His name was given to him by his grandfather. He was told it meant ‘day of glory’. But to the contrary, Michael Kalaho’onani Keale came from humble beginnings. He grew up in Kailua, O‘ahu during the 1950's. His mother was raised in the cane fields of Kaeleku, Maui and his father, on the beaches of Waikiki. Though coming from very diverse backgrounds, Michael’s parents loved to entertain and had a passion for all types of music. This same passion they passed on to their children. Songs like "Baby Kalai", "God Bless My Daddy", and "Pua Carnation” were the fabric of Michael’s early life and reminds him of a unique time when life was simple and somewhat measured.
Another one of Michael’s early influences in music was his Uncle Wilfred “Moe” Keale. Moe started playing music in his teens and eventually became an accomplished actor and a Nā Hōkū Hanohano award-winning musician. Uncle Moe became a role model for Michael, his brother Bill, his cousins, Nalani, Walt Mix-Kealekupuna and Skippy and IZ Kamakawiwo’ole.
At the age of 56, Michael released his debut album Remember in July, 2010. Featuring Michael’s crooning, silken bass vocals, Remember received positive response from fans and critics for its mix of music from Hawai‘i’s past and present. Songs like “Ahulili”, and “Kamalani O Keaukaha”, as well as traditional English standards such as “Waikīkī” and “The Way You Look Tonight”, earned Michael two prestigious Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award Nominations in 2011 for “Island Album of the Year”, and “Most Promising Artist”.
In 2015, Michael released his second album “No Ka Beauty”, featuring ten tracks of traditional and contemporary favorites including “ Pua `Ahihi”, ‘Beautiful Kahana” and “Ka Ua Loku” along with “E Ku`u Lei”, “The Nearness of You/Ei Nei” and “Pikake”. This album was enthusiastically received by fans and critics, and garnered him three nominations at the 2016 Na Hoku Hanohano awards for “Male Vocalist of the Year”, Island Music Album of the Year” and “Best Liner Notes”. In 2018 , Michael is planning for the release of his third album , “Come Back Home” with the title track composed by Michael. He’ll include some family favorites and a few surprises as well!
Michael has entertained at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel and Marriott’s Moana Terrace in Waikiki. He has also shared stages with his cousins Iz and Skippy Kamakawiwo’ole, Uncle Moe Keale, Dennis Kamakahi, Melveen Leed, Martin Pahinui, Cyril Pahinui, and George Kuo, just to name a few. Michael continues to share his aloha on the U.S. mainland’s East and West Coasts capturing the hearts of his audiences there. Back home on the island of Kaua’i, Michael performs at the Tahiti Nui Bar and Restaurant in Hanalei, the Hukilau Lanai in Kapaa, the St. Regis Hotel and Hanalei Bay Resort in Princeville.