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2023 Maui Songwriter’s Festival

Grand Wailea Seaside Chapel during the 2023 Maui Songwriter's Festival

We featured it in our January 2023 Calendar of Events for good reason! The 2023 Maui Songwriter’s Festival truly was a special set of intimate evenings. Held again for three days at the picturesque Grand Wailea Resort, located across the street from the Wailea condos of Hoolei, this unique festival attracts songwriters, musicians, and music lovers from all over the country. An opportunity to come together and celebrate the art of songwriting and music with titans of their craft.

Overview of Grand Wailea Seaside Chapel and Lawn during the 2023 Maui Songwriter's Festival

The sixth annual, 2023 Maui Songwriter’s Festival featured home grown talent Lukas Nelson, Lily Meola, and Derick Sebastian; accompanied by a star-studded assortment of contemporary songwriters and performers. This year, the festival featured: Chris Young, Randy Houser, Natalie Grant, Mitchell Tenpenny, Kameron Marlowe, Meghan Patrick, Bernie Herms, Madeline Edwards, Ella Langley, JT Harding, hosted by Emcee Storme Warren as well as CMT Host, Carissa Culiner.

Tiki Torches at sunset on the Molokini Garden Lawn for the 2023 Maui Songwriter's Festival.

Great events like this really showcase why owning a Wailea condo is so special. This diverse lineup of talented songwriters and musicians was the perfect blend of established artists as well as up-and-coming talent. One of the highlights of the festival is always the intimate songwriter showcases, where we all enjoyed songwriters perform their own original compositions. A real tight nit and familiar setting allows for a unique and personal connection between the audience and the performers. Here’s a highlight reel over a perfect three nights at the 2023 Maui Songwriter’s Festival!

2023 Maui Songwriter’s Festival—‘Live at the Botero Lounge’

The opening night festivities took place at the newly renovated Botero Lounge in the Grand Lobby courtyard. And I thought it was the perfect way to kick off the event. This space has quickly become a local Wailea favorite of mine. With outstanding sushi, traditional and modern Japanese delicacies, an impressive cocktail program with frequent guest mixologists, and a great set up for live music, the team at the Grand Wailea knocked it out of the park with their recent resort improvements.

Sushi Platter at the Botero Lounge, Grand Wailea Resort, Maui, Hawaii

Performing that night was Lily Meola, Derick Sebastian, Ella Langley and Meghan Patrick. Lily actually performed a song for first time, “A Better View” which you can see in the video above. She continues to be a star and showcase her natural talent whenever I see her perform. Maui is truly proud to watch her grow up into the artist she’s become. Ella and Meghan also both shared their incredible stories and history of growing into the musicians they are today. In a scene that is usually so highly produced and scripted, this night was refreshingly intimate, vulnerable and authentic.

‘How I Wrote That Song’ with Special Family Performance Preshow

Natalie Grant, Bernie Herms, and daughters performing at the 2023 Maui Songwriter's Festival

The second evening of the festival was built around the theme “How I Wrote That Song”. I was lucky enough to be able to attend the VIP reception which included a private show inside the beautiful Grand Wailea Seaside Chapel. We knew the powerful Natalie Grant and her talented husband, Bernie Herms, would be gracing the stage. What caught most the audience off guard was when they invited their 3 daughters up and shared their family story. Talk about being real and vulnerable, the family shared struggles and triumphs that truly inspired the crowd. It was a special Maui moment emphasizing the importance of ohana, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the building.

Madeline Edwards, Kameron Marlowe, Randy Houser, Lukas Nelson performing at Grand Wailea Seaside Chapel Lawn during the 2023 Maui Songwriter's Festival

After that stunning chapel concert, we were ushered outside to the lawn for the main attraction: Madeline Edwards, Kameron Marlowe, Randy Houser, and Lukas Nelson. As the theme of the night suggests, each artist took a few minutes before each song to explain its origins. Many were based on previous and current relationships, of course, but it was the differences in experiences and subsequent story telling that make each lyric and song unique.

Again, a local Maui musician was one of the highlights of the show. Now, if you keep up with the blog regularly, you know we’re big fans of Willie Nelson and his Family. We just attended the Willie and Ohana Holiday concert just this past December. Lukas continues to impress every time I’m lucky enough to see him. And for this set, the crowd was lucky enough to learn the back story for his hit song “Forget About Georgia” (video above):

“It’s a true story about me and a girl I went out with for awhile. Her name was Georgia. When we stopped seeing each other, I was heartbroken about it. At the time, I was playing shows with my father and I had to go out every night and play “Georgia On My Mind” (a No. 1 country hit for Willie Nelson in 1978). Playing that song every show made it impossible for me to forget about this girl. That’s why I wrote ‘Forget About Georgia.'”

Chris Young & Famous Friends Finale at the Molokini Gardens

Kameron Marlowe, Randy Houser, Lily Meola, Lukas Nelson performing at Molokini Garden Lawn during Chris Young and Friends Finale for the 2023 Maui Songwriter's Festival
Kameron Marlowe, Randy Houser, Lily Meola, and Lukas Nelson at the Finale. Photo courtesy of @mauisongwritersfestival on Instagram.

For the Grand Finale of the 2023 Maui Songwriter’s Festival, the audience was lucky to experience over 3 hours of acoustic bliss. With many of the artists playing, it was a great opportunity to catch up on all the acts you might’ve missed over the previous couple of days. It was a sold out occasion that even had non ticketed spectators lined up on the beach walk path to catch the action! The show itself was as entertaining and diverse as could be. The spectrum of sounds, lyrics and energy was masterful. Each musician got to showcase their talent and unique ability to story-tell through music.

Emcee Storme Warren leading the auction at Molokini Garden Lawn during Chris Young and Friends Finale for the 2023 Maui Songwriter's Festival
Emcee Storme Warren led most of the event’s festivities–here manning the mic for the finale auction; photo courtesy of @mauisongwritersfestival on Instagram.

Finishing off the show was a short auction hosted by our outstanding emcee, Storm Warren. He reiterated the fact that this is one of his favorite gatherings in the whole world, to much raucous applause. All proceeds benefited the Boys and Girls Club of Maui, and after all was said and done, the final tally totaled over $40,000! Overall, the 2023 Maui Songwriters Festival was a celebration of music and the art of songwriting, providing every attendee with a unique and memorable experience. And all for a tremendous cause! The festival’s continued success demonstrates the sustained demand for world-class artists here on island. It’s truly one of the best events every January, hope to see you next year!

Featured Wailea condo listing

Ho’olei Villa 63-2 | 3br | 3.5ba | 2,426sqft | Offered for $6,250,000

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Dano Sayles/Chris Young/JT Harding at the Grand Wailea for 2023 Maui Songwriter's Festival
The intimate setting meant meeting your favorite stars. Here I’m catching up with the uber talented Chris Young and JT Harding!

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Dano Sayles R(B)


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