The story of K'Nova is just beginning. It's a tale of a rough upbringing, incarceration and redemption through the healing power of music. Filo Aho-Lelei Kasanova Vaiangina Jr. was born in California's Bay Area and raised on the mean streets of East Oakland. With an often absent father and six kids to raise, his mom struggled to keep things together. The family moved from place to place and sometimes stayed in a homeless shelter. Before long, the lure of streets took over. "Home just didn't feel like home to me so at the age of 11 I ran away.. I lived with complete strangers. I guess they felt sorry for me and my story and didn't want me in the streets."
The next chapter is predictable enough. Like so many others, drugs, gangs and crime became a way of life and repeated trips to jail the inevitable consequences. Remembering those days today, K'Nova says "I had no future, no plans, and no hope". His only escape was through creativity, writing poetry and raps to wile away the time. "I spent 7 years of my life behind bars for me to realize that it wasn't for me."
Released at the age of 19, K'Nova knew that something had to change. His solution: a one-way ticket to Hawai'i where he had cousins willing to take him in and give him a fresh start. They recognized his talent and introduced him to artists like Laga Savea and Fiji who became mentors and encouraged him to get into the studio for the first time. The result is the stunning self titled debut release.
Many artists can sing and rap, not so many can write great original songs. That makes K'Nova all the more amazing when you realize this is an artist who had never before written music or set foot in a recording studio. Not content to recycle cliches, K'Nova possesses an uncanny ability to relate his true feelings and life experience in a very compelling way. "Old Hanalani" tells the story of his warm welcome in Hawai'i, while "He Tkai Teu Luva" pays tribute to his Polynesian heritage. Tracks like "There She Goes" and "Mommy" prove that this is an artist unafraid to wear his heart on his sleeve and express real emotion.
Early buzz and airplay indicate nothing but a bright future for K'Nova. In his own words: "When I flew out to Hawai'i, my life changed and I knew it changed forever. I never knew I had the talent nor the passion but I knew deep inside of my heart, I had a story. Music saved my life. In my music I'm free to express the way I feel. In my music I've learned what a family truly means and how important it is. And in my music I found home! I'm twenty years old now with a family of my own. I have big dreams that are soon to come to life. My dream is to be the bridge my Polynesian people could cross over. Within my people there is love and where there is love, there is always HOME!!"
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