Kaua‘i’s stars enjoyed another year

Recapping local celebrity achievements

Lanaly Cabalo – The Garden Island

An actress got married. Another actress’ television show got picked up for another season. A pair of Kauaians get geared up for the Grammys.

This year proved to be another good one for Kaua‘i residents in the entertainment business.

In January, former “Hawaii Stars” winner Troy Lazaro and fellow Kaua‘i resident Jack Viohl jumped at the opportunity to sing on the final season of “Hawaii Stars.”

“The best time was when I got to meet Anita Hall,” Lazaro said. “She and I were on the same show and from the moment I heard her sing I knew she was going to win. She’s just amazing.”

A few months later, singer and Kilauea resident Amy Hanaiali‘i gave birth to a baby girl, Madeline. Then came the release of her solo album “Generation Hawai‘i.” She later sang on Dr. Terry and Joanna Carolan’s read-along book “Goodnight Hawaiian Moon.” Then just recently, she was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Hawaiian album category.

She was in San Francisco when she heard the news.

“The nomination does mean a lot just because I’ve been on my own and I’m a new mother,” she told The Garden Island. “And because I’m the only female nominated, I would be so honored to receive it, just to mahalo all the kupuna that came before us.”

But she isn’t the only one from Kaua‘i going to the Grammys.

Slack-key guitarist Paul Togioka will also be heading to Los Angeles for the awards show.

“This was a great year, being on three CDS, two compilations and my solo one,” Togioka said. “I do this as a side because I love slack-key music. I never thought it would blow up the way it has.”

Being one of the artists featured in the Grammy-nominated album “Hawaiian Slack Key Kings” was the biggest thing to happen to him this year.

“It was definitely the highlight, being a part of that CD. Even if it doesn’t win, I’m just excited to go,” he said. “I hear Christina Aguilera is going to be there and all the other big guys. I would like to see them all.”

Someone who has worked with a lot of music’s big wigs — Aerosmith, Linda Ronstadt and Faith Hill, to name a few — is Kilauea’s Jim Shea. Back in May, he traveled to Las Vegas to accept the Academy of Country Music Award for Video of the Year for directing Brad Paisley in “When I Get Where I was Going.”

Just last month, he was in Nashville for the Country Music Awards where he was nominated again for the same video. Now, he’s back home for a well deserved break.

“Everyday is a highlight on Kaua‘i,” Shea said. “But professionally those two awards have been great.”

Next year will be another busy one for him.

“I’ll be working with a bunch of different artists, shooting a music video for John Anderson,” he said. “I’ll be leaving for Iraq in March with a bunch of musicians to document their trip. So it looks like it’s going to be a fun and busy year.”

Sticking with the music scene, the local band Revival released its debut album, “Roots Revival,” to much success. It was the first time a band from Kaua‘i topped the local Border’s top 10 lists in the Hawaiian music category.

Producer and owner of ‘Ohana Productions Noah Evslin was happy with the way the year went.

“Definitely the release and success of Revival’s CD from Unity Records, which is an off-shoot of ‘Ohana Productions, was the highlight for us this year,” he said. “We’re happy about the success of the CD and the two shows we did this year and the continuing of our projects.”

Actress and former beauty queen Sonya Balmores is continuing with her acting project, “Beyond the Break.”

She was resting at her home on the South Shore when she got an early morning wake-up call from her producer David Brookwell.

“He came straight out of the meeting with people from The N network, called me up and said we just got picked for another season,” Balmores told The Garden Island in a previous interview. “It was so early in the morning for me and I was all groggy, but it was the best way to start my morning.”

The O‘ahu-based show, which premiered back in April, follows four girls with the desire to become professional surfers. Balmores credits her childhood friends for supporting her and her career decisions.

“Let’s just say they’re keeping me humble when it comes to the show,” she said. “But they’re stoked for me. If the show wasn’t picked up they’d totally be there for me. But luckily it got picked up.”

Fellow South Shore girl and actress Sanoe Lake was out having a good year of her own. Not only did she sign on to be the first girl spokesperson for Arnette sunglasses, she graced the covers of multiple popular magazines as well. But the best thing to happen for her this year was having her close friends and especially her family at her summer wedding.

She shared her highlights while getting her hair done at Mastercuts.

“The highlight of my year was having my dad walk me down the aisle to marry the love of my life at the Waimea Plantation Cottages,” she wrote via e-mail. “My mom was my maid of honor. It was the most perfect day. We had rainbows come out and butterflies flying around.”

“Blue Crush” co-stars Keala Kennelly and Michelle Rodriguez also took the time out of their busy schedules to attend Lake’s nuptials.

Hopefully, next year will be just as good for Kaua‘i and the entertainment industry.

• Lanaly Cabalo, lifestyle writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 237) or lcabalo@kauaipubco.com.


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