Besides family, music plays an important part in the lives of the people of Hawaii, and Brian is no exception. He comes from a long line of musical talent reaching further back than anyone his family can remember. His father Phillip Vasquez, Uncle Danny Vasquez and Grandfather Phillip Vasquez Sr. all played professionally throughout the Islands. He grew up in a household as one of four brothers, and Brian emerged the musician, even though it was his older brother who taught him to play the ukulele and convinced him to enter Hawaii's Search for Talent in which they won the state finals as a team. Brian Style is uniquely powered by an intense energy which fuels Brian's music. Brian has developed a unique spell binding, finger picking style which is pure genius, pure Brian Style.
Brian has played music throughout the Hawaiian Islands, but until now he never thought of it as a career. Brian states in accented voice, known as "pigeon english" in the islands: “In Hawaii, we are raised to give, and we make our contribution to society with the gifts in which we have been given. So, when my Auntie asks me to play music for her grandbaby’s luau, I cannot charge her, I have to play for free. That is my Aloha and respect for all the things she has done for me throughout my life. So I never believed I could raise my family only playing music. I am learning now, that I can make my music my career.”
He adds: "So much of my personal life is reflected in my music. I really try to relate to every song I play or sing. It may not be in the way it was intended, but what it means to me at the time I am playing it. I draw on my own life experience, or something someone close to me has experienced. It is my way of reaching others with my music. This is how I share my Aloha. Sharing music is what I do. Music brings me joy, and through my music I believe many others receive joy. I have worked construction, security, general labor, and food service, but my love is in music. I am really jazzed to be able to do something I love and get paid for doing it”.
When you listen to Brian Style music, you will know this to be true. There are four original tunes on his CD, each one portraying a different aspect of his life.
When asked: what is your most memorable gig, he chuckled: "The most memorable thing that has ever happened to me on stage..... I was at Huggo's on the Rocks (Kailua Kona) when this 'girl-lady-woman' walks through the door with a smile that made the sunset pale in comparison. I knew one day she would be my wife. I forgot the words to the song I was singing and stuttered until I regained my voice. She sat down with a musician friend of mine and I just didn't know what to make of it, after all, my friend Bobby was married. During our break I walked to the table and Bobby introduced her as his cousin, Rowena. I thought, ok, I get chance. I opened my mouth to impress her with my suave-ness and sophistication (he smiles broadly with a look of mischeviousness) and nothing, no words would come out. I stood there staring at her like a tongue tied "babooze" (slang for idiot)!
After the sunset, I kept my sunglasses on, because I didn't want her to know I was checking her out. Pretty lame, wearing sunglasses at night, on stage, no less!” Definitely love at first sight.
Rowena plays a major part in cultivating Brian Style. Brian muses: “Rowena nurtures my musical ability. I think she has believed in me, more than I believed in myself. She has a really creative flexible way of looking at life and is fearless about what she does and fearless about her belief in me. I believe, as long as we work together, we can accomplish anything. After all, we have raised 6 kids together!”
When asked if she sings, Rowena replied “All the time…..in the shower”. Brian would love for her to take a more active role musically and in many respects she does. She has her hands full organizing everything which surrounds the music, other than the actual playing. Brian adds: “Rowena is the back bone of what we do. She contributes to everything I do, from writing, playing to living. Rowena has an incredible amount of aloha in everything she does. What she does is music of a different sort. For now, someone has to keep us organized and I know that person is her."
An easy, loving smile crosses her face. “Brian is incredibly talented and I am not just saying that because I am prejudice, he really is. Over the years, he has matured into a great musician and becoming an even greater entertainer and together we have made sacrifices to get the music business to this point. Even though Brian is the one you see on stage, it is a business, and together we run this business. Like most people we all have our strengths and organizing is not one of Brian’s best talents, yet!”
Rowena is a licensed Real Estate Agent and Mortgage Broker in California and Hawaii. When they met, Brian began helping Rowena with the properties she owned, he says it was the only way he could spend time with her because she was so busy. Rowena chimes in with a smile “From the beginning Brian helped maintained the properties and I it naturally became “ours”. It was a business we run together. Everyone comes to me for answers, but it doesn’t make it any less Brian’s”.
Everything this couple does, they do together. It is almost literally 24/7. Before they met, Brian wrote the song Ku’uipo be mine. He had an emotional vision of the sweetheart that would be with him all the time, then Rowena came along, Brian’s dream come true. “Row hated this song, because I wrote it before I met her. She thought I wrote it for someone else. It took her 7 years to realize, I wrote it because I was looking for her!”
Together they have also raised 6 children. They both start to joke, saying they should have bought a TV. They realize raising children and being a musician can be conflicting at times. Children have their needs and traveling may not be the best for young ones. At this stage, the children are older and it is now time for Brian is to share his music with more than just the Hawaiian Islands.
Brian’s music spans many generations and ethnic cultures. It is impossible to listen to his music and keep still. There is something about every song that will move each listener in one way or another. It is amazing how fast his fingers move when he does what the Hawaiians call “pa'ani”, which is an instrumental solo. Brian seems to think in music. It’s like the way most people “think” about what they want to say, then the words pour out of their mouths, with Brian he seems to hear the music and then it pours through his fingers. It is really amazing to watch and experience personally.
Musically you will find this couple spending most of their time living Bi-Coastal. They both concur that Hawaii will always be their home, but spreading Brian Style music is their focus for the coming years. Brian's touring schedule is gaining momentum daily as his popularity is increasing on the West Coast but needless to say, Hawaii always calls.
Brian is working on his second CD, which is not named yet. Whatever the name, whenever it is released, it is bound to be exceptional.