Shark attack survivor fulfills dream to make music

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Sudden Rush has been entertaining people for 20 years with its innovative mix of hip-hop, rap, reggae, and Hawaiian chant.

“Sudden Rush, I remember them since I was a little boy,” Aki said. “It’s a crazy story to be a part of like a legendary Hawaiian band.”

Aki joined Sudden Rush about a year ago. It was a dream come true for the young Aki, whose goal in life was to make music.

“Just trying to make it in music, anything with music is what I want to do,” Aki said.

It was a dream that was tested on March 26, 2002. Aki was only 17 when he was bitten by a shark. Doctors amputated his leg below his knee.

“Sometimes I end up getting mad, you know, at myself — kind of like you know, why I had to go in the water that day,” Aki said.

But that was his only regret. Aki remained focused on his goal often turning down help. He wanted to be known for his music, not as a shark attack victim.

He enrolled in college in Minnesota.

“I went to Minneapolis. I got a double associate degree in audio engineering and production,” Aki said.

Aki returned to the Big Island where he eventually landed with Sudden Rush — fulfilling his dream.

The recent shark attacks have left him with a heavy heart.

“There’s been a bunch of attacks and for sure I think about it,” Aki said.

And he understands what the victims are going through.

“There’s going to be a lot of hard times, there’s going to be a lot of adjustments you’ve got to make. And even now, 10 years later, I’m still not fully adjusted. There’s a lot of things I kind of dwell on and try not to let it overcome me,” Aki said.

It was a life-changing event, but not one that changed his life path. He’s reminded of that every time he performs, knowing there is life after a shark attack.

“For sure, for sure. We just got to keep moving, we just go to keep moving,” Aki said. “We’ve got a whole life. Like, I’m 29 now. I cannot even imagine like 10 years went by and so much has happened for me, both good and bad. And that just makes me who I am today and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

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