LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Maui man got to play onstage before a sold out crowd in Los Angeles with reggae star Matisyahu, who found him singing one of his songs in a coffee shop in Paia.
Kekoa Alama's unlikely performance Friday night at the Hollywood Palladium is even more stunning when you consider that he was on the run from authorities just last week.
"I think he's feeling really good right now. He's like, over the moon," said Matisyahu's bass player and producer Stu Brooks after the gig. He's the one who recorded the video of Alama jamming the song "One Day" in the coffee shop, totally unaware that the man who started singing along was the reggae star who put the hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
The video has been viewed nearly three million times in the past two weeks, and prompted a follow up call from Matisyahu and Brooks, inviting him to play in Hollywood, a call they posted on Facebook. That's when Alama told them, "I kinda been on the run, I would say for a little bit. I got revoked on a probation violation."
Alama said he couldn't leave Maui, but Brooks and Matisyahu started making calls. And within days Alama had gotten permission from the Maui County prosecutor and public defenders to catch a flight to Los Angeles to be at the concert, where the reggae star gave Alama an unforgettable time in the spotlight.
"Pretty familiar with his version of the song," said Brooks. "It does have emotion in that video as well, and with the full band it was just enormous."
One song, called "One Day." And one day is all Alama is getting. He has a flight back to Maui first thing Saturday morning.
"I think he did a good thing," said Brooks, thanking the prosecutor. "We just need to get him back safely and back to Hawaii so he can set everything straight with his responsibilities."
The prosecutor said Alama had to be back on Maui Saturday or risk going to jail. But Brooks believes the chance encounter in the coffee shop was a positive one.
"It gives him a chance at least, at least something to focus on that's positive, and maybe he can get a fresh start now."