Steel Trappings

Spotlight ON! Feature

Spotlight ON! Justin Firmeza

October 26, 2022 • Addison ChingEntertainment

This month we shine the Spotlight ON! Justin Firmeza.

Justin Firmeza is a relative newcomer to the Hawaiian steel guitar fraternity, but don't let this fool you. Justin is a very skilled steel guitarist and plays with special technique and feeling that is only his. Some may have seen his prerecorded videos as a performing NextGen steel guitarist on Hawaiian Steel Guitar Showcase broadcasts.

Born, raised, and currently residing in Fremont, California, 19-year old Justin is currently a college student at San Jose State University, in his third year and majoring in Jazz Studies. He is also a professional entertainer.

Justin developed an interest in music at an early age.

"When I think about it now, it feels like I've always loved playing and being a part of the sound—like music is a big part of me, and I'm blessed to be a part of it in return," says Justin.

He continues, "When I was 3, my grandpa came home from one of the garage sales he loved going to and he brought me an old, small digital piano keyboard. He popped some batteries in and laid the keyboard at my feet. I knelt down to the floor and touched the keys out of curiosity. And when I pressed down on the keys, they made a bright sound; That changed my life forever. From then, I learned piano by listening and watching."

"It's a blessing that my musical journey has continued this far, and that's all thanks to the motivation of my community, my parents, and my teachers: Uncle Patrick Landeza and Kumu Alan Akaka," says Justin.

Justin met Patrick Landeza when he entered high school. At that time Landeza was a teacher but is now the school's Coordinator of Auxiliary Programs and Community Outreach.

As a freshman, Justin would hang out in his teacher's office and Landeza would play all different kinds of music on his computer for Justin to listen to, including jazz, R&B, gospel, bluegrass, and Hawaiian music, especially the songs of Uncle Dennis Kamakahi. Landeza always encouraged Justin to listen and be open to all kinds of music.

Justin recalls, "When I graduated from high school in 2020, he gave me a lap steel guitar as a present and introduced me to Kumu Alan Akaka. I learned steel guitar with Kumu over Zoom and I fell more in love with Hawaiian music and the sound of the steel guitar."

Justin currently owns two steel guitars—an 8-string Signature Herb Remington steel, and an 8-string SX sunburst steel with a humbucker pickup installed. Says Justin, "My favorite is the Remington; It has a nice sustain with a full-sounding tone. The SX definitely gets plenty of use though, particularly when I play at my university."

"I think I'd consider myself to be a 'piano and steel guitar player'," remarks Justin. "I do have a little bit of experience on some other instruments like ‘ukulele, electric bass, and different types of percussion."

This video is of Justin playing "Hula Breeze," a presentation in one of the Hawaiian Steel Guitar Showcase livestream broadcasts.

The video can also be seen on YouTube.

This feature is a snapshot of the complete tribute that is posted on the Hawaiian Steel Guitar Showcase website. See the complete tribute here.

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2023 Festivals and Workshops
Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival at Ka Makana Ali‘i
February 18, 2023 – Ka Makana Ali‘i Shopping Center, Kapolei

Kona Steel Guitar Festival
March 23-25, 2023 – Outrigger Kona Resort and Spa, Keauhou, Hawai‘i

Kaua‘i Hawaiian Steel Guitar Symposium *
May 3-4, 2023 – Sheraton Coconut Beach Resort, Kapa‘a, Hawai‘i

Kaua‘i Steel Guitar Festival
May 4-6, 2023 – Sheraton Coconut Beach Resort, Kapa‘a, Hawai‘i
May 7, 2023 – Kukui Grove Center, Lihue, Hawai‘i

Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival at Windward Mall
June 10, 2023 – Windward Mall, Kāne‘ohe

Royal Hawaiian Center Presents Waikīkī Steel Guitar Week
July 10-15, 2023 – Royal Grove Stage, Royal Hawaiian Center, Waikīkī

Royal Hawaiian Center Presents Japan-Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival
July 14, 2023 – Royal Grove Stage, Royal Hawaiian Center, Waikīkī

Royal Hawaiian Center Presents Waikīkī Steel Guitar Festival
July 15, 2023 – Royal Grove Stage, Royal Hawaiian Center, Waikīkī

Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival Keiki Kine at Kāhala Mall
August 19, 2023 – Kahala Mall, Honolulu

2023 Northern California Hawaiian Steel Guitar Symposium *
September 24, 2023 – Odd Fellows Lodge, Cupertino, CA

Maui Steel Guitar Festival
October 14, 2023 – The Shops at Wailea, Wailea, Hawai‘i
11:00 AM - 4:00 PM HST
October 15, 2023 – Queen Ka‘ahumanu Center, Kahului, Hawai‘i
11:00 AM - 4:00 PM HST

2023 Hawaiian Steel Guitar Showcase Livestream Broadcasts

Facebook LiveYouTube
All broadcasts originate from the Hawaiian Steel Guitar Showcase Facebook Page and YouTube Channel. Festival broadcasts may also stream from the respective festival's Facebook Page.


Livestream Steel Guitar Saturday
January 28, 2023 – 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM HST

Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival at Ka Makana Ali‘i
February 18, 2023 – 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM HST

Kona Steel Guitar Festival
March 25, 2023 Ho‘olaule‘a concert – 12:00 Noon - 3 PM and 5 PM - 8 PM HST

Livestream Steel Guitar Saturday - Live from Molokai!
April 22, 2023 (tentative) – 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM HST

Kaua‘i Steel Guitar Festival
May 6, 2023 – Ho‘olaule‘a concert – 12:00 Noon - 3 PM and 5 PM - 8 PM HST

Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival at Windward Mall
June 10, 2023 – 11:30 PM - 4:00 PM HST

Royal Hawaiian Center Presents Japan-Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival
July 14, 2023 Ho‘olaule‘a concert – 4PM - 6:30PM HST


Royal Hawaiian Center Presents Waikīkī Steel Guitar Festival
July 15, 2023 Ho‘olaule‘a concert – 11AM - 2PM and 4:30PM - 6:30PM HST
Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival Keiki Kine at Kahala Mall
August 19, 2023 – 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM HST

Livestream Steel Guitar Saturday
September 9, 2023 – 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM HST

Maui Steel Guitar Festival
October 15, 2023 Ho‘olaule‘a concert – Queen Ka‘ahumanu Center, – 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM HST

Livestream Steel Guitar Saturday
November 19, 2023 – 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM HST


Other Events
HSGA Virtual Festival 4
February 4, 2023 Facebook LiveYouTube

2023 AISGC Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival *
July 27-29, 2023 – Towne Square Community Center, Winchester, IN
Hawaiian Steel Guitar Association (HSGA) 2023 Festival *
September 21-23, 2023 – Odd Fellows Lodge, Cupertino, CA
* Registration Fee Required

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HIMELE is a Hawai‘i non-profit corporation that supports music enrichment and education for people of all ages. Our purpose is to educate, promote, and perpetuate Hawaiian music, Hawaiian culture and Hawaiian musical instruments.