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Kani Ka Pila Grille invites up-and-coming island artists to be part of its 8th annual talent search


Last year’s 2015 Kani Ka Pila Grille Talent search winners, the Waimanalo Sunset Band with event emcee Billy V and Luana Maitland, music director at Kani Ka Pila Grille
Last year’s 2015 Kani Ka Pila Grille Talent search winners, the Waimanalo Sunset Band with event emcee Billy V and Luana Maitland, music director at Kani Ka Pila Grille

WAIKIKI, HONOLULU, OAHU – The 8th annual Kani Ka Pila Grille Talent Search is underway and emerging island musicians are invited to be part of this year’s competition. Musical entries are being accepted now through July 18, with the finals program to be held at the Made in Hawaii Festival at the Neal Blaisdell Center’s Pikake Room Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016, from 3 to 8 p.m.

Traditional and contemporary Hawaiian musicians are encouraged to enter the talent search by submitting a music sample on DVD or by providing a link to an online performance. Submissions can be emailed to or mailed to Luana Maitland, Kani Ka Pila Grille, c/o Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort, 2169 Kaila Road, Honolulu, Hawaii 96815. For more information, log on to

All entries must be received by July 18, 2016, and must include:

  • artist/group name
  • artist/group photo (high resolution, 300 dpi)
  • contact person
  • email address
  • phone number

The winning artist or group will receive a one-month paid contract to perform at Kani Ka Pila Grille four September Saturday evenings during the Island Music Series from 3-5 p.m. (Sept. 3, 10, 17 and 24). The prize also includes a personalized promotions and marketing plan consisting of a studio recording and electronic press kit from the Honolulu Community College’s Mike Curb MELE (The Music & Entertainment Learning Experience) Studios.

Five finalists will be selected and announced July 25, 2016. These artists will then be invited to perform live on stage Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016, at this year’s Made in Hawaii Festival in front of a panel of distinguished judges that will include:

  • Bobby Moderow, Grammy-nominee and Na Hoku Hanohano Award winner
  • Pali Kaaihue, president, Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts
  • John Vierra, MELE program coordinator and audio engineering instructor at Honolulu Community College
  • Luana Maitland, music director for Kani Ka Pila Grille and events and activities manager for Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort

“It’s such an honor and privilege to be able to showcase Hawaii’s multifaceted artists through our annual Kani Ka Pila Grille Talent Search,” said Luana Maitland. “We’re especially proud to see a number of our past winners go on to successful and award-winning careers!

As winners of last year’s 2015 Kani Ka Pila Grille Talent Search, The Waimanalo Sunset Band’s traditional Hawaiian mele and incredible stage presence impressed the judges and wowed the crowds. Comprised of Kelii Makua, Chris “Baba” Yim, Lanakila Makua, Manuwai Mejia and Keao Kamalani, the band came to life in 2001 when originating members Lanakila Makua, Kelii Makua and Keao Kamalani regularly held ‘jam sessions’ in the backyard of the Makua ohana home in Waimanalo where melodies began to flow and the music began to blend.

As part of the Kani Ka Pila Grille Talent Search finals, The Waimanalo Sunset Band will perform from 3 to 3:30 p.m. on Aug. 20, followed by an autograph session. The talent search contest will follow from 4 to 8 p.m.

Every night of the week from 6 to 9 p.m., some of the islands most notable Hawaiian musicians take the stage at Kani Ka Pila Grille. Headliners include Cyril Pahinui, Weldon Kekauoha, Kawika Kahiapo, Sean Naauao, and a revolving selection of other award-winning island artists. Located poolside at the Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort, Kani Ka Pila Grille is open daily for dining from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. For reservations or restaurant information, call (808) 924-4990.