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The Koi Boys talk music, family and New Zealand fans

We sit down with the Kiwi sensations who captivated audiences on The Voice Australia.
The Koi Boys

It’s been a whirlwind year for Kiwi singing trio Kevin Keepa, Danny Faifai and Ngahere ‘Nuz’ Ngatai – better known as The Koi Boys.

After becoming a viral hit thanks to their impressive audition for The Voice Australia, where they wowed all five celebrity judges, the group were promptly signed by Universal Music Australia and headed into the studio to work on what would become their debut album, Meant to Be.

Featuring a mix of covers and their own original songs, Meant to Be marks the culmination of a long journey for the trio, who have been singing together as a group since 2008.

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Originally from New Zealand, Danny, Kevin and Nuz honed their performance skills at Gold Coast restaurant Koi – which also gave them the inspiration for their group name. After a scout team for The Voice found a clip of them performing ‘Sh-Boom’ online, they were encouraged to audition – and from there, the trio’s vocal talents and smooth moves earned them a spot on Jessie J’s team.

“Everyone was so happy,” Danny says of the reaction back home to their appearance on The Voice. “Before we went on it was the worst kept secret, and when we did go on we went from 500 likes on Facebook to 70,000 overnight. It was huge.”

However, it wasn’t to last, as despite their promising start and continuing popularity, Jessie axed The Koi Boys just before the first live shows.

“That was tough – and tough for our kids, too,” says Danny. “We were famous for three weeks over there, and then we got let go.”

The Koi Boys have released their debut album, Meant to Be.

But there was a silver lining for the group, as Universal reached out and signed them based on their buzz-worthy early performances.

“It wasn’t supposed to happen that way – they usually wait till the top four is chosen, so it was kind of a new thing for them,” says Nuz.

“We were shocked when the offer came through, so surprised – but pleasantly surprised,” adds Kevin.

With just 10 days to record the album, the boys put their heads down and got to work, adding in everything from Drake and Meghan Trainor covers to their own intensely personal original material. Title track ‘Meant to Be’ was written by Danny for his wife, Waiata, while the Nuz-penned song ‘Angels Have To Fly’ was inspired by his late cousin.

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Family is very important to the trio, with Danny revealing that their loved ones “are so excited” about The Koi Boys’ success.

“My Nan can’t stop telling every person that comes into her household [about us],” says Nuz.

“All our families are rapt, they love talking about it – we don’t even need to put anything on social media these days!”

The band has even taken time out to perform at Danny’s and Kevin’s children’s schools, where The Koi Boys enjoyed a hero’s welcome.

“We visit them at their schools and it feels so good to give back – the reaction is amazing,” says Danny.

With Meant to Be now out in stores and online and an Auckland show scheduled for November 18 (their first New Zealand performance in over a decade), the boys aren’t taking anything for granted.

“It’s about what we do from here, and what we do with this little window [of opportunity] we have,” Danny says.

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