3-time Na Hoku Hanohano Award Winner for “Alternative Album of the Year” (2019, 2021, 2022)
— Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts
“Innovative singer-songwriter and prolific performer plays pop, rock, and soul.”
— Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Sean Cleland is an award-winning songwriter, guitarist, and vocalist based out of Honolulu, Hawai'i. He is a 3-time Na Hoku Hanohano (Hawaii's state-wide equivalent of the Grammy awarded by the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts) winner for 'Alternative Album of the Year' (2019, 2021, 2022). 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. Beyond his full band studio recordings, he performs as a one-man looping experience, layering all the elements of a song (drums, bass, guitar, keyboards, vocals) in a single performance. He also performs with his full band.
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 newest album is "Chroma" (vol. 2)". This collection of 8 all-original songs takes off where his award-winning 2020 album "Chroma (vol. 1)" left off, adding more musical colors and shades to the mix. Everything from soul and funk inflected grooves, guitar heavy blues-rockers, and intimate acoustic numbers are represented on this record.
The album won the state-wide 2022 Na Hoku Hanohano Award for 'Alternative Album of the Year', as well as the 'General Engineering' award (engineer/producer Imua Garza). Alongside the album, Sean was also a finalist in the 'Male Vocalist of the Year' category in 2022.
The six recent 2021 singles to promote "Chroma (vol. 2)" were “Three (For You)” (minimalist acoustic guitars and piano intertwine on a perpetually moving figure, while harmony vocals shimmer behind a confessional lead vocal), “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.
Sean's 2020 album, "Chroma (vol. 1)", won the state-wide 2021 Na Hoku Hanohano Award for 'Alternative Album of the Year' (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.
Sean's 2018 album, “The Process Of”, won the state-wide 2019 Na Hoku Hanohano Award for 'Alternative Album of the Year' (produced by 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, Amy Stroup, Katie Herzig, Rob Kleiner, Butterfly Boucher, and Marlin "Hookman" Bonds. The song "Where Do We Go From Here?" was featured on The CW series "Kung Fu" (episode #213) and the Apple TV+ series "Life By Ella" (episode #110). The song "Lost Myself" 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, as well as a member of The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) and The Hawai'i Academy of Recording Arts (HARA).