Kalani Pe‘a can add another Grammy Award nomination to his already prestigious resume.
The Hilo native is nominated for the 2019 Grammy Award for Best Regional Roots Music Album for his sophomore album “No Ane‘i,” the Recording Academy announced Friday. The album, released in August, is the followup to his Grammy-winning debut, “E Walea.”
While it’s not his first time experiencing his name being called for an award, a tearful Pe‘a said he still wasn’t expecting the news he received early Friday morning.
“I cry because not only is it an accolade, I cry because hard work comes into play,” Pe‘a said. “I feel that I work hard with endless hours to share our story. To have people make a personal connection with you through your music, that is the world to me. That’s what matters to me.”
His Grammy for “E Walea” in 2017 was the first for a Hawaiian artist in that category since it was created in 2012. The category was created for regionally-based traditional American music, including Hawaiian music.
Pe‘a said this nomination is a more emotional experience than it was two years ago.
“I’m crying now more than before, because it was more surreal with my debut album,” Pe‘a said. “This album plays such a pivotal role in my life because it identifies who I am as a Hawaiian modern singer-songwriter.”
Pe‘a also won a Na Hoku Hanohano Award in 2017 for Contemporary Album of the Year, making him the first Hawaii resident to win both a Grammy and Hoku award for the same album.
The Grammy Awards will be presented on Sunday, Feb. 10, and will be televised by CBS. Pe‘a is up against Sean Ardoin, Cha Wa, Young Spirit and fellow Hawaii musicians Na Hoa for the Best Regional Roots Music Album award.
“I’m very honored to represent Hawaii again,” Pe’a said.
Pe‘a was born and raised in Panaewa, and is a graduate of Ke Kula ‘o Nawahiokalani‘opu‘u, a Hawaiian language immersion school in Keauu. While he now resides on Maui, his family still lives on the east side of the Big Island, and he routinely returns to the island to perform.
He’ll be back on the Big Island Saturday to perform a Christmas concert at the Kahilu Theatre in Waimea. In addition to traditional Christmas carols, he will also be singing songs from “No Ane‘i.” As of Monday, only a handful of tickets remained for the show.