JEROME GREY

BIOGRAPHY


Jerome Grey is a multi-talented musician, entertainer, and composer with a personality that exudes warmth, humor, and excitement. Performing with unparalleled versatility in his stage presence and ability to infuse various musical genres, including jazz, Latin, calypso, country, into his original Polynesian compositions. His unique style has been further influenced by legends such as Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Harry Belafonte, Julio Iglesias, Tony Bennett, Johnny Cash and Sammy Davis.  Jerome traveled throughout the United States, Europe, New Zealand, Asia and the Pacific, inspiring countless artists around the world.

Born in 1947, Jerome became one of the finest entertainers and showmen ever to come from the islands of Samoa.  He found passion for music early in life. Often seen carrying his guitar to school and taking part in talent quests, he also enjoyed entertaining passers-by on the streets of Apia.  His gift of songwriting is what set him apart from the rest and became the vehicle through which he shared his love for Samoa with the world.
 
In 1970, an entrepreneur from Newport Beach, California (Pete Syracuse) saw Jerome perform live for the first time in Samoa.  He was so impressed by his raw talent, that he offered Jerome a contract to sing in the United States.  While performing in California, he sought and received vocal training from Roger Wolfe of Beverly Hills, who also trained the late celebrity Dean Martin’s daughter, Deanna Martin.

Jerome formed a trio called the Samoa Three in 1971 that was managed by Jim Slemons and booked by George Soares & Associates.  They were the first Samoan entertainers to play the elite circuit of Las Vegas, Reno, and Lake Tahoe lounges, opening for comedian Ponce Ponce of Hawaiian Eye TV series and jammed with Fats Domino after hours. Later in 1979, he would assemble a new group named Ava, which would break many barriers and set standards for the next generation of musicians by becoming the first pop group to emerge from Samoa.

In 1977, Jerome and his wife, Emily, moved back to American Samoa where they raised their four children.  There, Jerome performed nightly at his father in law’s restaurant - Soli’s.  During that time, Jerome began to focus more on writing and working on creative arrangements of Samoan music.  Some of the most well-known music he wrote during this time are tunes like Eleni, Naunau I Le Ufi, Siamani, Oute Ofo, Lo’u Sei Oriana, and of course, We are Samoa, a song recognized by many as the unofficial Samoan national anthem and Jerome's most famous composition.  

One of Jerome's career highlights was the honor of performing We Are Samoa before President Carter and the United States Congress at the White House on Capitol Hill in 1980, through the invitation of Congressman Eni Hunkin, and introduction of the 1st Governor of Samoa Peter Tali Coleman.

In 1989, the Grey family moved to Hawai’i from Samoa, where Jerome performed nightly in beautiful Waikiki and recorded several hit albums, including Sweet Lady of Waiahole and Coconut Woman.  Many songs on his albums were instant radio hits and well received throughout Polynesia. Jerome fondly remembers a concert he held in 1991 at the historic Aloha Tower, when one of Hawaii’s famous entertainers, Makaha Sons (featuring the late Israel Kamakawiwaole, a.k.a. “Bruddah IZ”), played as an opening act.

Jerome currently resides in Southern California, taking time to reminisce on his rich history, while at the same time, continuously striving to reinvent himself.  Over the years, he has rightfully earned the respect of his colleagues, and contemporaries with his unforgettable voice, enchanting melodies, and inspiring lyrics.  A family man, musician, entertainer, and composer, he wears many hats, but not confined by labels.  His legacy will continue to be a mainstay both in Polynesia and around the world for decades to come.
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