Paula Fuga is not a household name yet. But this local girl, who showed up at the auditions for American Idol wearing a T-shirt reading ‘Big Girls Rock’ and who was named the Na Hoku Hanohano Most Promising Artist of the Year - is making a name for herself.
Something you should know right off the top about this 28-year-old rising local star. She knows what it’s like to be a child living in a tent, homeless, on a beach. And helping others is part of who she is. Paula’s last name is spelled f-u-g-a and it’s pronounced ‘funga.’
Excerpts from the conversation:
“I was in high school and I entered different contests, like Brown Bags to Stardom and KeikiStars, which is the children’s version of Hawaii Stars. And you know I just always knew what I wanted to do. I didn’t quite knowhow to go about pursuing that dream. But I would do just little things. Like in high school, I took ukulele lessons from Roy Sakuma. And it wasn’t to be this fantastic ukulele player; it was just so that I’d have an instrument to play while I tried to writesongs or so I could sing, sing along to it.”
“Before I lived on the beach, I was living with aunts and my grandparents. But we just missed — my sister and I, we just missed my mom so much that we didn’t care about living in a house. It didn’t seem like, you know, a burden oranything to live on the beach because you come home, and it’s like, there’s the ocean, you know. You get to go swimming and play with all these kids. Like I didn’t think there was anything wrong.”
Long Story Short with Leslie Wilcox is a production of PBS Hawaii.