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It’s been 20 years since Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s “Facing Future” album made its debut.
Since then, it’s gone on to become the best-selling Hawaiian music album of all time and continues to inspire people around the world.
Many say it was pure magic when Kamakawiwo’ole recorded his first solo album.
“Twenty years later, everybody is still talking about it, they are talking about him,” Mountain Apple Company CEO Jon de Mello said.
The Oahu-born “Hawaiian Superman” would go on to record five more solo albums, some released even after his death in 1997.
But none is more popular than “Facing Future,” which continues to top the charts across the globe on the 20th anniversary of its release.
“It’s gone gold in five or six different countries, platinum in a few. In Germany, two years ago he won the most downloads in the history of Germany,” de Mello said.
“Somewhere Over the Rainbow” continues to expand his reach across cultures.
“New group of people. The song is an evergreen and it’s a song that everyone knows,” de Mello said.
One international megastar fan is bringing new life to one of Iz’s songs.
“She loves the whole album, but she really found this one song,” de Mello said.
Sarah Brightman, the world’s biggest selling soprano — who originated the role of Christine in Phantom of the Opera and at one time was married to composer Andrew Lloyd Weber — just released a new album featuring one of Iz’s greatest hits.
“She sings a duet with Israel Hawaii 78,” de Mello said.
“And Israel carries the song carries the whole song for her,” de Mello said.
Just released in America a few days ago, Brightman’s duet with Bruddah Iz can be found on her new album Dreamchaser. His legacy continues to live on in his music.
“We do have a few songs that are left that haven’t been released yet,” de Mello said.