Kalani is a singer of power, sensitivity, and charisma, one of the most promising talents in a new generation of Hawaiian musicians. He has won 2 Grammy Awards for Best Regional Roots album to date, one for each of his two CDs releases, the only Hawaiian artist to win in this category. His first CD also won him a 2017 Na Hoku Hanohano Award (Hawai‘i’s “Grammy”), making Hawaiian music history as the only album to win both a Grammy and Na Hoku. This year, he hit another first - he made his debut appearance at the prestigious Merrie Monarch hula competition, singing two of his original songs for Hula Halau ‘O Kamuela that went on to take home the top honor at the competition.
Kalani has been praised for Hawaiian language fluency, songwriting skills, and commitment to his Hawaiian roots, as well as a musical range runs from traditional chant to Hawaiian classics to new songs to R&B and a charming and dynamic presence on-stage. He began singing at age 4 to address a stutter as a child, and his natural talent was subsequently recognized in singing competitions from childhood to college years, and has brought him to the forefront of Hawaiian music today.
"THE FOUNDATION of Hawaiian cultural values and practices start from home. We must become the pouhana (pillar) for our families and the communities we serve. We must seek courage and thrive together by becoming the kumu waiwai (primary and profound resources) for our people. That is essential. We can only thrive this way. But first, the Hawaiian language is the foundation to everything thinking and being Hawaiian," says Kalani Pe'a, Singer/Songwriter, Lyrical Tenor, Hawaiian Language Practitioner, Visual Artist and Educator.
Two-Time Grammy® Award Winner and Nā Hōkū Hanohano Winner has released his sophomore album "No 'Ane'i" (We Belong Here) in 2018. In metaphoric meaning, Pe'a is describing and defining his Hawaiian music compositions with the intention of explaining to the listeners the values of maintaining our Hawaiian identity, our language and arts and building and retaining a strong foundation of Hawaiian cultural values and practices. Pe'a will take us on a journey through his life on his sophomore album with 8 Hawaiian original compositions and 4 classics with his renditions purely in Hawaiian, Contemporary and Soul.
On February 11th, 2018 Kalani Pe'a received his second Grammy® Award for "No 'Ane'i." Pe'a won in the "Best Regional Roots Music Album" category. Pe'a also had the honor to present 10 Awards at the 2019 GRAMMY® Premiere Ceremony Awards Show. He handed out a total of 10 Awards including 3 GRAMMYs to Brandi Carlile.
Pe’a’s debut album was released in 2016. "E Walea" quickly hit the top of the iTunes and Billboard charts. On February 12th 2017 Kalani Pe'a's debut album "E Walea" won the Grammy® Award for "Best Regional Roots Music Album" and made history by being the first Hawaiian Recording Artist to ever win in the category. On May 20th 2017 Kalani Pe'a's debut album "E Walea" received the Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award (Hawai’i's version of the Grammys) for "Contemporary Album Of The Year". Pe'a then made history by being the FIRST Hawai’i Recording Artist to ever win a Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award & Grammy Award for the same album.
Pe'a was honored fall of 2019 with the prestigious distinguished alumni award by his former college Colorado Mesa University.
Kalani received the 2019 Artist in Business Leadership Fellowship from First Peoples Fund.
It started at age four when Kalani Peʻa was diagnosed with a speech impediment according to his mother Pua Leonard who lives in Hilo. “I introduced my son to singing and music helped him pronounce his words. Speech therapy in preschool didn’t work for him,” Leonard said. “He started with his first song at age four singing I Feel My Savior’s Love.” Leonard and Peʻa’s father Arthur (Ata) Peʻa who comes from a musical family encouraged Kalani to take vocal lessons, choir, and entered him in numerous talent and karaoke competitions. Peʻa at age 8 won numerous talent competitions statewide. At age 18 he won Brown Bags to Stardom and won first place in the National Association Teacher’s of Singing Competition in Colorado/Wyoming chapter, placing first in the men’s category in classical and musical divisions. Peʻa won that competition while he attended Colorado Mesa University (Mesa State College) from 2001-2007 in Grand Junction, Colo. Peʻa received his bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications with an emphasis in public relations/news editorial and has background in early childhood education. Pe'a also worked on his master's degree focusing on early childhood education.
Peʻa is a 2001 graduate of Ke Kula ‘o Nāwahīokalaniʻōpuʻu, the Hawaiian Language School in Keaʻau, Puna, HI. Peʻa illustrated and published 5 Hawaiian language children stories from Hale Kuamoʻo at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo. Peʻa wears multiple hats and uses his proficiencies as a songwriter/music composer, singing anything from classical, musical, various ballads, R&B, soul and ultimately Hawaiian music. Peʻa is proficient in publishing news and magazine articles. He worked for two years as an assignment editor at KJCT News 8, an ABC affiliate in Grand Junction. Peʻa speaks Hawaiian for 28 years, starting Hawaiian immersion in third grade, he has taught Hawaiian culture with a science focus and created curriculum for almost 10 years. He was a preschool teacher at Kamehameha Preschools in Kona on the Big Island of Hawai'i for 4 years. He recently departed his position as a Hawaiian resource coordinator at Kamehameha Schools- Kealakūlia on Maui to pursue his music full-time.
Pe’a was heavily involved in musicals and acting productions while being part of various popular Play Bills at Colorado Mesa University. He acted in Tony Award Winning musicals like George M, Return to the Forbidden Planet, Amahl & the Night Visitors and To Kill a Mockingbird. Kalani was affiliated with the Chamber and Concert choirs during his first three years in college. As a Freshman, Kalani took vocal lessons by Dr. Jack Delmore at Colorado Mesa University learning arias from Spanish tunes to Ball Hai and Les Miserable. In 2001, Kalani was encouraged by the faculty that he should enter in the National Association Teacherʻs of Singing Competition for the Colorado/Wyoming Chapter. Pe’a was able to persuade the judges like many of them who studied under Luciano Pavarotti, was engaged by Kalaniʻs classical performance in Spanish.
On Feb. 18, 2017, the Council of the County of Hawai’i congratulated Kalani Pe’a with a proclamation. The council said, "Your Grammy award inspires members of the next generation to work hard, dream big, and express love and joy in all that they do. By sharing your gift with others, you will ensure the perpetuation of ‘Ōlelo Hawai’i.” On the same date, Mayor Harry Kim of County of Hawai’i awarded Kalani with a Proclamation. Kim said, “Pe’a’s victory is to further bring awareness and appreciation of Hawaiian language and culture far beyond our Hawaiian islands.” On Oct. 8, 2017, Pe’a was given a Commendation by Alan M. Arakawa, Mayor, County of Maui. “You are to be commended for your hard work and dedication in perpetuating the Hawaiian culture through your musical artistry. You have brought honor to the State of Hawai’i, the County of Maui and our entire community,” Arakawa said. The Senate and legislators at the State Capitol in Honolulu also acknowledged Kalani with a resolution establishing Feb. 18, 2017 as “Kalani Pe’a Day.” This "Kalani Peʻa Day" was given to Pe’a during his homecoming concert at his alma mater at Ke Kula ʻO Nāwahīokalaniʻōpuʻu- The Hawaiian Language Laboratory School in Keaʻau, Hawaiʻi. Another resolution was created to honor Pe’a for this achievement by David Ige, governor of Hawai’i and the Maui County for embarking a historical moment for the Hawaiian music industry and music worldwide.
Kalani Pe’a’s debut album and Grammy win has given him opportunities to perform around the world in the first two years of his career. He has performed at sold out shows in Hawai’i, Japan, and the West Coast of USA and immediately gave himself an international recognition for his wide vocal range being a Tenor, his incredible stage presence and concert productions.
Hawaiian Airlines Hana Hou Magazine said, “For this acceptance speech he spoke completely in Hawaiian acknowledging his people, his lāhui Hawai’i. He was effusive in his praise of the culture and in encouraging Hawaiians to believe that they can be whatever they want to be.” According to Hawai’i Magazine, “Kalani Pe’a is in a category virtually all his own. He has the pipes and energetic stage presence of Broadway favorite, Bette Midler.”
According to Honolulu Magazine, Kalani said, “From a Hawaiian perspective, we don’t believe in just Kūlia I ka Nu’u, striving for the highest mountain and you get to the top and that’s the end. We continue to soar and continue to climb. In Hawaiian, we call it ‘akahi a ho’omaka, the beginning of every journey. We don’t believe there’s a start and finish line, like a marathon. This is just the start for me, even though I’ve been singing for nearly 30 years.”
Kalani has sold out concerts from Hilo, Hawai’i to Maui, from Kaua’i to Los Angeles, from Los Angeles to Grand Junction, Colorado, from Colorado to Tokyo, Japan, from Yokohama to Hiroshima, from Hiroshima to Kamakura and from Japan back to Waimea on the Big Island.
'Akahi a ho'omaka, this is the start.
AWARDS & ACCOLADES
2016 Grammy® Award Nomination - Best Regional Roots Music Album "E Walea"
2017 Grammy® Award - Best Regional Roots Music Album "E Walea"
2017 Na Hoku Hanohano Award - Contemporary Album Of The Year "E Walea"
2018 Grammy® Award Nomination - Best Regional Roots Music Album "No 'Ane'i"
2019 Grammy® Award - Best Regional Roots Music Album "No 'Ane'i"