Meet The Fellows...
Photos by (in order) Jonathan Meas, Derek Edamura, Terrence Jeffrey Santos, April Heding
Daniel Damian Pak
“All youth deserve access to the arts,” says Daniel, co-founder of Totem Star. “They deserve a safe place to take risks and explore their creative potential.”
Music production and live performance are the hooks that Daniel uses to engage youth and offer life skills. Through Totem Star, which uses the model of a record label, kids create and perform music, produce public events, and contribute to the cultural richness of their communities as working artists, organizers, and entrepreneurs.
He’s also a mentor teaching artist for Arts Corps and Rock School, and believes firmly in show, don’t tell. “As teaching artists, we teach and empower kids by modeling this: It's okay to be creative. It's okay to express yourself. It's okay to make mistakes. It's okay to take risks.”
Born and raised on O’ahu, Daniel identifies as Korean and Japanese American. Raised in a multicultural environment, he is comfortable in many different communities. “Every time I step into a classroom, I feel as if I am surrounded by my family. We have to treat each other like our own brothers and sisters and look out for everyone’s best interests.”
Now completely dedicated to producing music (with the youth in his community, and his band Kore Ionz), at one time he found himself at a fork in the road: should he use his metallurgical engineering degree to be a nuclear engineer? or work with kids and music? No contest, he says. “A community is only as strong as those who need the most help.”
reggae, coffee and cream, pumpkin flax granola
Daniel is Reading:
How Music Works by David Byrne
Daniel is Listening to:
Daniel is Watching:
"My sons Jahyoo and Asa grow, and grow, and grow..."