Leylani is a Maui-based singer and songwriter with a smooth, sultry style. She has been writing and performing in the Reggae/Pop genre on stages in Hilo, Kona, Molokai, Honolulu and Maui since 2006, and most recently Mexico. Her stage presence is commanding and immediately draws her fans out to dance.
Born “Leilani Marie Stark” in 1988 in Oklahoma to a high chief’s daughter from Samoa and an American artist/writer/teacher, she developed a passion for music in her grandparents’ music room while memorizing songs in musicals such as “Phantom of the Opera”, “Grease” and “Evita”. In elementary school in Kihei, Maui, she was trained with the TrebleMakers choir and performed at local venues. Then, she and her best friend became the musical duo known as “Hapalicious” and began writing and performing their own songs at schools and events from the Marriott Luau to the Maui Arts and Cultural Center with the Brown Ohana. Her biggest musical influences were Celine Dion, Selina, and Mariah Carey. “I used to listen to their songs and sing along over and over on my microphone as a child every day after school”.
Leilani’s first professional venture was to join the band “One Inity” at the age of 15 as their lead female singer. She co-wrote and composed “Greener” on One Inity’s first album. “Greener” became the most requested song on the Big Island within three days of the album’s release, and soon became a worldwide hit from the Caribbean to South America, Africa to Tahiti, making the top 100 list on the World/Reggae Billboard Charts.
However, Leilani felt her opportunities growing elsewhere and left the band to go solo as “Leylani” in 2011. Leylani and her new solo team produced and released “Meant to Be” in 2011, and a remake of “It Must Have Been Love” in 2012. Both made it to the top five in Hawaii’s playlists.
With One Inity, she opened for Kymani Marley, Ekolu, Slightly Stoopid, Iration and
Ali Campbell among many others. Frequent gigs with the band all over Hawaii have honed her performing skills, but taxed her vocal cords. Training with Lani Star gave her tools to expand her range and handle the stress of non-stop singing. Since her solo launch she has recorded an Ep, and has been featured in singles with Koa Hewahewa and Ikaika Beamer. She also did a collaboration with Jordan T.
“I hear so many great things from my fans about how my music affects their lives and how they can relate to the stories I share in my music. It has really made me conscious of how I live my life and want to be a positive influence.”
As Leylani works on songwriting and making more music, she remains the consummate performer, sharing her love of island culture as a hula dancer at the “Grand Luau of Honua’ula” at the Grand Wailea. She has been a professional luau performer since the age of 14. “My dream, though, has always been to be a singer. Not necessarily to be famous or rich, but to live life doing what I love. That’s my ultimate goal. I’m so appreciative of having the family support to help me follow my dreams!”