Muti-Nā Hōkū Hanohano award-winning singer Nāpua Greig has a very, very busy life. From kumu hula, radio talk show host and recording artist to super mom, she does it all. Talk Story host McKenna Maduli flew to the Valley Isle to catch up with the upcountry Maui girl, who’s constantly on-the-go.
“I was on tour for a month, came home for a day and went to Mauna Kea for a week. (Then) came home for actually one day and went to Vegas. It’s been a back and forth for a while.”
When she’s home, Greig starts her workday at 5:30 in the morning hosting a radio show with Shane Kahalehau. “This is where my day starts. I’m here at KPOA,” said Greig. “We are the number one Hawaiian music station. So he (Shane) and I do the morning show every weekday. He’s my kumu over here.”
Greig admits working in the music industry has its difficulties along with its rewards but it’s the friendships she has made along the way that matter the most. “These people, you trust them because we bounce ideas off each other, we bounce our insecurities off each other,” said Greig. “Unless you work in those fields you don’t really understand how super scary a lot of what we do is. Cause we’ve got to get in front of people and act like it’s not scary. And, no matter what kind of day you are having or what you are facing in your life, you have to get on stage and smile and act like the whole world is happy. When we do the same thing, work in the same circles, we understand each other’s challenges. We understand that there are those fears, there are those insecurities that maybe we are not so comfortable sharing with everybody. But, I guess that now that I am saying it, we are sharing it.”
Greig says she loves to bake and invited Maduli to join her in the kitchen to make one of her favorite recipes, Pineapple Upside-down Cake, adding “For me it’s always been the way I show aloha for my kids especially, for my ohana. I don’t have a lot of time to do it and so when I do have the time to do it, I take every opportunity. It’s special because my nana taught me how. When I was a young girl I spent a lot of time with my grandparents and she was a baker. And, bless her, she taught me really simple, fast recipes. She baked from scratch. These recipes aren’t from scratch but...it’s still better to make something at home than to buy it at the store, I think.”
Greig grew up in the music industry and was happy being a soccer mom when in 2005 she found herself divorced and a single parent of two daughters with no college degree or significant work experience.
At the time Greig, managed her halau and worked different jobs, but "people were like you should record an album. (I was) very fortunate that somebody took me along. Chino Montero started to take me on those HTJ (Hawaii Tourism Japan) trips. He would try to teach me how to play. I’m still not a great player. But I recorded the first CD (Pihana in 2007) and won my first Hōkū (2008 Best Female Vocalist). That first CD was my own compositions and compositions by my cousins and my close friends.
Pineapple Upside-down Cake Recipe directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Yellow cake mix (follow directions)
- add 3 eggs
- add 1/3 cup oil
- add 1 cup water
Pour melted butter in pan. Add brown sugar and mash all around. Arrange pineapple slices in pan. Arrange cherries.
About Nāpua Greig: Nāpua Greig began her solo recording career with the highly anticipated release of Pīhana in August 2007. This debut album earned six nominations at the Nā Hōkū Hanohano Music Awards and later won the “Best Female Vocalist” award. In 2010, Nāpua released her sophomore album, Mōhalu, which received three Nā Hōkū Hanohano awards in 2011; “Favorite Entertainer” by fans, “Female Vocalist of the Year,” and for “Hawaiian Album of the Year.” When asked how she manages to accomplish all she does, being a kumu hula, schoolteacher, recording artist, and Mommy, Nāpua responds that it is her children that drive her to do all she can in this life.