Grammy-award winner Kalani Pe'a takes the stage at home for the first time since win

Updated: Feb. 15, 2017 at 11:03 PM HST
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(image: Hawaii News Now)
(image: Hawaii News Now)
(image: Hawaii News Now)
(image: Hawaii News Now)
(image: Hawaii News Now)
(image: Hawaii News Now)
(image: Hawaii News Now)
(image: Hawaii News Now)

KAKAAKO, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - For the first time since winning a Grammy, Hawaiian musician Kalani Pe'a took the stage in Kakaako Wednesday night.

He performed in front of hundreds at Ward Village's Kona Nui Nights, a monthly event that aims to perpetuate Hawaiian music, language, and culture.

The Hilo native won the Grammy for Best Regional Roots music album on Sunday. It's the first time a Hawaiian artists has won a Grammy since Hawaiian music was put into the roots category in 2012.

Pe'a says he's been waiting for this day since he was four years old.

"From compiling music, songwriting, and singing karaoke talent competitions in an Aladdin outfit that my mom put me in at 10 years old, I'm just so happy to represent Hawaii and bring home the gold," said Pe'a.

On an average Kona Nui Nights, 250 people will come out to Ward Village to listen to Hawaiian music artists. But on Wednesday, officials say more than 600 people reserved tickets to see Grammy award winner.

"We are this little speck in the middle of the Pacific, but we have a lot to offer here in Hawaii. All my pride, all my Hawaiian pride goes out to him," said Kumu Hula Nalani Keala.

"It is our humble honor to have Kalani Pe'a join us this evening…and we hope that he will come back because he, along with others inspire our community to not only take pride but to hold closer and hold dearer our culture," said host of the evening, Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu.

The 33-year-old was nominated for his debut album, 'E Walea,' which features seven haku mele, original compositions written in the Hawaiian language, and five cover songs.

The singer and songwriter credits his Hawaiian language background for his success.

"I'm just gonna be who I am and continue to live the legacy of my kupuna and my makua and ohana and that is through Hawaiian music, education, and hopefully impact our community through music," Pe'a said.

He says the fame will take some getting used to.

"It's not gonna change who I am, as the kanaka that's gonna wear lauhala bow tie," he said while laughing

Pe'a says he looks forward to continuing to work at Kamehameha Schools, going on tour, and finishing up his second-album.

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