Soulful jazz, pop positivity, and a captivating voice like the magic of the trade winds floating through the palm trees: Singer-Songwriter Maelan Abran presents a suite of 13 empowering songs in a collection titled Time is Now.
From Hilo, on the Big Island of Hawai’i, Maelan recorded the project on both sides of the Pacific, sending vocal and piano tracks to her mainland co-writer and producer, Marlin “Hookman” Bonds, whose shimmering orchestrations surround her voice with muted trumpets, sophisticated piano, and an elegant jazz-informed ambience. Across this shape-shifting variety of styles, Maelan’s assured vocals and authentic songcraft serve as the cohesive compass.
As told through the lyrics, the narratives in Time Is Now reveal essential chapters in Maelan’s story. Her middle name, Kaleolani, which was bestowed on her by an uncle before she was born, means “heavenly voice” in the Hawaiian language. Her hometown, Honoka’a serves as the gateway to a revered cradle of ancient history, the sacred Waipi’o Valley, as she illustrates in “Something Beautiful” with these lines: “I rode to the bottom of the Valley of the Kings/I felt all it’s mana running up and down my veins.”She references her islands’ heartbreaking past in her song, “We Will Rise,” with the words, “Tired from explaining generations being muted,” an allusion to the historic outlawing of the Hawaiian language. But she notes that her neighbors are united in an unshakeable bond of respect. “Our ancestors – native Hawaiian, Filipino, Portuguese, Chinese, and Japanese -- all worked side by side in the sugarcane fields. We learned to live together, and to love each other.”
A committed supporter of the Island musical community, Maelan advocates on behalf of her creative family at The Hawai’i Songwriting Festival and at industry events on the mainland, where her charismatic warmth is a welcoming calling card. It was at the Hawai’i event that she connected with Hookman, whose lengthy credits include songs and productions with Swizz Beatz, Jason Derulo, and many others. Hookman, who played trumpet and programmed the tracks, enlisted musicians Sam Barsh, Chris Sholar and Cornell Fields to embellish the songs to create musical alchemy.
A self-starter, Maelan coordinated the release through Pikake Records, her record label that television networks including FOX, CBS, MTV, VH1 and STARZ have featured Maelan’s songs through. As an artistic being she even took the signature black and white photo for the album cover. “You can do things if you put your heart into them,” she notes. “Don’t give up, because as my line in the title track says, ‘Too many yesterdays have passed you by.’ The song is a pep talk for myself, and anyone who has doubts about accomplishing something they have always dreamed of doing.”
And so it comes full circle for an artist with an open heart, deep roots, a stunning voice, and songs conceived with an undeniable spirit of aloha. Maelan Abran is in tune with her truth: The Time Is Now.