Everything We Wanted to Know About North Shore’s Thunderstorm Artis
Thunderstorm Artis is currently one of Top 17 contestants on “The Voice,” and performed “live” from home last night on NBC. We, and the coaches, loved his amazing performance—especially his whistling. Here, he opens up about his Hawai‘i faves, what it’s like working with the coaches and how he got his unforgettable name.
Although Thunderstorm Artis can’t foresee what will happen on The Voice, he elaborated on his long road to the four-chair turn and how he’s approaching recent twists and turns. From losing his dad at a young age and facing vulnerable on-stage moments to recently celebrating his marriage and getting to work with top industry icons, the Hale‘iwa crooner is facing (and embracing) the music.
HONOLULU Magazine: So, of course we have to ask, how’d you get the name?
Thunderstorm Artis: This is a funny story. My parents thought they were having twins, so they were going to name one Thunder and one Storm. But it was just me.
HM: You like the name?
TA: No one’s ever asked me that. I love it! I feel it has power behind it and I try to use that energy when I perform, since I am naturally shy. It’s fun when I order something at Starbucks or when I travel—people always question if that’s my real name.
HM: Your parents must’ve been super cool. They had a huge impact on your musical life, right?
TA: No doubt. We grew up playing music every day as a family. My mom and dad both were very involved in music and I learned to play the guitar, piano, drums, percussion and harmonica. My dad had these old cassettes we used to listen to. He passed away when I was young, but I still followed his lessons and guidance that kept me strong and diligent about my craft. He used to tell me, “Talent’s like water: You can pour it into anything; the only thing limiting it is yourself.”
HM: I’m sure he’d be proud of you, along with your other family members, including your 10 siblings! Do they have viewing parties?
TA: Yes! They’re always cheering me on. We’re a tight family, since we went through hardships and struggles growing up. I just spoke with two of them yesterday and I play online games with a few of my younger siblings. I’m No. 7 out of 11. During the blind auditions I would call them all the time for advice and support, especially my brother Ron who I perform with. He’s the person I bump ideas off of, even with my song selections.
HM: You’ve also been feeling the love from locals?
TA: The support I was getting from back home, including people like Jack Johnson and Kelly Slater, has been incredible. People I don’t even know have showed me so much love. I think it’s cool that I’m doing this for myself, but I’m trying to win for Hawai‘i.
HM: All this support must really help.
TA: I’ve never done a competition before so performing in front of people, who will criticize the small things, was hard. Then my nerves really got to me when I had to go into battles, put down my guitar and dance around the stage. I don’t dance in front of people.
HM: But how awesome was it when four chairs turned around for you?
TA: That was amazing, I didn’t expect it. I wanted to stop, cheer and scream. Then, when Nick [Jonas] stole me in the knockout rounds, I had to go against some amazing women—that was incredible. He used his steal on me; that meant a lot.
HM: So, how was it like working with John Legend?
TA: I looked up to him my entire life. To get to hear him sing a song back to you is pretty incredible. He’s very deliberate when he’s giving pointers; it’s very clear. He doesn’t waste a word. Hopefully I get to work with him in the future.
HM: And Nick?
TA: He really pushes the limits of my voice, like where my falsetto can go. I’m definitely growing in different places and have become better because of both coaches.
HM: Can’t wait to see what happens! One more thing, congrats on the new marriage!
TA: Thanks! Yes, I recently got married. My wife, Faith, is amazing. We’ll have a bigger ceremony in Australia, where’s she’s from, and celebrate with everyone, including my mom, back home. I think she has the most beautiful name.
HM: Thunderstorm and Faith—can’t even imagine what your kid’s names will be.
TA: Haha. We’ve talked about it and have some great ones in my mind.
Lightning round with Thunderstorm Artis
Favorite memory growing up here?
All the hikes and kanikapila-ing with all the aunties and uncles.
Where’s your favorite hike?
Ka‘au Crater Hike, near the Pali.
Hawai‘i-inspired songs on your playlist?
Jack Johnson’s “Better Together,” Israel Kamakawiwo‘ole’s “Over the Rainbow” and John Cruz’s “Island Style.”
Favorite shave ice place?
General Store on the North Shore.
Favorite local drink?
Favorite local snack?
Poke bowl form Waialua General Store.
Favorite place to grab some grinds?
Fatboy’s. I get the kalbi teriyaki beef with a side of mac salad.
Favorite beach to swim or surf?
Waimea Bay. Although, I can’t surf. Tried it when I was younger, but a shoulder injury got in the way. But I’m trying to get back into it now.
The one thing you miss most about home?
The people. And their connection to each other and the island.