Maui Arts & Entertainment

“KBong” Steps Into the Spotlight With Solo Album “Hopes and Dreams”

November 4, 2014, 3:23 PM HST
* Updated November 4, 3:32 PM
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[flashvideo file=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kl47qsVbhLM /] By Cassandra Hastu

When the Island Vibez Music Festival came to Maui, it brought with it talented artists such as Collie Buddz, Stick Figure, and Kolohe Kai. Within Stick Figure, is a not-so-secret talent waiting to share the spotlight. Currently playing keyboards for Stick Figure, Kevin Bong also known as “KBong” is no stranger to the crowds that come out to music festivals around the world to hear the sounds of reggae and dub. With the release of his debut album “Hopes and Dreams” KBong is ready to hit center stage. I caught up with KBong backstage at the musical festival here on Maui, and it was evident in our interview that his star is about to shine.

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KBong (right) of Stick Figure, photo by Cassandra Hastu.

Q: What island did you grow up on?

A: I grew up on Oʻahu.

Q: What is your favorite island?

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A: Oʻahu. Well no I don’t have a favorite island. All of the islands are beautiful and they have their own unique beauty. You can’t really pick a favorite. I don’t know if I could do that. I am most familiar with Oʻahu.

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Q: What inspires you?

A: People and nature. People because everyone is so different you know? That is how we communicate. We communicate with people and we are all humans. We are all connected so people inspire me with what they do.

Q: Where is home?

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A: San Diego is home. I lived on Oʻahu for ten years but then I moved to San Diego for college. I have lived there now for nine years. There is a huge Hawaiian population in San Diego and all up and down the west coast. It is cool to carry that aloha spirit that we have embraced in Hawaiʻi and take it to the mainland. I like to help spread the aloha spirit and in return there is a whole different aloha that is California style.

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KBong photo by Cassandra Hastu.

Q: So tell us about the new album?

A: Yes, the new album. It came out in April and it is called “Hopes and Dreams.” It is my debut record but I have been playing guitar and song writing since high school. It has always been building up and building up. I played bass in a band and then it turned into keyboards so everything has led up to that right moment. I have learned a lot now and I now have the tools and skills to write these songs that have kind of been in my mind for a long time.

Q: As much as you love touring with Stick Figure, do you want to one day be on your own tour?

A: Yes, I would love too. The songs that I have written and that are on the record mean a lot to me. They are about my personal experiences and I would love to perform them live to give the people who have heard the album the experience of hearing my stuff live. It is just connecting with people more and more. I look forward to the day when I can branch out and do my own thing for sure.

Q: How big do you want to get and grow as an artist?

A: That is a hard question. I just want to make sure that I am comfortable as a person and comfortable with what I am doing. I want it to be natural. I want to continue writing songs about my experiences and keep putting them out there, just kind of sharing that with the world.

Q: What motivates you?

A: My mission is I hope to inspire people. If I can inspire an audience of a thousand people that would be a huge accomplishment for me.  If we are talking about bigger crowds and I am able to connect with that many people, yea let’s do it; Skies the limit. In return I am getting inspired, it is amazing.

Q: What message do you want to give your fans in Hawaiʻi?

A: I would definitely say for people that are following their dreams, just go after it. Don’t second guess yourself.  Sometimes you may need to do it on your own; but if you do have support behind you, don’t forget about that support team either. Don’t be afraid to move out of Hawaiʻi and experience new things, because you can always come home. Hawaiʻi is always home.

KBong photo by Cassandra Hastu.

KBong (right) of Stick Figure, photo by Cassandra Hastu.

KBong photo by Cassandra Hastu.

KBong performing with Stick Figure, photo by Cassandra Hastu.

KBong photo by Cassandra Hastu.

KBong performing with Stick Figure photo by Cassandra Hastu.

KBong photo by Cassandra Hastu.

KBong photo by Cassandra Hastu.

Kevin Bong photo by Cassandra Hastu.

Kevin Bong photo via Cassandra Hastu.

KBong photo by Cassandra Hastu.

KBong (left) with Stick Figure photo by Cassandra Hastu.

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