By JERRY TSINABI
SHOOTING to fame in 2014 with the hit single Meri Manus, Riki Kali became a household name.
But all that came crashing down when he started having relationship problems with his former partner. Kali is now back and has turned a new leaf.
Kali, 30, is from Kelekapana and Babaka in Central and has never attended any music school. His love for music began at a very young age in church when living with his family in Madang. His family were very strong believers and singing was a big part of their fellowship.
Kali’s main inspiration came from his father, Wavala Kali, who was a former PNG athlete.
Wavala was not a singer but a PNG athlete to the Olympics, Commonwealth Games and Pacific Games.
“My dad used his talent of running to travel the world and I want to do the same with my talent of music. I want to live a legacy behind with my music,” the young Kali said.
“Despite all challenges and problems I faced, I believe that I can do it and use all my circumstances to excel to greater heights.”
Kali is very versatile in singing. He said he liked different genres from different eras and even admired traditional PNG music.
He is very passionate about music and loves writing his own material.
Kali believes that music is very emotional.
“If it is a love song, how do I get it across? I have to feel the music myself before people can also feel it. Without emotions it is just noise.
“Some of my international idols include Rod Stewart, Lucky Dube, Michael Jackson, John Farnham, John Meyer and Michael Bolton.
“I love them because their lyrics are so relatable. Their songs are about everyday life and feelings. A single sentence in a song means so much. Their songs draw out emotions.”
Kali said after the success of Meri Manus, produced by Toxic Mahn, in 2014 and 2015 his music career came to a standstill.
“I was having relationship problems with my de-facto partner whom I had a beautiful daughter with, Nesian, who is four.
“The problems went as far as the courts and I thank Twivey Lawyers, Tiffany Twivey and the Twivey family for helping me through that long and stressful period of my life,” Kali said.
Kali said such was life, we all make mistakes but that did not mean the end for us.
“When we fall we must rise up again and move on with our head held up high putting our faith in God that nothing is impossible if we believe in the potential power he has placed within each one of us.
“I am now happy that I have a second chance in my life,” Kali said.
Kali said being a public figure was not easy.
“After having problems in the past it made me reluctant to come out again.
“My current partner is the one motivating me and encouraging me to come out. I acknowledge her and thank her for motivating me.”
Kali recently released a new single titled You are my one desire with his wife providing backups in the chorus. The song has been playing on air in New Zealand.
“My wife and I wanted to see if there were different ways we could bring out our music. We managed to outsource a network with NiuFM in New Zealand and sent a 60-second sneak peak.
“They liked it and requested for the whole song. We sent it through and they featured it in their ‘New and fresh’ programme,” Kali said.
As of May 16, when Kali’s song debuted on air, Kali officially became an international musician.
The song was also released to PNG FM and is currently playing on radio stations in the country.
Kali said that he had an interview with the radio station pending and was very excited about it.
“NiuFM has also requested for a couple more songs to be sent over. They believe we have potential.
“I believe if this works out for me, it will pave the way for other Papua New Guinean artists,” Kali said.
“You are my one desire it is a reggae song and features Queen OD, Queen of Diamonds, which is also the name of my new album.
“Queen of Diamonds is my wife Tonye Tamuno.
“I have very interesting songs that will come out and trust me this songs will be sweet, but they have not been produced yet because producing music costs money.
“I appeal to all interested business houses or individuals to assist me financially in getting my songs out there to the international scene.
“In return I will be doing branding and marketing to promote your products. Watch and ride with me on this exciting journey. It will be a win-win for all parties.
“I am very overwhelmed and speechless. I am very humbled and thank God for making the impossible possible in my life which has only just begun,” Kali said.
“You are my one desire was based on real life situations people faced, especially in boy-girl relationships.
“We sometimes overreact to little problems and slam doors, say silly things that mean nothing. The song speaks of making up with romance and having fun, telling a woman how you feel about her.”
Kali said he had disagreements with his wife Queen OD and he was humble enough to admit it.
“I admit I face problems a lot but I know it will be better soon.
“The song is not just a song. All lovers going through relationship problems can relate to the song.
“And the style and genre of music I chose to perform the song in makes you feel happy and good,” Kali said.
In 2014 and 2015 Kali was fortunate to be the ambassador for the Bank of Papua New Guinea and all partner financial institutions to roll out the savings campaign for young minds.
This brought Kali to remote areas of PNG entertaining and inspiring children.
“I went out of my way to make them happy, to entertain and inspire them.
“BSP even opened children’s savings accounts for free. I even sponsored accounts for children to have access to savings.
“Children there did not watch television, they only heard voices on the radio.
“When I started singing children came running up to me asking for autographs and shaking hands. It was something special,” Kali said.
In 2016 and 2017 he performed for the Port Moresby Rotary Club playing at the main fundraiser twice at the Stanley Hotel. Kali is one who loves to play his music for a cause.
Kali said he respected all other Papua New Guinean musicians and even loved listening to their music.
“Everyone is unique and equal. Do not give up and keep working harder. We must all keep working harder and helping each other; that is the way to go. Always challenge yourself to be better than yourself.
“I thank all legendary PNG musicians without whom, PNG music would not be where it is today,” he said.
Kali thanked his wife, Tamuno, for standing by his side through the tough times.
“I also thank my family and friends and not forgetting my big time fans for not giving up on me.
It is together that we can do it,” Kali said.
“I also thank my producer Emmanuel Muganawa aka Toxic Mahn under Panakatsu Recording Studios. Toxic Mahn is a very humble man to work with. He respects the ideas of artists. He is one of the best producers in Papua New Guinea and the Pacific. His level of sound is too good,” Kali said.
“I know I made mistakes. I have learned from my mistakes. I believe it is a new day to stand up move on and excel in life,” Kali said.
Kali urged all leaders to use music as a tool for change.
“Music can heal people mentally. Music changes mindsets and influences attitude.
“Our mind is where everything starts and music can instantly change our minds.
“Mind controls the behaviour and so a song that can change minds can change behaviour,” Kali said.
By JERRY TSINABI