Kealoha is the first Poet Laureate of Hawai`i. As an internationally acclaimed poet and storyteller, he has performed throughout the world -- from the White House to the `Iolani Palace, from Brazil to Switzerland. He is the first poet in Hawai`i's history to perform at a governor's inauguration, and in 2010 he was selected as a master artist for a National Endowment for the Arts program. In the 7 years that he has represented Hawai`i at the National Poetry Slam, he has performed on the finals stage 4 times, was ranked in the top ten of the nations best poets in 2007, and was honored as a "National Slam Legend" in 2010. He is the founder of HawaiiSlam, Youth Speaks Hawai`i (2-Time International Champions), and First Thursdays (the largest registered slam poetry competition in the world with an average attendance of 500+). Kealoha has served as Hawai`i’s SlamMaster since 2003, and has been on the Artists in the Schools roster since 2005. He has featured at hundreds of live venues throughout the world including the Nuyorican poets cafe (New York City), the Bowery Poetry Club (New York City), the Green Mill (Chicago), the Schiffbau (Zurich, Switzerland), the Rokerij (Amsterdam, Netherlands), the Bienal do Ibirapuera (Sao Paulo, Brazil), and the 2007 NFL Pro Bowl halftime show. In the genre of storytelling, he has gained national recognition by showcasing at high profile events such as the National Storytelling Network Conference, the Bay Area Storytelling Festival, and the Honolulu Storytelling Festival.
Kealoha was featured on HBO’s Brave New Voices series presented by Russel Simmons, and he is the poetic vocalist for Henry Kapono’s “Wild Hawaiian Experience” (nominated for a Grammy). In the literature world, his poetry has been printed by various publishers including Bamboo Ridge, Real Word Magazine, and Auckland University Press. His poetry performances have also been recorded on albums such as Hapa’s “Maui” (winner of 4 Na Hoku Hanohano awards and the Hawai`i Music Award for “Album of the Year”), Henry Kapono's "Henry," the Mana Maoli compilation (featuring Jack Johnson and John Cruz), and a full-length spoken word CD entitled Kealoha. He has performed 4 times on the “World’s Greatest Poetry Slam” DVD series (2004, 2005, 2007, 2008), was featured in the film "Get a Job" starring Willie K and Eric Gilliom, and starred in the movie “Hawai`i Slam: Poetry in Paradise." Kealoha has made dozens of television appearances, including two performances for the Na Hoku Hanohano Awards, PBS's Long Story Short (with Leslie Wilcox), and the State of Hawai`i’s “Can’t Fool the Youth” anti-smoking campaign that he wrote, performed, and co-directed.
Kealoha has shared the stage with Kenny Loggins (Multi-Platinum/Multi-Grammy Winner), Jack Johnson (Multi-Platinum Recording Artist), Ben Harper (Multiple Grammy Winner), Willie Nelson (Multi-Platinum/Multi-Grammy Winner), Damian “Junior Gong” Marley (Multiple Grammy Winner), Jason Mraz (Multi-Platinum/Multi-Grammy Winner), Michael Franti (Spearhead), Don Carlos (Reggae Legend), Konishiki (Champion Sumo Wrestler), Medusa (Grammy Winner), and countless numbers of slam poetry superstars. He has also collaborated with artists such as Henry Kapono (Grammy Nominee), Hapa (Multiple Na Hoku winners), Makana (Slack Key Virtuoso), Willie K (Grammy Nominee), Mick Fleetwood (Multi-Platinum/Multi-Grammy Winner), Taimane Gardner (`Ukulele Virtuoso), and Jason Scott Lee (Actor). Finally, he has conducted workshops at over 200 distinct schools, libraries, prisons, and community centers throughout his career (including a Master’s Workshop at the Bamboo Ridge Writer’s Institute) alongside writing leaders such as Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3), Maxine Hong Kingston (The Woman Warrior), and Witi Ihimaera (The Whale Rider).
Beyond poetry, Kealoha co-directed a sold out 1,400-seat show of the Vagina Monologues at Hawai`i Theatre (featuring luminaries such as Lois-Ann Yamanaka, Nora Okja Keller, and Joy Harjo), and was commissioned to design and teach a full summer school course in Performing Arts at Punahou School. He also co-wrote and played the lead role in a hip-hop theatre production entitled Chase, which sold out on every night of its original and encore runs. To serve the community, he sits on the Board of Directors for the Hawai`i People's Fund, a grassroots non-profit involved in activist-advised grantmaking. Kealoha graduated with honors from MIT with a degree in Nuclear Physics (and a minor in writing), served as a business consultant in San Francisco, and played around as a surf instructor prior to becoming a professional poet in 2002.