A few years ago, a group of Polynesian students attending Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa linked up for a few jam sessions at a random family member's house and soon after, the rest was history. Thanks to mutual friend turned guitarist, Taumata Grey aka T Grey, the group of pupils have since then gone on to form one of the most popular pop/reggae bands in recent years. Now known as Common Kings, the OC band is carrying some serious momentum coming fresh off their Summer Reflections Tour with multi-platinum girl group, Fifth Harmony, while embarking on a brand new tour coinciding with the release of their most recent single, “Ain't No Stopping.”
“We all lived in and around the Costa Mesa, Garden Grove and Newport Beach areas while attending OCC. Being Polynesian, reggae music was naturally the first songs we jammed at all of our jam sessions,” the band says via email while on the road in Tahiti. “Even though our musical backgrounds were so diverse, we found a common ground in reggae music.” Their laid-back approach to their music with a catchy upbeat sound has earned them requests to play in front of fans all over the country and various parts of the world. Their pop sound is heavily influenced by their musical upbringing, which consists of reggae, rock and R&B, making them appealing to audiences of multiple musical preferences. With a constant grind determined to never become complacent with small success, Common Kings have their eyes set on reaching the top and have no plans on stopping until they get there. “We feel in order to do well in this music industry, you have to ALWAYS be on the grind,” says the band.
This mentality ultimately landed Common Kings a spot as direct support for Billboard chart-topping solo artist and actor, Justin Timberlake on his 2014 “The 20/20 Experience World Tour.” This tour took the band into uncharted land as they played sold out venues in Australia and New Zealand for the first time. “Going on tour with Justin taught us a lot!! For where he is in this industry, Justin has to be one of the most humble and down to earth dudes we've met and his entire team from the band to production all embodied that same sense of humility. We basically came away thinking that if somebody who is killing it on so many levels and is basically at the top of this industry can be that humble and down to earth, everyone in between that hasn't accomplished nearly as much as he has, essentially has no reason to be anything different.” The band has also shared the stage with mega recording artists such as UB40, Brian McKnight and Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas. They also recently provided direct support for Iration at the Orange County Fair this past summer.
Currently riding the independent success of over 350,000 downloads of their EP's and singles, Common Kings have plans to release their much-anticipated debut album later this year under their own label. As for the reasoning behind naming the first single of the album and forthcoming tour “Ain't No Stopping,” the band explained, “We've been through a lot in the last four years as Common Kings. As is the case with a lot of struggling bands, you reach a point where what was once a light at the end of the tunnel all of a sudden dims to a flicker so to speak. This single and tour is a re-enlistment if you will, of our commitment to each other, our team, our fans and our families who have unconditionally supported us from the beginning, that we are still all in!”
As the band prepares to kick off the Ain't No Stopping Fall Tour this upcoming weekend, JR King (vocals), T Grey (guitar), Lui Kirimaua (bass), and Jerome Taito (drums) want to assure fans and supporters that they have no plans of slowing down any time soon. “Our journey has taken us all over the spectrum of musical genres in respect to artists and bands we've toured with and opened for,” the bands says. “But we feel that we are barely scratching the surface of where we can eventually end up, as long as we never rest on our laurels.”
Common Kings perform on Saturday, October 3 at Club Nokia at 8:00 p.m. with Sammy J and Tomorrows Bad Seeds. $20. All Ages.