn’t for him, I don’t know where I’d be,” said Derick.

The last two years, he has performed live ‘ukulele on ESPN during the half-time shows of the popular Maui Invitational NCAA Men’s Tournament. “That was without a doubt an experience of a lifetime,” he said.

After moving to Los Angeles to study music engineering, he came back to Maui and revisited his love for pure ‘ukulele.

“My musical journey has been such a blessing,” said Derick. “I’m very grateful to have grown up with humble beginnings.”

His fun demo projects achieved a level of high-demand, as did Derick. He continues to thrill audiences at Mainland festivals and events across the Isles, which has put him onstage with top performers and given him a chance to come into his own as an entertainer. You may also have heard his radio show and “‘Ukulele Minute” on Native 92.5FM.

His Marketing and Creative Development Director Rick Rasay calls him the “quiet thunder” and Derick has taken Maui by storm with his dexterity and charisma.

After concentrating on his music career full-time for the three last years, he recently released his first, full-length major ‘ukulele instrumental CD, From His Heart.

Derick’s swift fingers and precise picking exhibit his multiple talents on ‘ukulele, guitar and bass with hints of percussion throughout the album. Each track relates to significant events and individuals that compliment a lifetime—tender and unique.

The title track will leave an imprint on your heart, as it simply allows the beauty of the four strings to shine through. The delightful composition Good Morning was born during a moment of gratitude as the dawn’s sunlight beamed upon his sleeping family and Eddie Bush Tribute reflects upon Derick’s heroic music mentor and friend.

The ‘ukulele extraordinaire Eddie was one of the first Hawaiian players to make an international impact. The late icon would be proud of Derick’s ownership of this complicated piece. “He always said to me, ‘the best is yet to come,’ so I strive to continue to excel and reach ultimate perfection,” said Derick.

The four cover songs on the record include excellent instrumentations of Bob Marley’s Waiting in Vain and Oye Como Va by Carlos Santana.

On his tear-jerking cover of the well-known melody Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World, Derick gives listeners a treat by singing this homage to the late, great Hawaiian music legend, “IZ.” “His voice was from heaven and transcended the meaning of music,” said Derick.

In November, Derick officially opened his ‘Ukulele Academy within the Maui Music Conservatory in the Queen Ka‘ahumanu Center in Kahului in efforts to share the love of his craft and help youth express themselves through the arts. He strives to be a guiding light for those searching for purpose.

“I see a lot of kids searching for something,” said Derick. “I’d love to get ‘ukulele back in the school—it’s a long-term goal. Give them something to be creative about and express feelings—not just building a pocket.”

Derick was unaware that icon Santana was in the audience during one of his Sunday evening gigs at T.S. Restaurant’s Hula Grill. “He’s the main artist that made me look beyond Hawaiian music and inspire me,” said Derick. “His music is so pure, clean. You get a feeling of his soul. I hope the same for my music.”

Derick thanks his many influences, and promises to never take advantage of his “God-given talent.” A man of deep faith, Derick said he will utilize his “gift until He says so.”

“Bob Marley wrote because he wanted to write, and conveyed emotions effortlessly and became a legend,” said Derick. “I hope my talents can make an impact in this world as well.”

Visit Border’s Books & Music or to purchase From His Heart and stay in tune with this remarkable man’s endeavors.

The profits from the sales of the first 250 albums will benefit Suzanna Bascar, a teacher from his son’s school who is battling cancer.



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