NACF 2018 National Artist Fellow and singer/songwriter Kalani Pe’a calls himself a millennial Hawaiian who loves to write Hawaiian music with his own innovative twist. This approach has earned him both a Grammy and a Na Hoku Hanohano (Hawaii’s Grammy equivalent) with his debut album E Walea, which won the hearts and minds of many fans. Pe’a will be touring the West Coast for the first time starting March 22 and his performances include Portland, Eugene, Sacramento and Santa Cruz. Make sure to check venues and dates here!
Kalani Pe’a started singing at the age of four to help with a stuttering problem, which speech therapy hadn’t been able to mitigate. “Music saved my life”, he says. He’s from Panaewa Hilo area and later graduated from the Hawaiian language immersion program at Ke Kula ‘o Nawahiokalani’opu’u in Puna, both located on Hawai`i Island, or more fondly known as the “big island”, the largest island in the state of Hawai`i.
Kalani is proud of his Native Hawaiian and Filipino heritages, and Hawaiian language is a big part of who he is. “I believe it is my kuleana (responsibility) to share Hawaiian language and chant through my music,” he states. He comes from an ohana (family) of singers and musicians and his mother, who is a big influence in his life, introduced him to music and singing. His father was a bass player, and in addition to his love for Hawaiian music, Pe’a grew up listening to Al Greene, the Temptations, and the Beatles, all of which influenced his musical style.