Known for his country songs with a mix of island infusion, Waimea musician Kala’e Parish and his band gave a solid performance last Friday (Feb. 26) at the Kahilu Theatre. Afterward, I had the pleasure of chatting with the musician on a variety of topics. You can watch his concert and our interview on Kahilu TV.
Parish has been a professional musician and entertainer in Hawai’i since 2013, performing throughout the islands and abroad. He’s currently promoting his highly anticipated debut EP, Where I Reside.
Let’s start with a brief overview of how you first became interested in music.
My dad probably was one of the most important persons who got me started on music. He played his whole life, and he still does, you know, in church and stuff. He got me and my brother (Alika) involved in it and started pushing us. When I went to college, we had a small band. In 2013, I moved home and that’s when I told myself, I want to do this for a living. That’s when I started and had a little reggae band (Eden Roc). And from there, you know, everyone gets married and it kind of pushed me into going solo. That’s when I started my solo career to what I’m playing now.
Talk about some of your musical influences and mentors. I heard everything in your set today, from Van Morrison to Zac Brown.
My dad forced me to listen to everything from Kalapana to The Eagles. On our 90-minute drive to Hilo, he’d have them on repeat. That kind of made us listen to everything.
Why is country music such a big deal here on the island?
It’s a lifestyle, especially here in Waimea or on Maui… just a plain old lifestyle. A lot of people here like to hunt, fish, and there are plenty of people that work the cattle up here. I think that’s what makes me love country music, and why I love playing country music, and why I write country music, it’s because I just like writing about life, and that whole feeling that it gives you, that realness that it just gives you.
You’re originally from Oahu, but what’s your connection to the Big Island?
For my whole life we came here to work our farm, you know, and from then I’ve always loved this island. It’s been my favorite island since I was a little kid. Just the freedom and the people. The communities and the lifestyle.
What about your music plans going forward? I know it’s a year of transition, but do you have any goals for more projects?
We’ve been in the studio with Shawn (Pimentel) and Mikey (Grande), and we already have some things laid down and we’re going to finish them. I’m looking forward to starting my second EP and releasing that. And we’ve also been starting to have some songwriting friends together and we’re trying to write collaborations. I think that’s one of my biggest goals for myself, is to work on my writing and try to put out the best material I can possibly give to people. And that’s pretty important to me, and to also influence others and create more of a community of songwriters here.
Notes & Links
Set List: Homegrown (Zac Brown cover) | After The Noon | Must Be The Rain | Always Remain | Island Life | We Area A Voice | Medley: Free/Into The Mystic (Zac Brown and Van Morrison cover) | Magic |
Hana Hou: Friends In Low Places |
Concert Date: 26/FEB/2021
Musicians: Kala’e Parish (guitar/lead vocals), Kalena Delima (keyboard/vocals), Kapena Delima (drums), Mikey Grande (keyboard), Shawn Pimentel (bass/vocals).
To catch a show and stay up to date with the Kahilu Theatre’s new online platform Kahilu TV and connect with Kala’e Parish, click on the links below.
About the author: Steve Roby is a music journalist, best-selling author, and editor of Big Island Music Magazine.
Photo credit: Steve Roby