New Iam Tongi song leaves fans guessing about 'Kiki'

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Oct. 1—The music video is a gorgeous celebration of Oahu's beautiful scenery.

Oldies fans know that Ritchie Valens wrote "Donna " for his girlfriend, whose name was Donna, and that Bill Medley wrote "Little Latin Lupe Lu " about a high school classmate. Malo's biggest hit, "Suavecito, " was inspired by a girl in Richard Bean's algebra class. He never told her he had a crush on her and says that more than 50 years later, she still doesn't know. Rick Springfield's 1981 hit, "Jesse's Girl, " was also inspired by a secret love. All Springfield will say is that neither "Jesse " (not his real name ) nor the woman ever learned that he wrote the song about them.

And so, when one listens to Iam Tongi's newly released song, "Why Kiki ?, " it seems natural to wonder if there is a girl somewhere thinking, "I'm his 'Kiki.' The song's about me."

Asked about it recently, on a call while on tour in Salt Lake City, Tongi chuckled.

"Maybe there is, but it's not really necessarily about that, it's just a story, " he said, deftly dodging a direct question to confirm or deny.

Maybe its better to let a fan or two enjoy their fantasy.

"Why Kiki ?" was officially released Sept. 22. A steady Afro-Caribbean rhythm drives the catchy lament of a man romantically entangled with a woman who delights in sending him mixed messages—"You never call me yours, but you call me 'baby, '" Tongi sings mournfully. Its a feeling that unfortunate people of all ages can relate to.

The music video is a gorgeous celebration of Oahu's beautiful scenery. Tongi and musician CJ Falevai are seen riding in the back of a pickup truck, visiting South Shore scenic spots, driving by hula dancers and going to a luau. Intercut with the scenes of Tongi, Falevai and their friends are clips of a young couple—each time the young man makes a move, the woman deflects it.

"Why Kiki ?" is the latest entry in a whirlwind career that started when Tongi became one of the 12 finalists for Season 21 of "American Idol " in April. In May, he performed for a crowd estimated at more than 14, 000 people at Turtle Bay Resort, then became the "American Idol " Season 21 winner less than a week later.

Since the win, Tongi has performed with fellow "Idol " contestant Oliver Steele, returned to Hawaii for another concert at Turtle Bay in July and released an official studio version of his "Monsters " duet with James Blunt.

"Touring is crazy, but I love it though, " Tongi said, catching up to the present. "It's so much fun because you see the fans and the supporters come out and show love, yeah man. We've played all over Cali, we've played a show in Oregon and in Florida. Right now we're about to go on in Utah, then to Vegas tomorrow, and then I'm hitting Australia and New Zealand—and Indonesia as well."

Here in Hawaii, fans are counting down the days to December, when Tongi will play the Blaisdell Arena Dec. 9, followed by two nights at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center Dec. 12-13.

"That's crazy, " Tongi said regarding his Blaisdell debut. "That's going to be insane. Its such an honor to be playing there."