Common Kings Announce Sophomore Album ‘CELEBRATION’ & Release Title Track

Common Kings Announce Sophomore Album ‘CELEBRATION’ & Release Title Track

Common Kings have announced their highly anticipated sophomore album ‘CELEBRATION’ – a follow-up to 2017’s GRAMMY-nominated ‘Lost in Paradise’ – due out August 25, 2023 via Island Empire/Mensch House Records.  The record is expected to captivate fans, with the Kings’ seductive island rhythms and pop-infused choruses making the album instantly contagious.  Alongside the announcement, they’ve shared the title track for the album “Celebration (One Shot).”

Listen To “Celebration (One Shot)” Below:

Music is the common bond for the Pacific Islanders that includes Samoan-born Hawaiian lead singer Sasualei “JR. King” Maliga and Hawaii-raised Samoan guitarist Taumata “Mata” Grey; Fiji-born bassist Ivan “Uncle Lui” Kirimaua, and L.A.-born Tongan drummer Jerome “Big Rome” Taito. Together they have transcended their 2011 Polynesian reggae beginnings to achieve pop crossover success.

The new album came about over the course of almost two years that spanned during and after the pandemic. It is the product of various songwriting and recording sessions that took place around the country including Miami, Hawaii, Orange County, Nashville, and L.A.. “We’ve got two albums’ worth of material, 24 songs in all, finished,” explains guitarist Mata about ‘CELEBRATION’, which is the first of two upcoming releases. Adding to the decision to record in so many locations Mata continues, “it was to explore different atmospheres and absorb diverse creative energies.”

On ‘CELEBRATION’, Common Kings kicks off with a groove that evokes JR’s funky James Brown-esq vocals on the dancehall/hip-hop/reggae track “Do My Thing” featuring the Jamaican rising star Royal Blu.  “We wanted to capture the listeners right away,” insists the vocalist. It then turns to vintage ska horns on “Raggamuffin” featuring fellow 2017 Best Reggae Album nominee J Boog.

The title track says it all, it is about taking that “one shot,”  adds Ivan “Uncle Lui,” whose backyard was where the band first met, “It’s a celebration of doing things our way. We’ve made a lot of things happen in an unconventional, unorthodox way. It’s a celebration of where we are today. We’re able to live in so many different musical worlds.”

While the infectious “Came Up” featuring Kabaka Pyramid and SpreadLof is an autobiographical, hip-hop flavored joint that tells the band’s story – “We came up from Hawaii to the streets of L.A./To Miami where the Kings like to play… From the bottom to the top.” Reflecting back Mata says, “That song just came to us in Miami. It’s all about doubling down and betting on ourselves. We put in so much work, we created this lane that never existed. It’s not reggae, it’s not rock, it’s not R&B… It’s just feel-good music.”
JR.’s keening falsetto characterizes the yearning on “Stay with Me,” which offers to fly his lover “to the moon, Saturn and Venus,” while “Wild Out” featuring Big Body Cisco is a full-on, let’s get down and dirty party anthem – “If you wanna/You can take it back to my house.”

“City of Champions,” is an ode to the group’s adopted hometown,  Los Angeles. It was a product of the Miami session with producer Poo Bear (Justin Bieber). “Poo Bear is a good friend of ours, just an amazing singer/songwriter/producer,” explains Mata. “We were just looking for something that represents who we are, where we come from. It shows the love we have for Southern California, a Common Kings signature vibe that’s all our own.”

The album ends with the glorious one-two punch of the old-school dancehall toasting of “Queen Majesty” featuring longtime labelmate Sammy Johnson and The Green, a song made for a booming sound system. And closes with the silky-smooth R&B soul vibe of  “Just One of Those Days” featuring Demarco.
With musical influences that include Van Morrison, Stevie Wonder, George Benson, Jim Croce, Michael Jackson, The Who, Led Zeppelin, Gypsy Kings, Earth Wind and Fire, Bob Marley, Common Kings’ approach brings diverse people together for a good time. There’s also a strong connection with the post-punk ska scene that includes the likes of Sublime, Slightly Stoopid and OGs No Doubt.
It is Jr. King’s vocal range that truly distinguishes Common Kings. “He’s a master impersonator,” says Mata. “He can sing like anyone from Luther Vandross and Prince to Axl Rose and Mick Jagger.”
“We draw from many different kinds of music,” acknowledges Big Rome. “Growing up, I loved the rock-reggae feel.  When I was in high school, I used to love 311, the way they fused the two.”
“We all have diverse musical backgrounds, and bring different elements,” says Ivan aka Uncle Liu, “Which we then fuse together, because Jr. can sing just about anything and everything. Our music has an edge but with a smooth polished overtone.”
“Our take on reggae is more feel-good, fun and loving, relaxed in that Hawaiian way,” says JR “We’re not a political band.”
Reflecting back on the new album JR comments., “It’s a culmination of our careers, jamming 20 years, raising families, living life and making music, all of it coming together and being able to share that with the world.”
‘CELEBRATION’ is just that for Common Kings…a way to toast more than a decade of musical excellence and have a really good time doing it.
Tour Dates:
  • JUL 8, 2023 @ San Diego Bayfest Waterfront Park – San Diego, CA
  • JUL 9, 2023 @ Pacific Feats Festival – Plaza de Cesar Chavez – San Jose, CA
  • SEP 2, 2023 @ The Pacific Amphitheatre –Costa Mesa, CA
  • with Fiji, Sammy Johnson, Jakobs Castle, & Western Conference
  • SEP 9, 2023 – SEP 10, 2023 @ Sutter Health Park – West Sacramento, CA
  • SEP 15, 2023 @ The Cuthbert Amphitheater – Eugene, OR
  • with Steel Pulse and Jakobs Castle
  • SEP 16, 2023 @ Marymoor Park – Redmond, WA
  • OCT 6, 2023 – OCT 8, 2023 @ Reggae Rise Up Music Festival – Las Vegas, NV
  • DEC 7, 2023 – DEC 11, 2023 @ Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya – Unico – Riviera Maya, Q.R.
Additional ‘CELEBRATION’ tour dates to be announced soon.
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