It was the song he wrote to win her back, so when Jewels Rapira heard her former boyfriend Kale Simpson singing “her” song on New Zealand's Got Talent, she broke down in tears.
Charming the judges with his amazing smile and phenomenal talent, Kale (17) performed the self-penned track Confusion on the hit talent show – a very personal song about his and Jewels’ break-up.
As well as getting him through to the semi-final round, Kale had previously serenaded Jewels with the same song in order to win her back after a fight. To hear it on TV was an emotional experience for Jewels (18), but rather than being mad at her ex-boyfriend, she couldn’t be prouder of Kale and says the tune is his lucky charm.
“It’s definitely a special song,” she smiles. “We’d had a really big fight and we’d broken up for a bit. He wrote that song for me, so hearing it again was hard.”
Kale hadn’t told Jewels he was singing Confusion, so she was just as surprised as everyone else when he started belting out the original song. “I hadn’t talked to him for a while and then he came on and I was just so surprised. I went all hot and sweaty. I couldn’t really handle it,” she remembers.
For Kale, performing the song – which describes his attempts to win Jewels back after making mistakes in their relationship – was just as hard as it was for Jewels to hear. “It’s a pretty personal song,” he says.
“It was the way I felt at the time. I just tried to put my feelings onto paper. “I know that it was hard for Jewels to hear. It was a little too much for her to handle. “We went through heaps together and there are definitely still feelings there, so it is understandable that she’d be upset. But she told me I did a good job, though!”
Even though the pair – who both live in the small Taranaki town of Waitara – are no longer together, they remain extremely close and Jewels is Kale’s biggest supporter. However, it’s taken her some time to be comfortable with the levels of adoration Kale’s getting.
“I deleted my Facebook profile for a while,” Jewels admits. “I was too emotional and his page kept popping up with people commenting things like ‘Will you marry me?’ and ‘I love you’. That was pretty hard to deal with.”
Kale’s been writing songs for eight months and only started singing last year when a music teacher at Waitara High School overheard him and encouraged him to enter the school’s Battle of the Bands competition.
Kale says song writing is how he’s come to deal with his feelings and emotions. That, and it keeps him out of trouble – much to his mum’s delight.
“The whole family is pretty stoked about it all,” he grins. “My friends give me a lot of crap about the whole New Zealand’s Got Talent thing. But that’s just my mates. They’re funny and I know they’ve got my back with it all.”
With his wide grin and good looks, Kale did a fine job of setting girls’ hearts aflutter with his first performance and he aims to do the exact same thing during his semi-final. He’s even getting used to the attention when people recognise him on the street.
“I’ll go out and people will ask if I’m Kale from NZGT, and they ask for pictures and get me to sign stuff, and I’m like, ‘Wow’. “It was pretty funny at first, but now I’m taking it seriously. I think I could do this for a job!”
With the judges narrowing down the competition to the top talent for the semi-final rounds, Kale knows who his biggest competition in the show is – Sonny Bill Williams lookalike Tawaroa Kawana
(17) from Palmerston North. “We both have a pretty similar look and sound, so he’ll be hard to beat,” says Kale.
While he’s looking forward to his semi-final performance on the show, Kale is already planning for his future in writing and recording music. “I want platinum!” he laughs. “I want to get my songs out there for the world to hear.”
And Jewels says she’ll be there every step of the way. “I’m so glad we’ve got this great relationship now,” she says. “He’s got the whole package really, so I’m sure he’ll go far in the industry.”