Q&A with Leihoku, Jingle Jam performer, CSU alumna

Hunter Goddard

Leihoku, a CSU theatre alumna who will be performing at tonight’s 99.9 The Point Jingle Jam in the Budweiser Events Center alongside the likes of Gavin DeGraw, Echosmith, Jacquie Lee and Lindsey Stirling, is visiting her alma mater today before the concert.

After an interview with 90.5 KCSU FM Fort Collins, Leihoku sat down for a talk with the Collegian earlier this morning.


CSU alumna Leihoku returned to campus Thursday before performing at Jingle Jam (Photo credt: Eliott Foust)
CSU alumna Leihoku returned to campus Thursday before performing at Jingle Jam (Photo credt: Eliott Foust)

Q: After graduation, you moved to Hawaii for a few months and then lived in Los Angeles for three years. Is this your first time being back in Fort Collins?

A: I’ve been back a few times to visit my grandparents who live here as well as a few friends. I know; it’s weird that I have friends who still go here.

Q: What’s it like returning to CSU as a celebrity of sorts?

A: It feels great. It’s crazy because everything is new here. I barely recognized the Lory Student Center.

Q: Do you have any advice for current students and fellow graduates?

A: Follow your passion, especially when it’s a passion that’s very difficult to make a living on.

Q: What do you have to say to musicians and other performing artists?

A: I learned a lot of the technical aspects of performance design from the theatre department — sound design, lighting design, scenic painting — so I can appreciate it more. Radio’s what really got me out and about doing shows like the Budweiser Center with Gavin.

It’s hard work. An interviewer asked me once who doesn’t deserve to be on the radio, but I think everybody does. Radio is a small, tight-knit group. If you go in and you’re good at what you do, but your personality blows, they won’t play your stuff, they won’t want you representing them.

Where I really got my start was playing in coffee shops. Most artists these days put their music up on the Internet and that’s how they get noticed, but just because you produce something doesn’t mean people are going to listen to it.


I started in the hardest place to get started — Los Angeles — and I’m working my way outwards so that they’ll begin to take notice.

Q: What have you got planned for the rest of today now that you’re back in town?

A: I’m playing an acoustic set at Ramskeller, and then I have an interview at 4 with Fox News. After that, it’s sound check, and then show time.

Collegian A&E Writer Hunter Goddard can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @hunter_gaga.