Mayor Proclaims “Willie K Month” in June
The month of June 2021 has been proclaimed “Willie K Month” in the County of Maui. Maui Mayor Michael Victorino issued the proclamation on Friday, May 28, 2021 during a press briefing, recognizing the legendary musician.
According to the proclamation, William Awihilima Kahaialiʻi, known as “Willie K,” was born into a family of musicians in Lahaina, Maui on Oct. 17, 1960. Under the guidance of his father Manu Kahaialiʻi, Willie K first performed on stage at the age of eight.
“Even in his youth, Willie K’s musical virtuosity was evident in his ability to make music in virtually any genre as a multi-talented singer, songwriter and musician, who especially loved the blues,” according to the document.
After his graduation from Lahainaluna High School, Willie K pursued his musical career in San Francisco for a few years before returning home to Maui.
According to the proclamation, “Willie K’s first three albums changed the direction of contemporary Hawaiian music and earned him the first four of 19 Nā Hōkū Hanohano awards in multiple categories and genres.”
“Throughout his career, Willie K’s musical mastery embraced Hawaiian music, rock, blues, jazz, reggae, kachi-kachi and even operatic arias that fueled his collaborations with other elite singers, songwriters and musicians,” the proclamation said.
In addition to his musical career, Willie K was recognized as Knight Commander for the Royal Order of the Crown of Hawaiʻi, and president of Hui o Waʻa Kaulua.
He passed away on May 18, 2020 at the age of 59 after a long battle with cancer.