There’s something about Island Contemporary band Kolohe Kai that has attracted tens of thousands of fans throughout the U.S. and the South Pacific; I just couldn’t put my finger on how they became so popular so fast. After releasing their debut album This Is The Life in 2009, this group blew up on Hawaiian radio stations. Live performances were uploaded to the internet and created an even bigger buzz for the band. The Kolohe Kai fan base immediately expanded to the mainland U.S. and countries in the South Pacific like New Zealand and Australia. In less than a year, this band from Kane’ohe, HI went from singing at graduation parties to sold-out venues in front of thousands on the Hawaiian Islands. It wasn’t until I met up with lead singer Roman De Peralta and saw their show for the first time live last weekend that I realized why they became an overnight success.
Kolohe Kai (kolohe=rascal, kai=water) refers to the band’s youthful personality and their love for the ocean. The group first started when the four original members (De Peralta, Jordan Agustin, Noah Cronin, and Jasmine Mo’ikeha) were classmates in high school; they recently graduated in 2010 and are currently freshmen at the University of Hawaii. Manager Brett Ortone, responsible for local groups Rebel Souljahz and Opihi Pickers, describes his first contact with De Peralta saying, “He spoke so maturely and he wasn’t intimidated. Most people who call me and want to audition for me are really nervous. He was upfront and not intimidated at all.” They were signed and This is the Life was released in 2009. What’s impressing about their debut album is that De Peralta wrote all the songs, including hits “Ehu Girl” and “Cool Down.” When asked about the success of their first album, De Peralta said, “It was so exciting . . . especially to hear the first song on the radio, the first time someone [could] remember the words that you wrote. I couldn’t believe people liked the songs I wrote. I never imagined that people would find it enjoyable but I’m so happy that it ended up that way.”
Their second album Love Town was released just two weeks ago and debuted at #2 on iTunes’ U.S. Reggae Albums chart. Again, De Peralta wrote all the songs on this new album, saying, “[Love Town] came from the heart,” says De Peralta. “This one has a little more maturity. I know it’s only been a year but I graduated from high school and a lot of changes happened in my life.”
The buzz created from their first album seems to have shaken up the South Pacific even more, specifically New Zealand. According to Ortone, Kolohe Kai has more fans in New Zealand than in the entire United States. Love Town debuted as one of the Top Ten albums in New Zealand. After numerous requests by faithful fans in New Zealand, Kolohe Kai is heading out to the “Land of the Long White Cloud”; they left for a six show, five day tour this past Friday that starts in Napier and ends in Auckland. De Peralta was especially excited for this trip because it will be his first out of the U.S.
So why is there such a thrill for this band? What makes Kolohe Kai stand out from the rest of the Hawaiian bands out right now? “I guess maybe it’s because we’re so young and we’re coming from a more youthful vibe,” said De Peralta. “When writing songs, I saw that happiness doesn’t come from the material things that we see today. It’s all about surf, family and God. That’s what helps Kolohe Kai have the fun, innocent image that it has today.”
He was right. De Peralta and the rest of his band mates exude this youthful personality onstage that fans just love to feed off of. When performing later that night at The Shack Waikiki, De Peralta’s energy was through the roof! The rest of the band carried that same enthusiasm and vigor. Anyone who sees them live will know and feel their tremendous love for music and for life. You can’t help but smile and dance along. Kolohe Kai’s feel-good, carefree music along with their young and fresh lifestyle are the keys to their recent stardom and is sure to attract more fans and success in the future.
Both of Kolohe Kai’s albums can be purchased through iTunes, ReverbNation, Amazon, and other music websites. Follow them and get the latest updates right now on Facebook.
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Article Written By: Pesi Kava
*Article Photo Courtesy of Reverbnation
*Kolohe Kai Photo Courtesy of Kolohe Kai Tour.
*All videos courtesy of goalohaentertainment