Local musician Fia is making a name for himself in the music industry. This past June, the singer-songwriter swept the Island Music Awards winning four trophies, including Music Video of the Year, Breakout Artist of the Year, Male Artist of the Year and Song of the Year. Talk Story host McKenna Maduli joined Fia, along with his crew Klandon Fetaui (manager, guitar), Johnny Suite (singer-songwriter), Maile Soul (singer), Elias English (drums) and Chante (keyboard) for a jam session.
Island Music Award night was filled with mixed emotions for Fia. “I had recently just lost my mom and dad and my brother,” said Fia. “But they’ve been watching me ever since they left this world. They are in a better place now. Honestly, I was just going through happiness and at the same time really wanting my parents to be there. My brother to be there. I didn’t know how to feel and it still didn’t hit me until about two weeks later when I’m looking at my trophies in my closet. It’s just so surreal to me.”
Being front and center on stage is thrilling, but Fia says it’s the songs he writes that give him the most satisfaction.
“It has always been a dream of mine to write a song, sing it for the crowd and actually have them sing it back to you. It’s one of the greatest feelings in the world. It just shows hard work. Being able to connect with people through music. Where I grew up in church we said music doesn’t need any permission to enter the soul. It’s one of the greatest gifts and I’m just blessed.”
Klandon Fetaui is the group’s manager and he says having patience is key to keeping his crew in line, adding “there’s a lot of times your fuse will be short and at those moments you just have to remember to be tender.”
Singer-songwriter Johnny Suite has known Fia since their days playing high school football against each other. The oldest of twelve children, Suite says faith plays a big role in his life. “I do my best to carry that with us and represent it because if it wasn’t for my faith then we wouldn’t even be here.”
As a big brother, Suite acknowledges the importance of teaching the next generation.
“My biggest thing is hard work and surrounding yourself with people who are just as driven,” said Suite. “People that aren’t afraid to tell you when you are wrong. That’s one of the biggest things I think that this group, this family that we have, that’s one of the biggest reasons that we succeed when we do is because of the accountability. We’re all like-minded people. It’s very rare these days when people can take constructive criticism.”
Singer Maile Soul is affectionately treated like a little sister. " It’s fun," said Soul. “I actually grew up with a ton of brothers. They treat me just like their sister. There’s a lot of rascal activities.”
About Fia: Harbor City born and Nanakuli raised, Fia, is a soulful singer-songwriter clearly making his presence known in the Island Reggae music scene. In 2018, he released two singles Come Around and Love Me which both peaked in the top 3 of the iTunes Reggae Charts. Fia then began his touring debut as a featured act with Rebel Souljahz along the U.S. West Coast and then as an opening act with Sammielz & Samu in New Zealand. He ended 2018 by dropping his debut EP The Artist, fully produced by Hawaii manager Klandon Fetaui. 2019 kicked off with a bang as Fia was a standout opener on the Going Up Winter Tour for reggae heavy-hitters The Green. He even swept at the 2nd Annual Island Music Awards this past June, taking all 4 of his nominations home: Music Video of the Year, Breakout Artist of the Year, Male Solo Artist of the Year and Song of the Year. Fia recently wrapped his first international headlining tour with stops in New Zealand, Cook Islands, and Australia. He is aiming to drop his first album in early 2020. For more: @theartistfia
About Johnny Suite: Charismatic singer-songwriter Johnny Suite was born and raised in Kipapa, Hawaii. While his primary genre has been reggae, Johnny also supports many bands and artists in the reggae industry. Chante’s eclectic musical taste and style have afforded him diverse opportunities. His debut release single, Fighting For, in combination with his sophomore release, Looking, reached 50k streams on digital platforms. His latest single, Some Lovin, peaked at #3 on the iTunes Reggae Chart and gains consistent radio play in the local Hawaii market. Aspiring to create music that will speak to humility and self-value, Chante promises to be a driving force in the reggae world! For More: @mistahchante