Few have been as passionate and dedicated as Kevin Iwamoto, about his multi-careers after graduating from high school.
For Iwamoto, widely known and beloved with his short-hand billing, Kevin I, entertainment has been a centerpiece of his island life. But only briefly.
While his musical pendulum swung for about a decade — he was featured vocalist in a popular Hawaii band and as a solo balladeer on several vinyl albums — singing would be an interlude that soon gave way to wider opportunities that enabled him to bank on his savvy as an honor graduate in the University of Hawaii’s TIM (Travel Industry Management ) business school. TIM opened doors to his versatility and success in the domestic and global realm.
That was then, but this leads to the now.
Kevin, who resides in California, has a solid global following because of his expertise, leadership and biz connections via BIZLY Inc., where he serves as Chief Customer Officer.
But his vintage music has been digitally revived, for a new and growing internet crowd particularly during the pandemic. So, when he comes home this week to take part in the Golden Anniversary as a Class of 1972 graduate of Roosevelt High School, he will have many tales to share, from his portfolio of triumphs.
His Rough Rider colleagues – 115, according to his count — didn’t know a singer was in their midst back in the day, because as a student, he had yet to cross that bridge.
But the Roosevelt alums will learn, and receive, newly minted copies of his digitalized CD dubbed “The Best of Kevin I, 1980-1985,” – that convincingly validates the pipes he had in his show biz prime.
In fact, his entertainment spike has triggered a rebirth of his old tunes, which became available online during COVID-19, and new fans from all over the world started ordering his romantic brew of the ‘80s, without ever seeing him in person in a show, or even a video, because most of the YouTube sharing and postings were not part of his tools then. This specialty is the romantic melodies, like “Fairy Tale,” which is probably more popular now, than during his prime, because of online ordering and sharing and buzz.
As a now-celeb in his graduating class, he was asked to sing at the anniversary gala this Friday night (Aug. 19) at the Ala Moana Hotel ballroom.
“Since I don’t sing anymore but they wanted me to, I decided to just gift my fellow RHS alumni with a special CD edition of my “The Best of Kevin I, 1980-1985” digital album.”
Not only that, because the Roosevelt Class of ’70 and ’71 couldn’t enjoy a 50th year party because of COVID restrictions, grads from these two years will join in the ’72 party.
To embellish the songfest, Kevin also invited a pal from the past, who also is a singer, to join him in song. She is Sandy Tsukiyama, class of ’71, who is a onetime performer with the Ebb Tides band and a noted Brazilian musician artist and public radio host.
“I actually mentored Sandy, when she first started singing with the Ebb Tides, and I loaned her my personal mic, which I never do, as I’m a bit of a germaphobe,” said Kevin. “We’ve remained friends and have stayed in touch.”
Clearly, the suggestion to co-feature Tsukiyama at the reunion is a reflection of his aloha, his fellowship and his ability to share and give. That he also personally financed the ordering of the old-new CD is a measure of his generosity.
And no doubt, his signing experience has developed confidence and showmanship whenever he conducts live or virtual workshops for his biz connections via BIZLY Inc., where he serves as Chief Customer Officer.
“By the way, I just got another industry recognition but this one is special because it cites my newfound passion of supporting the API community in terms of education support and advocacy using my global industry platform.”
The accolade, reported in Meetings Today, applauds Kevin’s conscious recognition and giving-back-to-the-community spirit.
The article said, “Responding to the disturbing rash of hate crimes against people of Asian descent in the U.S., Iwamoto is one of several API meetings and events leaders who have stepped up to address both the violence and also counter what is described as the ‘invisibility’ and lack of leadership opportunities for Asians in the industry.”
Further, Kevin also has funded scholarships for junior industry professionals enabling next-gen folks to have access to industry events and grants. He also continues to fund an at-home scholarship endowment for the TIM program, where his biz journey had its roots.
And as a longtime friend, I can attest: Kevin is local to the core, not just with his island pals, but with his community of biz colleagues across the globe. Like, he always brings omiyage for friends and shares the practice when he’s on a work-related trip. It’s a practice engrained in your DNA when you live local, but he frequently spreads the spirit everywhere he goes, too. …
And that’s Show Biz. …