Tyrone Wells just did an Instagram Live tonight to try and bring people together during this crazy time. His music has been the soundtrack to my life; has brought me joy on sad days, smiles on good days and everything in between.
Listening to him sing tonight brought a flood of emotions and allowed me to reflect on a time I’ve tried to block out of my memory.
One of my best friends, Caroline, introduced me to Tyrone Wells’ music when we were 15 years old when he came to play at her high school. Living in a major music city, we often went to his shows around town at Neumos, Chop Suey and other small music venues in Seattle.
Then I went to Hawaii for college and his wife was from the islands so they would do small shows during the holidays for friends and family and it was like a little treat from home. I would listen to his music on repeat. I’ve even had the same alarm clock song for years. I wake up every morning to the lyrics…”You Make the World a Beautiful Place to Be.”
After I graduated, I got into a really unhealthy relationship with someone that took advantage of a young, naive, lost girl. I was a strong independent woman but this man found me when I was at my weakest and manipulated me in a way that I no longer knew who I was. Over about 9 months, I lost my voice and identity, was cut off from my friends and family and was stuck in a really low place. It was an extremely emotionally abusive relationship. Deep down I knew I deserved better but I somehow got to a point where I didn’t know how to get out. I pushed my family away when they tried to help. I had friends that came to visit that didn’t even recognize me. I tried to leave him several times but was always lured back in. I won’t go into details but it was a terrible time in my life.
One day I was talking to Caroline on the phone and she had just come to Oahu for a visit and I only got to see her for a little bit because my boyfriend would accuse me of doing something inappropriate if I didn’t check in and return home as quick as possible. She was bummed we didn’t get to hang out much while she was in town and was telling me that Tyrone Wells was filming a music video in Venice Beach the next day and was looking for extras and that she wished I could fly there to go with her. I then hung up with her and immediately got in a fight with my boyfriend about something ridiculous. I called my mom crying and told her about my conversation with Caroline. Her and my relationship was pretty strained at this point because I was cutting everyone off. But she called me back about 5 minutes later and said to pack my bags because I was on the next flight to LA. So I tweeted Tyrone telling him I was flying all the way from Hawaii to be in the video and at the shoot the next day he goes “Ok, so who flew here from Hawaii?” and I said, “I did! I got in a fight with my boyfriend and hopped on a flight” and he was like that’s rad and put me at the front of the group. It was such a fun day. I turned my phone off so my boyfriend couldn’t ruin my time. Then over the next few days Caroline had a serious talk with me about how I wasn’t the Keili she knew and loved and that I needed to get out of that relationship. She even told me I could live on her couch if it meant I left him. So I went back to Hawaii a few days later, packed up my stuff and moved to California.
I would not have made it through that time in my life if it hadn’t been for my amazing mother, my sweet Caroline and Tyrone Wells.
About a year later, Caroline and I went to see Tyrone at the Roxy in LA and we waited around after the show to say hi. We introduced ourselves and he was like “Oh is your name Hawaiian?” and I said “Yes, I’m actually that girl who flew from Hawaii to be in the music video” and he goes “Oh yeah, what happened to the boyfriend?” And I said, “I dumped him” and he said “Great!”. It felt like one of those full circle moments.
I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve seen him live but I still get chills every single time. His music got me through one of the hardest times in my life. I truly couldn’t thank him enough ( & Mum and Caroline).
Go check out his music. We’re all feeling uneasy during this time and trust me, his music will soothe your soul.