A new group of Kings is rising in the Poly Rock world and their sound is definitely not as common as their name! While JR King, Taumata Grey, Ivan Kirimaua, Jerome Taito and Erik Przytulski have been in the music game since 2002 as “Natusol”, they have recently emerged from covering the greats to becoming one of them! With new management (Hi Rise Entertainment Group), direction, and identity, Common Kings is creating a sound of their own in a regally elegant way which, like their hit song “Alcoholic” says, has everyone buzzin!
Lead Singer, JR, is half Hawaiian and half Samoan, the youngest of 5 children, and the R&B guy of the group. Taumata, guitar, is Samoan, raised in Hawaii, the son of a singer/song writer – Jerome Grey, and full of both music and energy. Ivan, bass, is Fiji born but more likely to be found groovin’ to the smooth sounds of Latin Jazz or relaxing to classical than FOBin’ out to “Masese” and is a musician in every sense of the word playing the piano, trumpet, guitar, and now base. Jerome, drums, is Tongan originally from Inglewood, but resides in the I.E. and brings the rock ‘n roll to the group. He’s a big 311 fan and knows his way around a drumline too. And Erik, keyboard, is the token “Poly-at-heart” member of Korean and Polish decent.
Even though their ancestries and backgrounds are as diverse as their musical tastes, the guys of Common Kings brilliantly blend their talents in a very inspiring way. Taumata says, “Usually when you have a Polynesian band they’re all just Samoan or all just Tongan…and when you think Polynesian you think Reggae, but we never had that Reggae background. We were always influenced by different genres and the guys are so eclectic. When you fuse that together you’ve got Common Kings and that’s what’s great about it – it’s something unique.”
Through music, Common Kings is able to find unity in diversity. They are not only at the forefront of the movement to unite Pacific Islanders through art but also living proof that differences can bring strength. Jerome says, “We were able to bring basically all the Polynesian islands together and have each of us represent the different islands…We just got together, started jamming together, found out we were from the different islands and were like we can make this work…and I’m glad we made it work because now it’s all about being one as a group, as a band, and being one as a people.”
JR says, “We’re all raised differently, but when we’re together it just makes sense, we’re all Kings in our own way.”
The kings have been together for a while, but Ivan says, “With Natusol there wasn’t really direction other than we liked playing music and having fun and hanging out. Common Kings was kind of like a rebirth of focus in a specific direction…and right now that direction is crafting songs.” Their core writing group, that Taumata lightheartedly refers to as “Track Stars”, along with the aid of talented friends like Bo Napoleon and Dru James have been able to organically create songs like “Alcoholic”, “Fly”, “Fall in Love”, “She’s a Professional”, and “Wade in Your Water” that people are already singing-along to months before Common Kings has even dropped their first album. Ivan says, “Mata has that flair when he writes music. He picks chord progressions that some of us wouldn’t necessarily think of, but it works in a crazy way or he’s able to take things that we come up with and flip it” and “JR just has an amazing God-given voice and the ability to come up with unique melodies that remind people of something, but don’t sound like anything that they’ve heard before.”
The chemistry of the band, fusion of sounds, and energy of their performances make watching a Common Kings show a royal occasion! JR says “the best thing about being a performer is just having fun and just doing you.” And when the Kings are in the house fun is an understatement! Their live performances can be described in one word: Whatitdo!
Common Kings is expected to drop their first album this fall, but in the most recent future will be touring around with Island Music sensation, Anuhea. Make sure you follow them on both Twitter and Facebook for all of their latest news and events.
-Article Written By: G_Writer
*Photos and YouTube video courtesy of Common Kings