Ori Kawa


As writer Tim Lawrence stated, there are three pillars of dance music—the venues, the DJ’s and the music. Ori Kawa holds an extraordinary understanding and respect for each of them.  Early in his career, a deep interest in House culture had drawn Ori to the music’s creation location to study the history and get immersed.

While attending audio classes, Ori was booking talent remotely for Blowfish, a venue in his home city of San Jose. The budding DJ/promoter found his weekend home at SmartBar, a staple of the Chi-town dance scene whose owner had a hand in making the very history Ori was researching.

After frequenting the club for a while, it was only natural to begin working there, and it was during this time that Ori diligently enjoyed a front row seat to the finest dance music being grown in and imported to the states. The diverse bookings of music director and “DJ Grad School” tutor James Amato had set the stage for an outpour of musical creativity; most influential were the stylings of Mr. Scruff, Derrick Carter, LTJ Bukem, Colette and Rusko. The underground venue’s big sister, Metro, provided more scene to soak in from up the stairs with an abundance of acclaimed performers gracing its stage.


Living in this environment provided all the inspiration necessary to put pen to paper and voice to tape, and while residing above the bar just next door to the club, Ori began to sing. He became obsessed—”Voice is the best instrument because you have it with you wherever you go,” he says. “You can practice while walking down the street, as long as you don’t mind getting weird looks.”


The arrival of this newly awakened passion coincided with his development as a producer during a sample-heavy era that was drying out for dance music. The desire for fresh vocals from the rapidly expanding number of skilled beat-makers and the call to fuel the floors became heavy motivation.

To be set apart, it takes originality in performance, composition and lyrical content…

“Only What You Can Carry”, Ori Kawa’s first song writer and accompaniment video production, is a musical sidestep from his usual electronic antics. As a nod to his ancestors, this piece paints a genuine American experience.

After working with many of the local scene’s striving and thriving electronic labels and artists, this independent musician is approaching the current “musiconomy” with the same DIY spirit that Chicago architects pressed on vinyl to spark a global dance music movement. Be on the look out for more of Ori’s imaginative work as he brings you off-the-wall lyrics and style to bounce to. It has only just begun!