Rhythm Of The Rain
Hawai‘i’s very own boy band, Crossing Rain, kicks off its West Coast tour — “Nice To Meet You!” — at Blaisdell Concert Hall this month.
It’s been less than a year since Crossing Rain made its debut, and already the Hawai‘i-based boy band is making waves across the islands.
Wyatt “Monarch” Kaneshiro, Jorden “J” Kealoha-Yamanaka, Evan “Haru” Doria, Devin Teruya, Asher Morgado and Shotaro Takasawa performed to a packed house in November during their debut concert, and they show no signs of slowing down. Since first meeting each other in March 2021, they have been practicing and rehearsing, eventually releasing their first full-length album, DREAMS, in December. It was a lot of hard work and long hours, but well-worth the effort as evidenced by the large following they’ve already garnered.
Due to COVID, Crossing Rain hasn’t been able to meet with fans as much as they’d like, which is why the guys are excited to take advantage of any opportunity to interact with the people who have shown them so much support over the last year. Known affectionately as “XR,” the group will take to the stage once again Feb. 26 at Blaisdell Concert Hall to kick off its West Coast “Nice To Meet You!” tour. While some compare this up- and-coming troupe to Korean pop groups, they’re anything but. The six members (ranging in age from 13 to 21 years old) perform in styles from pop and ballads to a little bit of rock, hip-hop and rap. So, there’s some dissonance to classifying them as a K-pop-esque group.
“We don’t like to label what genre we do because we don’t want to box ourselves in. We explore many styles and want to always be evolving as artists and performers,” the group says.
Kaneshiro, Kealoha-Yamanaka, Doria, Teruya, Morgado and Takasawa are natural-born performers, and all share a love of music and dance that was instilled into them at young ages. They have proven that grit and determination, coupled with passion, can lead to something great.
“Through our journey, we want to motivate others to work hard and be positive,” they say.
Group leader Kaneshiro — the expert in hip-hop and rap — produced and wrote music in high school, and got introduced to dance thanks to his mom (a ballerina).
“She raised us (me and my siblings) on shows like So You Think You Can Dance,” he recalls.
For lead vocalist Kealoha-Yamanaka, a lot of inspiration comes from his family (his dad is award-winning local musician Mark Yamanaka), but he notes that The King of Pop had a lot to do with it, too.
“Michael Jackson inspired me to pursue music and dance as a passion,” he says.
Doria’s experience, meanwhile, is in the realm of choreography, and the Studio 808 dancer happened upon the art form “on a whim,” to hear him tell it.
“From that point on, I fell in love with the expression and movement,” he says. “The art of dance brings out my creative and emotional side.”
Teruya, also a member of Studio 808, is no stranger to the entertainment industry. He was a finalist for an international artist audition for a K-Pop mega group, but it was show tunes and weight loss that set him on this path.
“I became inspired to sing when I saw my first Broadway musical,” he recalls. “I love the drama of the songs and the dynamics of the singer’s vocal abilities. I got into to dance because my mom involuntary made me take dance class to lose weight, and I ended up falling in love with it.”
Morgado — the group’s other choreographer-minded member — has experience with Kāne‘ohe-based 24-7 Danceforce, and learned how to dance thanks to his sister, who would take him to all of her classes.
“It’s my favorite way to communicate,” he explains.
Takasawa, a native of Japan, moved to O‘ahu four years ago and started taking dance classes — “I fell in love with it,” he says. The decision to enroll wasn’t out of the blue, though, as his dad was a J-pop star in a band called TOKIO.
Those looking forward to the Feb. 26 concert can take a listen to DREAMS on Amazon Music, Apple Music or Pandora. The nine-song album harmoniously blends some original compositions — Kealoha-Yamanaka penned Water and Not My Type, the latter of which he co-wrote with Kaneshiro — with a handful of tracks featuring contributions from American recording artist and Grammy-nominated producer Chris Sernel and Jason Blume, who has written for the likes of Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears.
The talent behind each track is matched with the heart and soul Crossing Rain puts into each performance, and the audience will feel that energy within the walls of Blaisdell Concert Hall later this month. Most of all, though, Crossing Rain hopes to share aloha with Hawai‘i and beyond through their shared love of music and dance, which is why the group’s name is more than appropriate.
“In the Hawaiian culture, rain represents blessings and nourishment,” the guys explain. “We want to cross oceans and continents to bring that blessing to the world.”
To purchase tickets for “Nice To Meet You!,” visit crossingrain.com.