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Home for the Holidays

[courtesy photo]

Gary King was born in Fagatogo and graduated from Manumalo Baptist School and Marist Brothers High School. He went on to become the first and only Samoan to attend and graduate from the Berklee School of Music in Boston. This was after he received his bachelor's degree at American University.

The Samoan musician, now based in Philadelphia, is coming home for the holidays and one school is taking advantage of it.

Pacific Horizons is in need of a full basketball court with a roof and they have solicited King's help in hosting a fundraiser for the school next Friday at Maliu Mai.

Banned from the Sun, a local band from Aua, will accompany King on stage.

According to King's sister, Tofoitaufa Sandra King Young, her brother grew up appreciating music and learning by ear, the usual way Samoans do.

At 8 years old, Gary won a talent show and later performed regularly with the Harry Miller Band at the Rainmaker Hotel on Fridays.

Berklee School of Music is the premier music college and performing arts conservatory. Admission is very competitive and the school selects only a limited number of students into its programs.

Tofoitaufa said Gary initially applied and was turned down but he persisted and when he went to apply a second time, he was accepted.

Gary's music — jazz, soul, and rhythm and blues — can be heard on iTunes, Spotify, etc.

He is a songwriter/ producer who will only be headlining two shows — one here and another in Apia, Samoa — during the holidays.

He's not here to promote his music; he's here to spend the holidays with his family.

​According to Tofoitaufa, Gary is an exciting young singer, songwriter and producer with a warm and engaging improvisational style. A Samoan-American influenced by the great jazz, soul and pop vocalists, he brings his versatile voice and considerable gifts to the music.

“Gary has contemporary sensibilities,” she said. “He likes to play with time and take risks when he sings, sometimes moving a tune in unexpected directions — just the sort of thing to keep graying jazz doctors young!”

Tofoitaufa shared that her little brother has worked as a session vocalist, opened for Stevie Wonder and other major-label artists, and has been a member of the Andrae Crouch Gospel Choir, which in 2009 performed at Michael Jackson's funeral ceremonies. 

King has composed for television and films, including "All About Us" and "Prom Night."

His music can be heard on cable networks like Starz, VH1 Classic, Encore, DirectTV, FX, Chiller, and InDemand.