Born and raised in Kihei, Maui, Kala’e Camarillo comes from a family of music educators and entertainers. His grandfather, George Camarillo, started the first ʻukulele band in Hawai'i public schools at Waiakea Intermediate, and his father, Rama, followed in his footsteps by becoming an ʻukulele teacher as well. In addition, his mother, Cora, is the sister of multi Nā Hōkū Hanohano award winner, Lehua Kalima of Nā Leo Pilimehana.
At the age of seven, Kala'e's father taught him to play the ‘ukulele, which led to him picking up other instruments like the guitar, bass, and piano. By the age of 12, he began gigging weekly with his father at the Maui Coast Hotel. While a senior at Kamehameha Schools Maui, Kala’e and his cousin, Dane Lum Ho, won the statewide competition, “Band Champ,” a Tom Moffat Production. Upon winning, they were awarded the opportunity to open for two major acts: America and The Stylistics.
In 2009, Kala’e moved to O’ahu to attend the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where he played on the men’s volleyball team and graduated with a degree in Elementary & Special Education. His education and passion for music led him to becoming a third-generation music teacher (Kapalama Elementary) and professional musician. Both he and his brother, Kamaka, entered the local music scene together as the Camarillo brothers, but eventually started to focus on their own solo careers.
In 2017, Kala'e released his debut album entitled “Working Man,” which garnered him a nomination at the prestigious Na Hoku Hanohano Awards (Hawaii Grammys), recognizing him as one of Hawaii's "Most Promising Artists." In 2019, he followed that up with his sophomore album, "Feel at Home," which was produced by Hawaii's very own three-time Grammy Award Winning Producer, Dave Tucciarone. "Feel at Home" went on to win Kala'e his first ever Na Hoku Hanohano award for Contemporary Acoustic Album of the Year. In 2021, he released a song he wrote for his Mom, "Be Like You," which garnered nominations for Song of The Year & Single of The Year.
Kala'e's third project, a 6 track EP entitled "Child of These Islands," was engineered and produced by Grammy nominated producer, Imua Garza (Zeo Music). This led to 2023 was a big year for Kala'e as he garnered 5 nominations at the Na Hoku Hanohano awards in the following categories: EP of The Year, Christmas Single of The Year, Favorite Entertainer of The Year, Song of The Year (Old Kihei), and Male Vocalist of the Year. Out of the five nominations, he took home two awards for EP & Christmas Single.
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