Singer/Songwriter, Grammy®-Winner 2017
In 2017 Kalani Pe'a was honored by the Hawai‘i State House of Representatives with an official proclamation: “It is vital that Native Hawaiian culture and the arts be perpetuated for future generations: Kalani Pe’a is a tourchbearer and we recognize his accolades, accomplishments, and continued work on behalf of Native Hawaiians.
Kalani Peʻa sings everything from classical, musical, ballads, R&B, soul and of course Hawaiian music, displaying his wide-ranging proficiencies as a songwriter/music composer. It started at age four when Peʻa was diagnosed with a speech impediment. According to his mother Pua Leonard, “I introduced my son to singing and music helped him pronounce his words. Speech therapy in preschool didn’t work for him.” Leonard and Peʻa’s father Arthur (Ata) Peʻa, who comes from a musical family, encouraged Kalani to take vocal lessons and choir, and entered him in talent and karaoke competitions. By the time he was 8 years old, Peʻa was winning numerous talent competitions statewide.
At age 18 he won Brown Bags to Stardom, and won first place in the National Association Teachers of Singing Competition in Colorado/Wyoming chapter, placing 1st in the men’s category in classical and musical divisions. Peʻa won that competition while attending Colorado Mesa University (Mesa State College) in Grand Junction, where he received his bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications with an emphasis in public relations/news editorial and has background in early childhood education. “From speech therapy to being a college graduate in communications,” noted Peʻa’s father with humor, “Kalani can’t stop talking and singing”.
In the process of planning his debut album, Peʻa contacted Dave Tucciarone, a 13-time Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award-Winning Engineer and Producer based in Honolulu. “I had to travel every weekend from Maui to meet Dave for seven months, collaborate with my musicians, and just sing my heart out,” Peʻa said of creating his first CD. The hard work paid off with the 2017 Grammy® win, followed by his first Na Hoku Award. Raves award-winning vocalist Darlene Ahuna, “His voice will take you to the heavens. His passion for music will have you rockin’ in your seat.“
Peʻa has spoken Hawaiian for over 25 years, starting Hawaiian immersion in third grade. A 2001 graduate of Ke Kula ‘o Nāwahīokalaniʻōpuʻu, the Hawaiian Language School in Keaʻau, Puna, Peʻa has illustrated and published five Hawaiian language children’s stories from Hale Kuamoʻo while at the University of Hawaiʻi-Hilo. Pe'a also worked on his master's degree focusing on early childhood education, which led to teaching at Kamehameha Preschools in Kona, followed by 8 years as a Hawaiian resource coordinator for at Kamehameha Schools on Maui, teaching Hawaiian culture with a science focus and creating curriculum. His Grammy and Na Hoku wins have now given him the opportunity to focus on his music full-time.
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