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Kani Ka Pila Grille Talent Search – Call for Entries Now Open

Updated October 27, 2021


Previous Talent Search Winners from left to right: Ke Olu and Hui Mele – download images HERE

HONOLULU – As part of the $80 million transformation of Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort – Kani Ka Pila Grille has been fully re-imagined with a brand new stage, expanded seating and enhanced selection of locally sourced food and drinks. Slack-key legend Cyril Pahinui bestowed the venue’s name, which means “let’s play music” and evokes the unfettered joys of backyard jam sessions and impromptu hula dancing.

Continuing its tradition of supporting Hawai‘i musicians – Outrigger Resorts has resumed its annual Kani Ka Pila Grille Talent Search, with the winner receiving a month-long contract to jam on the brand new stage. Now in its 14th year – the call for entries is open through Oct. 30, 2021. The finals will take place during the 2021 Made in Hawai‘i Festival at Kani Ka Pila Grille at the Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort on Saturday, November 13, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“Hawaiian music lifts our spirits and fills our hearts; we are grateful to honor Uncle Cyril by perpetuating the next generation of Hawai‘i musicians through this talent search,” said Luana Maitland, director of cultural experiences for Outrigger’s Waikīkī resorts. “The energy and ambiance of Kani Ka Pila Grille is like nothing else on O‘ahu; we look forward to showcasing Hawai‘i’s emerging artists and welcoming guests to come enjoy the newly enhanced space.”

To enter, aspiring traditional and contemporary Hawaiian musicians are invited to share a DVD music sample or digital link to a past performance. Registration must be completed by October 30, and include the name and high-resolution photo of the artist or group, along with a contact name, address and phone number. Submissions can be sent to or Luana at Kani Ka Pila Grille, c/o Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort, 2169 Kaila Road, Honolulu, Hawai‘i 96815. For more information, visit

Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort will announce four finalists on Friday, Nov. 5, 2021. These top island musicians will then be invited to perform live at this year’s Made in Hawai‘i Festival on Saturday, November 13, 2021, in front of a panel of renowned Hawaiian music industry professionals including:

  • Bobby Moderow, Grammy-nominee, Nā Hōkū Hanohano award winner and Maunalua member
  • Kawika Kahiapo, Nā Hōkū Hanohano award winner
  • John Vierra, MELE Program Coordinator at Honolulu Community College, Assistant Professor, Audio Engineering
  • Luana Maitland, Director of Cultural Experiences for Outrigger Resorts and Kani Ka Pila Grille

The grand prize winner will receive a one-month paid contract with Kani Ka Pila Grille that includes four performances within a month in 2022. In addition, the winning artist or band will receive a personalized social media marketing package featuring an electronic press kit and promotional audio/video clips recorded at Honolulu Community College’s Mike Curb MELE Studios.

Located poolside at Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort, Kani Ka Pila Grille is Honolulu’s home for nightly live Hawaiian music. The restaurant offers delicious dining in a relaxed and open atmosphere from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. The musical fun kicks off each evening at 6 p.m. with a regular line-up of distinguished Hawaiian performers including Nathan Aweau, Sean Naauao, Kamakakehau Fernandez, Kala‘e Camarillo, Kawika Kahiapo, Ka Hehena and Ho‘okena, as well as a rotating selection of award-winning island artists. Parking is $8. For reservations or restaurant information, call (808) 924-4990 or visit:

Click HERE for a PDF of this release.

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