Class of 1985
By Keshia Maximo
Barett Otani is a professional musician and founder of the band, Vizion 20/20. He also does video and audio production as the producer for the popular television show, “Living in Paradise,” under his company, Sumo Sound. He says working with “Uncle” Derek Kurisu requires flexibility and creativity because the entire 40 segments of the TV show are unscripted. After shooting the scenes, he spends hours editing each monthly show. Besides music and video, Barett and his wife, Linda, also own Blue Coast Distributors, a chilled and frozen food import business.
For Barett, music is his passion and hobby. He plays keyboards, synthesizer and software music sequencers and sound samplers for Vizion 20/20, which has a website at: www.myspace.com/vizion2020. The group is known as a cover band, which means that they play popular songs that everyone knows, including a lot of oldies. They play at hotel conventions, local parties, and clubs. This six-member group includes Angie Warren and Gina Oda, vocals; Craig Mori, lead guitar; Wade Kobayashi, vocals, guitar; Curtis Canario, drums; and Barett on keyboards and vocals. Their name was originally Vision 20/20, but because an eye-doctor already had that name, they changed the “s” to a “z.” The funny thing is that all six members have bad eyesight and wear glasses or contact lenses. The concept of the group name was based biblically on the ultimate vision, Jesus Christ and God’s love. Barett is also the praise team leader at Kaumana Drive Baptist Church.
In 1986, Barett was part of a popular band called Jadessence, which was known for their ballads. They were number one on KBIG’s top nine at nine for two months. The band played at every high school on the Island as part of a “Don’t Do Drugs and Stay in School,” message and also at the Ala Moana Center stage.
Barett started piano lessons as a young boy because his mother, a schoolteacher and avid piano player said, “If you want to play baseball, you better take piano lessons.” So, he learned piano from Gloria Mendoza and George Camarillo, Jr. While at Waiakea High, he played trombone under the direction of band director, Mr. Howard Oshiro. He became interested in playing the synthesizer while a member of the Vulcan Jazz Ensemble at UH Hilo. He heard Aaron Nelson playing the synthesizer and was amazed at how it replicated the sounds of all the instruments in the band. Soon, the synthesizer became his main instrument.
While at Waiakea High, he remembers the quad as the place where his music group performed and made fools out of themselves. Back then, there was no gym and hardly any covered walkways, but there were outstanding teachers who definitely made a difference in his life. Barett’s father, Melvyn Otani, was the school’s Athletic Director and is now a member of the Warrior Wall of Fame.