Raised on Maui, Willie Kahaiali'i (aka Willie K) has been playing music and entertaining audiences since the age of 10. His father Manu Kahaiali'i, one of Hawaii's most respected musicians, recruited willie and his brothers to perform in his band. From the very beginning, Willie was influenced by and exposed to a myriad of musical genres; from the Hawaiian, Jazz and early R&B he heard at his father's side, to the sounds emanating from the radio and TV from musical giants suc as BB King, Santana, Jimi Hendrix, and Willie Nelson.
It is no wonder why Willie has evolved into such and eclectic and charismatic singer/songwriter/entertainer. By his high school graduation, Willie was playing in as many as 8 bands from country and western, salso, rhythm and blues, rock and of course Hawaiian. A few years later he moved to San Francisco determined to make it in the music scene there.
After returning home, with renewed determination, Willie focused on recording an album of his own. His first three albums changed the direction of contemporary Hawaiian music. He swept up Na Hoku Hanohano Awards (Hawaiian Grammy Awards) from the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts. Willie then teamed up with Amy Hanaiali'i Gilliom and produced three more albums. He earned 2 more Na Hoku Hanohano Awards for Producer of the Year, while Amy won Album of the Year, Femail Vocalist, Song of the Year, and Hawaiian Album of the Year awards.
In 1999, while working on Amy's new album, Willie filled the studio with his own music. Between takes and on breaks, Willie kept the recorder going and finished a Christmas album, "Willie Kalikimaka."
"Willie Kalikimaka" reflected Willie's favorite songs for the season and fulfilled the public's demand for his version of "O Holy Night" recorded some years back as a single. "Away In a Manger" was almost completely recorded when Willie K ran into Willie Nelson on Maui. The conversation resulted in a duet on this incredible rendition of this Christmas classic and an experience that will be etched into Willie K's musical career. "Willie Kalikimaka" ended up being the biggest selling Christmas CD in 1999 and hit loca sales charts at the #1 spot, beating the new recordings of Mariah Carey and Santana, while rising to #11 on Billboard Magazine's World Charts.
The beginning of 2000 also brought forth a new CD, "The Uncle In Me," which compiles the best of Willie's music into a single recording. The songs, which have been Willie's trademark pieces, have been unavailable on the market for years. "The Uncle In Me" brings these songs back to the ears of Willie K fans, digitally re-mastered to highlight the musical and vocal talents of Willie K.
By the end of 2002, Willie garnered national attention with appearances on VH-1 "100 Greatest Love Songs," Extra, and performing the halftime show on Monday Night Football's Jets vs. Raiders game. In February 2004, Willie was featured at the NFL's Pro Bowl Halftime show.