Philip Kunia Pahinui was a slack-key guitarist and singer of Hawaiian music. Gabby was born Philip Kunia Kahahawaii Jr. and later hānai into the Pahinui family as Philip Kunia Pahinui and raised in the Kaka'ako area of Honolulu in the 1920s. It was impoverished at the time, very much resembling a shanty-town with small cluttered buildings and tin roofs falling apart. He spent his childhood supporting his family by selling newspapers and shining shoes. He dropped out of school after 5th grade at Pohukaina School.