Since winning the Best Hip Hop Album category for his album, “Makana,” at the 41st Na Hoku Hanohano Awards last month, it’s been exciting times for Thomas “Illtalian” Iannucci.
“Surreal,” he said.
The 26-year-old Kauai man is working on his music, exploring new opportunities and talking to some big-name artists.
The award, he said, has made a “big difference” in his career.
“People take you a little more seriously,” he said. “It’s kind of like a badge of excellence.”
But he hasn’t forgotten his family and friends back home.
Iannucci will be performing his first concert on Kauai since winning the Hoku this Sunday at Ha Coffee Bar. His hourlong set will debut a new song he recently wrote, “Just Hold.”
“It’s upbeat, much more positive and happy than my usual kind of stuff,” he said with a big smile, then adding, “this is going to be really, really fun.”
The song is about keeping the faith, through the good times as well as the bad.
“You just might win something,” he said, laughing “God takes care of you.”
He won’t be alone, either. A lineup of local musical all-stars will also be performing that night.
w Papa‘a Bay Boys: Papa’a Bay Boys co-founder Russell Wellington (who is Illtalian’s Uncle) will be joined by his band mates Ryan McKeague and Darrell Rapozo. Papa’a Bay Boys are known and loved for both for smooth Island sounds as well as traditional Hawaiian style. They are one of Kauai’s premier acts, having performed all over Hawaii.
w Aowl Owen: Aowl Owen is local a musician who got his inspiration from a spaghetti square commercial. With violin as his main focus, he is also proficient in other musical instruments, which has helped him to compose and produce his own music, in the hopes of creating music for television and motion pictures. Aowl strives to create music that is refreshing, inspiring and stirs positive emotional responses.
w Dondi Iannucci: Dondi is an up-and-coming singer/songwriter, sister of Thomas Iannucci and also living on Kauai. While Dondi pulls inspiration from Hawaii’s very distinct music culture, she strays from the traditional island sounds with her own unique style of acoustic-pop. Her music has been featured on blogs such as Rapzilla and New H2O along side collaborator Illtalian, as well as local media outlets. Dondi is currently doing shows around the state of Hawaii and has new music set to be released this year.
w Joey Charles: Joey Charles is a singer/ songwriter residing on Kauai that loves to work with up and coming local artists, helping them to find their unique voice to share with the world. His recent single “Walls” features local ukulele artist Aldrine Guerrero and can be found on Spotify and wherever digital music is sold.
w D’Lissa Iannucci: D’Lissa Iannucci, mother of Thomas, is a singer/songwriter from the Westside of Kauai who also leads worship at Breath of Life Church. D’Lissa is, along with her good friend Kathy Taylor, the co-founder of Ends of the Earth Productions, the music company putting on Illtalian’s show.
Ends of the Earth Productions is a new company whose intent is to come along side of Kauai’s musical artists — in promotion, concerts, and eventually recording. They aim to preserve authenticity and hope filled messages through New Songs of all types of genres, to bring glory to the Lord.
Thomas Iannucci is particularly delighted the Papa‘a Bays Boys are coming together for this show.
“They’re local legends,” he said.
Iannucci is proud to be the first rapper to win a Hoku and is anxious to share his music and faith with the community.
“We’re going to celebrate and thank Jesus that somehow it happened,” he said.
He said Sunday’s show is a celebration of both winning a Hoku, and his album, “Makana,” which is named in honor of his friend, the late Lucas Makana Riley.
Lucas Riley died in a car crash in 2016 when his car was struck by a drunken driver in San Diego. Riley, a 2010 Kauai High School graduate and graduate of Point Loma Nazarene University, was 24.
“Being able to pay tribute to Lucas in that way was beautifulI’m so thankful to Jesus and everyone who voted for the album, because it felt like the perfect way to honor my friend and one of the best men I knew,” said Iannucci in a previous interview with TGI.
Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the concert starts about 6.
Illtalian merchandise will be available, as well as his CDs.
Tickets are $10 in advance, available at Pietro’s Pizza Kauai, and $15 at the door. Or call 652-2181.