Interviews

Published on January 3rd, 2017 | by Jerry Doby

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Five Questions With First Time GRAMMY Nominee Josh Tatofi

Part of the fun of what we do here at The Hype Magazine is getting to be a part of the story of someone as they have their first major break. In this instance, its first-time GRAMMY Award Nominee Josh Tatofi of Hawaii. Blessed with a set of pipes that simply wow, Josh delivers rich full-bodied tones and a timber that can send you places sonically from which you will return refreshed and in love with music again…by the way the GRAMMY Nominee’s album is in Hawaiian! His album Pua Kiele is up for The Best Regional Roots category.

Here’s the official line on Josh

GRAMMY Award Nominee Josh Tatofi (Press Photo)

GRAMMY Award Nominee Josh Tatofi (Press Photo)

Josh Tatofi was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. His father, established local musician Tivani Tatofi, is an original member of the acclaimed reggae band Kapena. As a child, music for Josh was inescapable. By the age of thirteen, Josh had begun performing throughout the Hawaiian Islands, establishing himself as a respected vocalist while gaining the recognition of his audiences and his peers. By the age of nineteen, Josh recorded an album with the wildly popular Maui band ʻEkolu. Spawn to the Kapena sound, Joshʻs early career resembled that of a reggae-lover, consisting of upbeat melodies, catchy hooks and local collaborations.

But with idols like Luther Vandross and Pebo Bryson, and ballad-ready chops to boot, Josh yearned to fuse his R&B soul with a love for his Polynesian heritage. “I ka wā ma hope, I ka wā mamua.” A Hawaiian proverb meaning, the future is in the past. As Josh developed artistically, the heritage of his past became the gateway to discovering his future. In 2014, Josh had a career-altering epiphany and discovered a home for his voice in traditional Hawaiian music.

With the release of his first Hawaiian language single, titled Pua Kiele, Josh expressed his adoration for the language, culture, and traditions of Hawaii. In 2016, Josh released a full-length Hawaiian album, also titled Pua Kiele, and with it embedded his imprint in the Hawaiian music scene. Since then, Josh has earned the nickname as, “the Luther Vandross of Hawaii.” And with a significant title to bear, Josh Tatofi continues to express his soul through Hawaiian mele.

In 2017, he won two Na Hoku Hanohano Awards for the categories of Male Vocalist of the Year and Island Music Album of the Year.

The Hype Magazine got Josh to weigh in on a few things surrounding his exciting career breakthrough as a GRAMMY Nominee!

GRAMMY Award Nominee Josh Tatofi performing (Press Photo)

GRAMMY Award Nominee Josh Tatofi performing (Press Photo)

Tell us about your current GRAMMY nominated project!

It’s a Hawaiian album with a hint of R&B feel. I tried to mix all of Polynesia throughout the collection by using harmonies that are known all across the South Pacific.

Where did you develop your R&B/Soul chops man! And how did you come to bring that sound to your native language?

R&B is something I just fell in love with at an early age listening to old tracks of Luther Vandross, James Ingram, Peabo Bryson, and many more. Singing in Hawaiian brings the South Pacific sound to a modern level when singing it with a The oldies feel.

What is the music landscape in your neck of the woods?

The majority of music that is being played here in Hawaii at this very second is Hawaiian and Island reggae music. The music is amazing! And the production is fantastic as well!

What’s on your horizon for 2018?

Well first up is the Grammys, I can’t wait to experience it for the first time! I’m so blessed to be a part of it. Following the Grammys, I have a couple of tours throughout the states and in Japan. I’m also planning on releasing a new single during the summer, so stay tuned for that!

The Hype Magazine wants to know: What’s been your CRAZIEST “Where they do that at?! Or “WTF?!” moment thus far in your career?

I’ll probably say being nominated for this Grammy is by far the craziest moment of my career! People only dream to be nominated for the Grammys, I’m glad I get to live one of mine finally.

Recently, Josh got another once-in-a-lifetime surprise…a Royal Summons from His Majesty the King of Tonga. Check it out:

Congratulations Josh and we wish you much-continued success ~ JD

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About the Author

Editor-in-Chief of The Hype Magazine, and internationally published arts & entertainment journalist. Member of the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture as well as the United States Press Corps.


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