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Maui’s Kamalei Kawaʻa’s ‘The Voice’ journey concludes, launching homecoming concert series

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Kamalei Kawaʻa. PC: courtesy NBC’s “The Voice”

On Monday night, Kamalei Kawaʻa’s journey on NBC’s “The Voice” came to a close. The singer, originally from Paukūkalo, reached the Playoffs last week, securing a spot in the top 20 after a journey that began in early March.

Among the five Team Legend contestants facing elimination were Bryan Olesen from Lincoln, Neb., Nathan Chester from Chicago, Ill., Zoe Levert from New Orleans, La., Kamalei Kawaʻa from Maui, Hawaiʻi, and Mafe from Miami, Fl.

Kawaʻa’s rendition of “No Woman, No Cry” by Bob Marley and the Wailers earned praise from coaches, but it wasn’t enough to advance to the Live Shows, where 12 artists compete for the Season 25 title of “The Voice.”


Despite the outcome, Kawaʻa felt proud of his final performance. Reflecting on it, he told Maui Now, “Seeing the way I carried myself with the demeanor and the confidence I had on the stage really attested to the growth and all of the lessons that I learned through this process.”

Throughout the competition, Kawaʻa made a conscious effort to heed the advice of his coaches and mentors. “I felt like I applied and did everything that my coaches and mentors asked me to do,” he said. “Last night’s performance really showed me a huge growth in my stage presence and confidence.”

The 26-year-old Native Hawaiian set out to show the world the beauty of Hawaiian people and exemplify ‘aloha’ and Hawaiian culture. This season of “The Voice,” garnering an average viewership of over 5.5 million eyeballs, gave him an ultimate platform that persisted through the Blind Auditions, Battle Rounds and Knockouts.


Originating from a small town and now representing the Hawaiian Home Land in Waiohuli, Kawaʻa sought guidance on how to convey his culture to a mainstream audience, before his Playoffs performance.

“I always take my roots and my essence everywhere I go, because that’s what makes me feel unique,” said his Playoffs Mentor, Maluma, an artist from Columbia. “Hawaiʻi makes you the guy that you are right now.”

“Your ability to translate those roots to the mainstream culture is what makes artists work,” said Coach John Legend.


Reflecting on their advice, Kawaʻa said, “What I took from the advice was making sure that wherever I go from here, I continue to remain true to who I am.”

Kawaʻa joins Jason Arcilla as the second Maui musician to advance past the Blind Auditions of “The Voice,” which debuted in 2011.

Next steps

As this chapter comes to a close, Kawaʻa looks forward to celebrating his achievements with a series of homecoming concerts back home.

His live performances kick off on Mother’s Day at the King Kamehameha Golf Club on Maui and carry on every month after June across the Hawaiian Islands.

The GRAMMY-Nominee and multi Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award winner continues to work on new music, which can be found at, where 100% of proceeds made from subscriptions go directly to The Kāko’o Maui Fund, helping families in Lahaina.


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