Israel "Bruddah Iz" Kamakawiwoʻole (May 20, 1959 – June 26, 1997)lived in Hawaiʻi until his death at the age of 38. He became famous outside Hawaiʻi when his album Facing Future was released in 1993 with his medley of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and "What a Wonderful World", which has been featured in several films, television programs, and television commercials.
On 21 July 2006 it was announced on BBC Radio 1 that the song would be released as a single.
Facing Future (1993) debuted at #25 on Billboard Magazine's Top Pop Catalogue chart. Alone In IZ World (2001) debuted at #1 on Billboard's World Chart and #135 on Billboard's Top 200, #13 on the Top Independent Albums Chart, and #15 on the Top Internet Album Sales chart .
Israel Kaʻanoʻi Kamakawiwoʻole was born on the island of Oʻahu at Kuakini Hospital to Henry Kaleialoha Naniwa and Evangeline Leinani Kamakawiwoʻole. He was raised in the community of Kaimuki on the outskirts of Waikīkī, where his parents had met and married. He began playing music with his older brother Skippy at the age of 11, being privy to the music of the great Hawaiian entertainers of the time such as the likes of Peter Moon, Palani Vaughn, and Don Ho, who frequented the establishment where Iz's parents worked.
In his early teens, his family moved to Mākaha. There, he met Louis "Moon" Kauakahi, Sam Gray, and Jerome Koko. Together with his brother Skippy they formed the Mākaha Sons of Niʻihau. From 1976 throughout the 1980s, the Hawaiian contemporary band gained in popularity as they toured Hawaiʻi and the continental United States and released 10 successful albums.
In 1982, Iz's brother Skippy Kamakawiwoʻole died of a heart attack. In that same year, Iz married his childhood sweetheart Marlene and soon after had a daughter who they named Ceslieanne "Wehi."
In 1990, Iz released his first solo album Kaʻanoʻi, which won him awards for Contemporary Album of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year from the Hawaiʻi Academy of Recording Arts (HARA). Facing Future was released in 1993. Considered his "best" album by many, it featured his most popular song, the medley "Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World", along with "Hawaiʻi 78", "White Sandy Beach of Hawaiʻi", "Maui Hawaiian Sup'pa Man", and "Kaulana Kawaihae". In 1994, Iz was voted favorite entertainer of the year by HARA.
ʻE Ala ʻE (1995) featured the political title song "ʻE Ala ʻE" and "Kaleohano", and In Dis Life (1996) featured "In This Life" and "Starting All Over Again".
As his career progressed, Iz was known for promoting Hawaiian rights and Hawaiian independence, both through his music (whose lyrics often stated the case for independence directly) and through his life.
In 1997, Iz was again honored by the Hawaiʻi Academy of Recording Arts at the Annual Nā Hōkū Hanohano awards for Male Vocalist of the Year, Favorite Entertainer of the Year, Album of the Year, and Island Contemporary Album of the Year. He watched the awards ceremony from a hospital room. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.