IPA Performance Series: Ron Artis II & Thunderstorm Artis

Ron Artis II and his younger brother Thunderstorm, sons of the well-known musician and muralist Ron Artis, amazed Island Pacific Academy students with their vocal and musical talents as honored guests in the IPA Performance Series. Their style includes many genres like blues, soul, rock, jazz, and rap all of which are represented in their newly released CD titled What Music Means to Me.

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Ron Artis II and Thunderstorm Artis visited Island Pacific Academy as part of the IPA Performance Series.

Ron, the oldest of 11 children in the Artis family, says that music was always a part of growing up in their Haleiwa home so it is no surprise that he is a gifted musician, singer and songwriter. “My mom always knew where I was in the house. The rest of my brothers and sisters would be doing chores but she’d hear the piano and know that I was playing on it and not doing chores,” admits Artis II.

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Artis II posted this image on his instagram page while composing new music showing that he still spends time playing the piano nearly every single day.

Twenty-nine and a new father himself, Artis II shared a mature view of life with IPA students during the intimate session.  “Life is always changing so you really need to take time to take a breath.”  Ron Artis, Sr., passed away in 2010 and so it was especially poignant to hear this advice from his namesake, Artis II, “You never know when you will see someone again or if you will ever see them again. Treat every moment in life as the precious moment that it really is.”

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Songs by Ron Artis II are about relationships with family and friends, people with “hearts of gold.” (Photo from www.ronartisII.com)

These sentiments are brilliantly showcased in original compositions like “What Music Means to Me,” “Getting Older,” and “A Family Like Mine” which the brothers performed live in the session.

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“What Music Means to Me” CD cover (Photo from www.ronartisII.com)

Artis II says he has had an intense love of music since he was born. “My mother sings, my dad played numerous instruments. They gave us a lot of guidance growing up. Before I knew that music was a choice (as a career), I loved it,” he told the students.

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Thunderstorm Artis sits on and plays a cajon box (percussion) accompanying his brother, Ron Artis II.

During most of the performance, Thunderstorm sat perched on a hollow wooden box known as a Cajon box, a percussion instrument that can literally be an entire drum kit in a box in the hands of a skilled player.  

Going by Thunder, for short, this Artis son is the seventh of the eleven siblings. “Music has always been around me. Through good time, hard times, it’s always been there. I’m not really a talkative guy so music lets me share. It’s part of my heart and soul,” he said.

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Ron Artis II and his brother Thunderstorm Artis in Haleiwa. (Photo from www.ronartisII.com)

The brothers had advice for the student audience about how to keep music in their lives as they grow older.  “We learned to walk because we did it and do it every day,” said Artis II.  “Music is the same thing. You need to stay inside it and pick it up every day. Remember what you first loved about music and play for people who enjoy listening to you play. The more time you put in with your instrument, the more it becomes a part of you,” he explained.

“While you’re here at school, instruments and music are all around you.  As you get older, it becomes more difficult. And as you get older you look at things differently.  Keep music fun and keep joy in your life,” advised Artis II.

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The Artis brothers’ sound is incredibly full and rich with just two instruments: a cajon box and guitar.  

Ron Artis II and Thunderstorm will be giving a free performance at the Kroc Center in Kapolei on Friday, November 13, at 7:00pm.  For more information and their complete schedule, click here.