In 2010, a recording studio in South Seattle released a compilation created by an unlikely group of new artists: youth newly-released from juvenile detention. The album was the result of a six week workshop during which the kids were encouraged to make sense of what was happening to them on the streets, in the studio.

What was intended to be a one-off project slowly grew into a non-profit organization. Totem Star is now a community of young artists learning dedication, courage, perseverance, and confidence through crafting and performing music.




Daniel Pak

Born and raised on the island of O`ahu, Daniel Pak is the singer, songwriter, and producer of Seattle reggae band Kore Ionz. In 2006, Pak met Thaddeus Turner while producing youth bands at a summer music camp, and in 2010 they co-founded Totem Star to provide opportunities for young people to record and perform music. Pak serves as Advisor to the Board of Governors for the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the Grammys.

Thaddeus Turner

With over 20 years of touring experience under his belt, Seattle native Thaddeus Turner is no stranger to the road. Currently music director for the Grammy award-winning Digible Planets, Turner also performs as Thaddillac, combining the lyricism of soul with the power of rock. As lead guitarist of Maktub and having toured with the likes of Dave Matthews, India Arie, and Stone Gossard, Turner has received glowing praise from Rolling Stone, NPR, and The Seattle Times. In 2010 he co-founded Totem Star with Daniel Pak. 

Paul Laughlin
Director of Operations

Paul was born and raised in San Francisco and began DJ-ing at age 13. Over the last two decades, he has been a member of many DJ crews (The Come Up, Rhythm Remedy Productions, Sound Generation, and Mainstream) and has DJ'ed for hundreds of events ranging from 20 person coffee tastings to 800 person dance parties to 3000 person university festivals.

Paul is passionate about helping to grow the organization, ensuring young voices are heard.