Sean Cleland

“Innovative singer-songwriter and prolific performer plays pop, rock, and soul.” — Honolulu Star-Advertiser


- 2021 Na Hoku Hanohano Award
(Alternative Album of the Year - “Chroma (vol. 1)”)  — Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts

- 2019 Na Hoku Hanohano Award
(Alternative Album of the Year - "The Process Of”)  — Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts


Sean Cleland is a two-time Na Hoku Hanohano Award-winning songwriter, guitarist, and vocalist based out of Honolulu, Hawai'i.  Described as an "innovative singer-songwriter and prolific performer who plays pop, rock, and soul" by The Honolulu Star-Advertiser, his music can in one moment be introspective and refined, and in the next, fiery and emotional.  Blending together a hooky pop-songwriting aesthetic with the raw emotion of his electric guitar, Sean traverses and synthesizes the frenetic passion of rock and blues with the sultry sounds of r&b, jazz, and soul.

Artists as diverse as John Mayer, Tom Misch, Gary Clark Jr., Ryan Adams, Hozier, and James Bay may come to mind when listening to Sean.  Sean's guitar playing sits on top of his compositions as a dazzling electric blend of Mayer, Misch, Eric Krasno, and Mateus Asato.


Sean's most recent album, "Chroma (vol. 1)", won the state-wide 2021 Na Hoku Hanohano Award for 'Alternative Album of the Year' (awarded by the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts) (produced by multiple Na Hoku Award-winning and Grammy-nominated producer Imua Garza).  It features the previously released 2020 singles "Comfort Kills" (feat. ATOM), "Able (Break The Clock)", "Aim Higher", "Sleepless", "Cheap Thrills", and "Chroma", as well as 3 additional songs.  The singles have been featured on multiple blogs and Spotify playlists, and have received regular airplay on 90.1 FM KTUH college radio, appearing on their NACC charts for multiple weeks.

"Chroma (vol. 2)" will be available December 10.

The latest single from the upcoming album, “Three (For You)”, is a meditative look at the past.  Acoustic guitars and piano intertwine on a perpetually moving figure, while harmony vocals shimmer behind the confessional lead vocal.  The narrator speaks to the parental love that we often take for granted: “There was love before I knew it’s name, but I felt it just the same.  Maybe I can give back some of what you gave.  I owe everything I’ve become to you”.  And reflects on the regrets of the past: “Hold on, because that wasn’t me.  I see now your love was given for free.  I was wrong for most of the time, a love absentee”.  The song is grounded in it’s acoustic simplicity, but is ethereal as well, drawing comparisons to artists like Fleet Foxes and Iron & Wine.  “Can I take a moment to retrieve the single syllable that we all need?  A parent’s love is the only reason I’m me.  I miss how things used to be.  When it was just us three.”

The five other recent singles off of "Chroma (vol. 2)" are “Ego” (an effortless groove, blending elements of ambient pop, rock, and jamband styles into a soulful mix perfect for a chill Sunday), "White Noise" (evoking the ambient textures of Boards of Canada and late-era Radiohead), “No Ceiling Above” (a rocker that bursts with blues-rock swagger in the same vein as Led Zeppelin, Rival Sons, or The Black Keys), " Misfit" (a funky track in the musical neighborhood of Lettuce, Soulive, or Jamiroquai) and "Wake" (shades of Mayer Hawthorne or a jazzier John Mayer).

All tracks and albums are available to stream at the links above or for purchase in the store.

Currently Sean performs live in two basic configurations: 1) a solo act featuring a completely live (zero pre-recorded material) looping performance of vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, and sampled drums or 2) a full band format (trio, quartet, or quintet).


Sean's 2018 album, “The Process Of”, won the state-wide 2019 Na Hoku Hanohano Award for 'Alternative Album of the Year' (awarded by the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts) (produced by multiple Na Hoku Award-winning and Grammy-nominated producer Imua Garza).  Released in the spring of 2018, the tracks "Dig", "Salary Man", and "Curl" received radio play on Star 101.9 and KZOO.  The album was covered in two TGIF features in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser newspaper, as well as multiple blogs and Spotify playlists.  Sean's music video for "Curl" was released in the Summer of 2019.  His music video for "Salary Man" was released in the Fall of 2018.  Sean has also self-produced three albums, "Wanderlust", "Silence Speaks Louder", and "The Winter Room".  He is a relentless performer, and has opened for Henry Kapono (2021) at Blue Note Hawaii, Iron & Wine (2018) and Houndmouth (2016) at The Republik, and has performed at the 2020 NAMM Show in Anaheim, 2019 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards, Aloha Stadium, HNN, KHON, KITV, The Perry & Price Show, and Pakele Live (his particular concerts are still currently airing on tv channel OC16).  He has 3-5 residencies every week at Honolulu hotels and venues with his solo act, which means he performs over 200 times every year.  Sean was selected as one of 13 participants in the 2018 Creative Lab Hawaii Music Immersive, and has been an alumni for every following year.  At the immersive, he had the opportunity to co-write for sync alongside incredible artists & producers such as SYML, Katie Herzig, Amy Stroup, Rob Kleiner, Butterfly Boucher, and Marlin "Hookman" Bonds.  The song "Lost Myself", which he co-wrote and played guitar on with Gold Brother and Amy Stroup, was featured on the NBC series "The Village" (episode #1006) and Freeform's series "Good Trouble" (episode #1013).  Sean has also been selected as a finalist in the state of Hawaii for the KHON X Factor Audition Pass Contest, a semi-finalist in the Hard Rock Rising competition, and a semi-finalist in the RAW Awards.  He is currently an artist with Marmoset Music Licensing, a member of The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) and The Hawai'i Academy of Recording Arts (HARA).


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