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Mai Home Run

WATCH: American Idol winner Iam Tongi surprises the Mai Home Run

Iam Tongi gave Randy the shock of his life when he appeared in studio.
29 June 2023 5:30PM

'This has made my year!'

Randy and Desch were straight up lost for words when an interview Tylie said she organised with Katchafire turned out to be a surprise chat with American Idol winner Iam Tongi.

The Hawaii native recently announced his first-ever New Zealand show, joining the lineup for Eden Festival - Aotearoa's first music festival to blend the hypnotic rhythms of Afrobeats, Amapiano, Reggae and R&B.

'We followed your audition, all the way to the finals. We cried at your audition, cried at your finals. And now you're here,' Desch said as the Mai Home Run made their introductions.

Always humble, when asked how life has changed since winning American Idol last month the 18-year-old said 'I feel like I'm normal. I'm not like famous or whatever. But it's cool to see everyone come out in support.'

As for the role his family has played in his journey so far, he said 'it's just a Polynesian thing where families are so big, everything has to do with your mom and you're always going to make your family proud. My family plays a really big role in my life. I'm thankful for my mom for everything, and my dad as well.'

A diverse musician who covers off a bunch of different genres, Tongi doesn't like getting 'put in a box'.

'I like having space for creativity. You do what you want and do what you love and just not have to think about it. Just have fun.'

In terms of advice for aspiring musicians he said 'just get out there and do it. For a lot of us, especially Polynesians, we're too shamed. We don't want to get shamed or we're too prideful. Just take a shot, take a chance.'

The Mai Home Run then gave Iam a quick Pacific Island Pop Quiz, and before wrapping the interview Producer Tylie asked if we can expect new music any time soon.... check out the full chat with the inspirational uso up top and make sure you check him out at Eden Festival! Full details below.