Hawaii native Jack Johnson started his career as a professional surfer until a serious accident left him reconsidering his intended career path. Choosing instead to attend school at the University of California Santa Barbara, Johnson studied cinematography while teaching himself the guitar in his spare time. After graduating, he directed a surf documentary with some friends, utilizing many of his original songs in the soundtrack. This grabbed the attention not only of the surf world, but also the producer known for launching Ben Harper's career J.P. Plunier. With Plunier's help, Johnson released his 2001 debut album, Brushfire Fairytales, and the LP, full of breezy surf bum acoustic ditties, helped win him mainstream success.