Archive for June, 2011

R&B singer Sammie returns to Hawaii

June 30th, 2011

Comebacks are always difficult. Even more so when you never really went anywhere.

Some might say R&B recording artist Sammie was a "one-hit wonder" and "disappeared" after his 1999 hit single, "I Like It," and his 2000 solo debut album, "From the Bottom to the Top," were both certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America.

R&B recording artist Sammie last performed in Honolulu more than a decade ago as a 13-year old. (Courtesy Mailloechii Entertainment)

True, the young man born Sammie Bush — born and raised in Florida and son of a professional gospel singer — disappeared for a few years. But it's not really that surprising when you consider his big break came as a pre-teen on "Showtime at the Apollo" and he spent his adolescent years chasing his musical dreams. Coming from a solid family upbringing, of course Sammie would want to get his high school diploma and consider attending college.

Now 24, he's back into music full-time and getting ready to release his latest album, "Coming of Age." The Pulse got to speak with Sammie via telephone from the east coast, where he was getting ready to start traveling westward, ultimately ending up in Honolulu this weekend.

Jason Genegabus: When you did "Showtime at the Apollo" in 1998, did you realize at the time that it was your big break?

Sammie: I had done so many talent shows with the group I was in, I just thought it was another big talent show. I knew the Apollo was big, but I didn't realize how big. I rubbed the log, just like Steve Harvey told me to.

I was 11 at the time. That's where I was discovered by Joyce Irby, who hooked me up with Dallas Austin.

JG: "From the Bottom to the Top" and "I Like It" were both certified gold by the RIAA. Yet some critics describe you as a one-hit wonder. Your thoughts?

Sammie: I left (the music business) to go to school, just to have that sense of normalcy. You get so wrapped up in the money and the fame … especially being successful at a young age.

Universal had given me a P&E deal. When you do that, they just … pretty much press up my albums and put it out. Universal itself didn't really go for the project.

From an independent standpoint, to sell 120,000 units was okay. But I wanted to do more. I felt like I wanted my music to be heard worldwide. And in this business, it also takes marketing at the right time to be successful.

JG: What's the difference between working with Interscope now and working with Dallas Austin a few years ago?

Sammie: Working with Dallas Austin is always one of those experiences that's a fantasy and a dream come true. He's helped so many people's careers. It was almost the greatest situation a new artist could come into.

But being in an independent situation, I didn't feel I was getting the push I needed. … There's no bad blood between me and Rowdy and Dallas Austin. In 2011, the industry has changed. You have to adapt.

At 24, I've been through a lot of bumps and bruises. So I started my own company, Star Camp Entertainment. Now I'm a boss — moreso just so I can have creative control. I feel like I can't sell a product if I don't believe in it. And I believe in myself. I think I proved that … by collaborating with Souljah Boy. We was number one in the country for 12 weeks.

The flier for Friday night's party at Paparazzi. (Courtesy Mailloechii Entertainment)

JG: "Coming of Age" is the new album. Any updates?

Sammie: I'm like 90 percent done, and then I'm flying to LA in July. Then I'll be done.

For the first time, I actually have a sound. When I come on, you know it's Sammie. This is the most passionate project I've ever recorded. I wrote every record, so it's really personal, about the things that I've been through, this relationship I've been going through.

I just think that's what we're coming to (now as artists) … giving people something that's genuine.

JG: What can we expect from this weekend's performance?

Sammie: The beauty of my career is that I get to do what I call "The Time Machine." I take people back to 1999, and then I bring them up to 2011.

You can definitely expect high energy and live singing, no autotune. (laughs) Just up close and personal with the people. I'm down for that. I like to be in the mix with the people.

JG: Ever been to Hawaii before?

Sammie: Never did the vacation thing. I'm glad I'll get a day or two to do my thing. But I actually performed there when I was 13 years of age. So this is actually my second time. I just can't wait.


Jason Genegabus is Entertainment Editor/Online at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and has covered the local nightlife, music, bar and entertainment scenes since 2001. Contact him via email at

Sammie in Concert

Presented by Mailloechii Entertainment

» Where: Bar Paparazzi, Ward Centre

» When: 10 p.m. Friday, July 1

» Info: 542-7548

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Hawaiian Sun, H.I.C. team up

June 28th, 2011

The new boardshorts from Hawaiian Sun and Hawaiian Island Creations. (Star-Advertiser photos by Jason Genegabus)

If you're under, say, 25 years old, this post isn't for you. I don't really think there's a way for someone that young to fully grasp how cool these new boardshorts from Hawaiian Island Creations really are.

For those who grew up in the 1980's and early 1990's, this collaboration between two of the biggest brands from small kid time will surely make you do a double-take. There was a time when all my parents stocked in our fridge was Hawaiian Sun Passion Orange and Pass-O-Guava. And for a long time, local kids had just two choices when it came to boardshorts — H.I.C. or Town & Country Surf.

Now, a special, limited edition pair of boardshorts is available for purchase. Part of Hawaiian Island Creations' "Hydro Superstretch Series," the boardshorts are made with a blend of polyester and spandex — the latter of which gives them a stretchy feel. Hawaiian Sun logos are included on the inside of the waistband and one of the legs to go with all the images of the different cans the company distributes.

According to a representative from Hawaiian Sun, the boardshorts retail for about $60 and are available for purchase via the H.I.C. and Hawaiian Sun websites, or via one of their licensed online retailers. The boardshorts come in two colors, back and green, although the black ones are more difficult to come by.

This isn't the first time H.I.C. has partnered with another iconic local business. They recently designed a pair of boardshorts in collaboration with L&L Drive Inn.


Jason Genegabus is Entertainment Editor/Online at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and has covered the local nightlife, music, bar and entertainment scenes since 2001. Contact him via email at

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‘Tennesee Honey’ buzz builds

June 24th, 2011

Hear that? Nope, it's not the sound of intoxicated bees — the buzz in Honolulu lately has been the sound of Jack Daniel's fans (and non-fans, too) getting into the newest offering from a company known for keeping things simple.

Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey is available in stores now. (Star-Advertiser photo by Jason Genegabus)

I didn't even have to open the sample bottle of Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey given to me last month by Better Brands vice president of promotions Christa Wittmier to know that I'd like the stuff. Jack and I have been friends for more than a decade, although I don't spend nearly as much time with him these days as I did five or six years ago.

For the uninitiated, Jack Daniel's is distilled in Lynchburg, Tennessee and basically comes in three flavors: Black label (the one you see the most on store shelves and served at bars), Single Barrel and Gentleman Jack. The company also makes pre-mixed drinks called Country Cocktails and Jack Daniel's Perfect Mix.

It's the Gentleman Jack that's the most similar to the new Tennessee Honey, since it's flavor is smoothed out a bit more and sweetened just a tad via a charcoal mellowing process done twice on each batch of whiskey (other JD brands only go through the process once). But make no mistake — while the bottle has the Jack Daniel's name on it and a definite whiskey undertone to the taste, this new Tennessee Honey stuff is a lot sweeter on the palate.

Like regular Jack Daniel's, you can pour the Tennesee Honey over ice and sip it neat with a twist of lime. Add some cola for a sweeter version of the traditional Jack and Coke, or go the lemon-lime route for a surprisingly refreshing drink. Or, be a little more daring and add the Tennesee Honey to some freshly brewed sweet tea for the perfect companion drink to Hawaii's sweltering summer afternoons.

I also found some success cooking with the Tennesee Honey. It made for the perfect steaming liquid to go with fresh salmon filets wrapped in aluminum foil and tossed on the hibachi, and on another occasion carmelized nicely with some miso paste to make a tasty sauce for another fish dish prepared at home.

Want to try some for yourself? Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey is currently available for purchase at Times Supermarkets on Oahu, Tamura's Fine Wine & Liquors, Fujioka's Wine & Spirits, Shiroma's Wine & More, Foodland Aina Haina and South Beretania, K-Mart, all Oahu Longs Drugs locations and Don Quijote.

Order some at bars located in the Shack Waikiki, Trump International Waikiki, PF Changs Waikiki, Home Bar & Grill, Sansei Waikiki, Uncle Bo's, Manifest, Nextdoor, SoHo Mixed Media Bar, Nashville Waikiki and both Side Street Inn locations in Honolulu.

On Tuesday, June 28, Jack Daniel's Tennesee Honey will host an official launch party at the Shack Waikiki. Doors open to the general public at 8 p.m. following a VIP pre-party; the night will feature $3 Jack Honey on special, bull rides, a photo flip book booth and DJ Osna spinning tunes until 4 a.m.


Jason Genegabus is Entertainment Editor/Online at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and has covered the local nightlife, music, bar and entertainment scenes since 2001. Contact him via email at

Treadway pours ‘Emotion in a Glass’

June 17th, 2011

One of the perks for a "professional" bartender is access to a network of industry insiders and tastemakers. That cute 20-something who pulls beers and thinks a quality cocktail is something strong enough to elicit an extra dollar in her tip bucket? She's probably not connected.

Waikiki EDITION bartender Sam Treadway, middle, with Tiare Thomas, left, and Tim Rita. (Photo courtesy MidWeek)

For the Waikiki EDITION's Sam Treadway, however, the dedication to his craft has presented opportunities he never even realized he was interested in. Case in point: Russian Standard Vodka's "Emotion in a Glass" bartender competition.

At first, Treadway was only interested in the contest as a means to an end.

"I was really geared up to find a competition to get me a free trip to 'Tales of the Cocktail,' a national cocktail convention," he explained. "It's an crazy awesome party. I was entering all the competitions that had that as a prize."

But once he bagged the prize he was after in another, unrelated bartending competition — and it was announced he was also a top five finalist in the Russian Standard contest — his focus changed to taking a trip to the former Soviet Union.

"That's one place in the world I would never go on my own," said Treadway with a laugh. "But hell yeah, if someone's paying, I'll go!"

The joking stopped, however, once our conversation turned to serious talk about what it takes to concoct a winning cocktail. Treadway's last stop before Honolulu was Boston, where he worked at a cocktail lounge that offered a unique twist to the ordering process.

Treadway's entry in the Russian Standard cocktail competition — 'Exhiliration.' (Courtesy Russian Standard Vodka)

"They were really cocktail-focused, (using) really fresh ingredients and great products, but there's no cocktail menu there," he said. "So you walk in … and just start a conversation.

"Two years of working that job, you definitely learn … to come up with drinks creatively in the moment. It's a great training for competition. I've gotten a great sense of what flavors work and those that don't."

The Russian Standard competition intrigued Treadway because it didn't require any specific ingredients besides the sponsored liquor, and all entries would be judged based on the emotion they were trying to convey. He picked "exhiliration" and got to work, drawing inspiration from an activity most of us have experienced at one time or another in life.

"It was the middle of my day off and I was excited about going out that night, so I came up with 'exhiliration' as my emotion," he said. "In my head, exhiliration was getting excited, getting pumped up for a night out. So the cocktail I came up with was light and refreshing, something you could sip on in the late afternoon or early evening. It gets your palate excited about what you're going to eat and drink the rest of the night.

"That's kind of what I love about bartending — the creative aspect of it. I'm always coming up with drinks for people who come in. I have a really nice menu at Lobby Bar, but sometimes people tell me just to do whatever. I'll play around and come up with something, or I'll use one of my recipes."

Want to try your hand at mixing Treadway's drink? The recipe is below. He'll find out Monday if he's won the grand prize trip to Russia, plus a feature in Food & Wine Magazine that showcases his cocktail.


Jason Genegabus is Entertainment Editor/Online at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and has covered the local nightlife, music, bar and entertainment scenes since 2001. Contact him via email at

Sam Treadway's 'Exhiliration'

Russian Standard "Emotion in a Glass" finalist


» 1 1/2 ounce Russian Standard Vodka

» 1 1/2 ounce fresh grapefruit juice

» 3/4 ounce Lillet Blanc

» 1/2 ounce Luxardo Maraschino

» 1 dash Bitter Truth celery bitters

» 5 mint leaves

» Champagne

Lightly muddle mint in the bottom of your mixing glass. Add all ingredients except for champagne. Shake with ice. Double strain into a crushed ice filled Collins glass. Top with about an ounce of champagne. Serve with a straw and garnish with a grapefruit twist and a sprig of mint.

BAMP asks for kokua from fans

June 10th, 2011

The promoters behind this weekend's first annual Republik Music Festival are warning people heading to Kakaako Waterfront Park about an increased law enforcement presence at the venue.

"We want everyone to enjoy themselves responsibly … (so) please do not arrive intoxicated," wrote BAMP Project's Matty Hazelgrove yesterday via Facebook. "You will not be let in and there will not be refunds issued."

When reached by phone, Hazelgrove said BAMP was simply concerned about the increased attention Kakaako Waterfront Park is getting from the Honolulu Police Department and Honolulu Liquor Commission. While private security has been prevalent and proactive at recent shows, there have still been instances of underage drinking and marijuana use in the crowd — issues that some local concert veterans might say come with the territory, considering the history of similar shows over the years at venues like Blaisdell Arena, the Waikiki Shell, Kualoa Ranch and Sea Life Park.

Still, Hazelgrove said that "illicit drug use will not be tolerated" by BAMP or anyone affiliated with the Republik Music Festival, and that all bags will be checked at the gate for contraband.

"Please respect all … laws so we can all continue to enjoy this amazing new venue," he said.

Going to the show? Consider yourself warned.


Jason Genegabus is Entertainment Editor/Online at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and has covered the local nightlife, music, bar and entertainment scenes since 2001. Contact him via email at

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