The WHATITDO caught up with Urban Island music producers Kalani Hafoka and Taniela Otuafi, otherwise known as K & Nela Music. The history and experience between these two is enough to get them to take the music industry by storm. BOOM!
Taniela Otuafi, a.k.a “Nela” has been on the Urban Island tip for almost fifteen years. Nela is a founding member and really the mastermind behind the 90’s group Pau Hana, who came out of San Diego, CA. Pau Hana was the group that brought Poly favorites like “Island Girls”, “Search Your Soul” and “Wake Up My Darling.” They blazed through the West Coast, Hawaii, New Zealand and Australia making Pau Hana the first taste of real Urban Island music. Nela deserves major credit for doing what he did to the Urban Island music game. He took an old school bass line and an 808 kick drum, threw it under an ukulele with a Cali feel and gave birth to Urban Island magic. If you didn’t know, now you do! Nela gives props and respect to the Bay Area Reggae band, Missioniriez, and explains that his inspiration came from them. He claims that what Missioniriez did back in the early 90’s was before their time, and that they began a fusion of Reggae and Island music that transformed the game.
Kalani Hafoka a.k.a “K” has one of the most unique voices in the movement. His soulful vibe can easily be compared to the R&B likes of Maxwell and Musiq Soulchild with a hint of Old School. His contribution to the team has really been vital in creating a clean sound that depicts his level of talent in vocal arrangements, production and composition for their artists.
We have a good shot here in mainland America because we have the best of both worlds. We have our deep rooted culture and the Urban experience…
Between K and Nela, Nela is the Island side and Kalani is the Soul side. Their extraordinary talent is not limited to producing. They both sing, play multiple instruments and are very knowledgeable in the overall music industry. The vision behind the duo is to provide music that is respectful and can be heard in the club, at home with the kids, and bumpin’ in the ride while cruisin’. They want to take the music they have been working on for the last ten years and “give others the opportunity to share it.”
The two hooked up with good friend and musician, David Taumoepeau, and collectively created the group Mana Poly All-Stars (MPA) in 1999, in which K and Nela double as producers and band members. MPA has performed all over the U.S, released two albums, made television appearances, and performed with some of the biggest names in Reggae music. Their huge fan base and “feel good” music has sustained them for over ten years and still does to this very day. BOOM! Each talented member of MPA has had their hand in assisting the evolution of other Urban Island artists and so the transition to produce and do more background work was inevitable. Currently, K and Nela are producing music for artists including Teki, Na Drua, Chong Nee of New Zealand and other upcoming artists.
When talking to K and Nela about the success of Urban Island music, they shared that there is so much talent and great things happening across the board for us that “mainstream cannot ignore it!” Nela says, “We have a good shot here in mainland America because we have the best of both worlds. We have our deep rooted culture and the Urban experience.” They believe that the Urban Island movement is going to explode and all Pacific Island artists who worked hard in the game will get their piece of the pie.
Truly, K & Nela Music is an example of what hard work, determination, and big dreams can do. These gentlemen are pioneers in the Urban Island movement and will also be a part of the evolution of this genre when it surfaces to the mainstream light. Ultimately, they hope their hard work and big dreams will result in winning a Grammy. It’s not for the award itself but for the chance to show their fathers and grandfathers that their sacrifice in coming to America was not in vain. That’s WHATITDO!
Any and all upcoming music artists interested in being represented and produced by K & Nela Music can contact them at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Article Written By: RAEN
*Photos of Kalani Hafoka and Nela Otuafi Courtesy of Nela Otuafi
*Photo of David Taumeopeau Courtesy of David Taumoepeau
*YouTube video Pau Hana “Island Girls” by GrandMasterGuess
*YouTube video Pau Hana “Search Your Soul” by jscanlas
*YouTube video Pau Hana “Wake Up My Darling” by MUS1CiLiKE
*YouTube video “Nani” by GrandMasterGuess
*YouTube video TEKI “Do Yuh Thang” by pulokaproductions
*YouTube video Na Drua “Be Your Man” by ungagirl
*YouTube video Chong Nee “You Got My Heart” by islandbeats.com