NA LEO PILIMEHANA, which in Hawaiian means the voices blending together in warmth, is the most successful female Hawaiian group in the world. Formed by three childhood friends, Nalani Choy, Lehua Kalima Heine, and Angela Morales, the group had its first hit as seniors in high school, when they entered Hawaii’s youth talent contest with their original song, “Local Boys.” The tune stayed at the top of the Hawaiian charts for months. Stoked by the response, they put out their first album, which included three other original compositions. “Local Boys” won the prestigious Hoku Music Award and became the best-selling single in Hawaii’s history, a record that still stands.
Despite the success of their first album, the trio didn’t make a dime. Discouraged about music as a way to make a living, they decided to get on with other things, like college, jobs, and marriage. About eight years later, they missed working together, and a producer dangled the idea of another album.
In 1993, they released “Friends,” another Hoku Award-winner and a huge hit – so much of a hit that then-Attorney General Janet Reno weighed in when the Hawaii Department of Education tried to ban students from playing the tune at their proms and graduations because it made reference to “God.”
Since 1982, they’ve released 15 CDs, won 22 Hoku Awards, and have been in the top 20 on adult contemporary charts nationally. Na Leo celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2004 with their first DVD release, I Miss You My Hawaii, and a new studio album, Find Harmony, released in the fall of 2004.