“I was bowled over the first time hearing the Artis brothers! Apart from their exemplary musicianship, the duo’s voices are silky smooth, their lyrics are uplifting, and they have a gift for composing catchy, soulful songs that are instantly memorable.” Jon Woodhouse, -The Maui News
Over the past year, brothers Ron Artis II and Thunderstorm have skyrocketed into the upper ranks of the Hawaii music scene and are now making waves nationally including earning high praise from everyone ranging from Booker T. Jones to Jack Johnson to John Cruz and the team at Communion Music. With heavenly harmonies, standout musicianship and a treasure trove of moving, original songs, the Artis brothers prove that roots music is alive and well in contemporary culture.
Both Ron and Thunder were immersed in music growing up - literally with instruments in their hands since the time they could walk. Their late father, Ron Artis, an accomplished musician who performed with Michael Jackson, Van Halen, Stevie Wonder and Rose Royce, moved the family from Los Angeles to Oahu in the 1990’s - declaring that music didn't need the industry to be powerful. Eventually settling in Haleiwa, the family (Ron Artis, wife Victoria, sons Ron Artis II and Thunderstorm and nine additional children) became well known for musical performances at “Resurrection City,” the family’s home. With the children homeschooled, multiple members of the family performed together for the public daily. Through these experiences, Ron and Thunder developed not only their musical foundation but also their spiritual and personal touchstones.
The daily shows were not casual performances, but rather music rehearsals and personal tests under the strict scrutiny of Ron's father and mother (a classically trained vocalist) - both devout spiritual practitioners. A common 'assignment' for the Artis siblings was writing a song on the spot with the entire family band in tow. Their father would ask a guest where she was from and what moved her, and one of the Artis brothers and sisters would be required to write a song about the person right then and there with the whole family band. Ron and Thunder carry on this tradition, often writing songs live on-stage during performances.
A central moment in the lives of both Ron and Thunder was their father asking them each (separately) why they played music. That question was asked of Ron and Thunder repeatedly over time until each of them shared an answer from the heart. Fittingly, the name of Ron and Thunder's first studio album is: "What Music Means to Me." For Ron, an early driving force came from recognizing that music gave him an opportunity to be a positive in people's lives, an uplifting source of energy. Being such an influence is the central focus of both Ron and Thunder.
At a Ron and Thunderstorm performance, expect to hear influences from a wide range of genres - from rock, blues, jazz, R&B, rap and soul to the complete other side of the world including classical and flamenco. Connecting it all is a purity - a commitment to music always being an expression of one’s self rather than a means to fame or fortune. As Ron shares: “Music is meant to be lived, as life is meant to be lived.”