The Essential Advent Calendar – December 5: American Idol Winner Iam Tongi Releases ‘An Iam Tongi Christmas’ EP

Iam Tongi, the groundbreaking winner of American Idol Season 21 and viral sensation, is spreading holiday cheer with the release of his Christmas EP, An Iam Tongi Christmas, which dropped on November 24, 2023.

Iam Tongi expressed his excitement about the upcoming release, saying, “The holiday season is a time of joy and togetherness, and I’m thrilled to share these special moments with my fans through the magic of music.”

The EP features three heartwarming tracks close to Tongi’s heart: ‘Mele Kalikimaki’, ‘The Christmas Song’, and ‘White Christmas’. To accompany the holiday release, fans can look forward to a set of lyric videos to follow.

Iam Tongi made history as the first Pacific Islander to capture the coveted title of American Idol. His incredible journey on the show touched the hearts of millions, with his audition video amassing over 200 million views. Although he famously told the Idol judges that he and his family had been “priced out of paradise,” he is now set to make a triumphant return to his roots in Hawaii.

Iam will be headlining three remarkable homecoming concerts, collectively titled ‘Yessah: Iam Tongi Returns to Hawaii’, organised by Rick Bartalini Presents. The first show will be held on December 9 at the grand reopening of the 7,000-seat Blaisdell Arena in Honolulu. Tongi will then continue with two more shows on December 12 and 13 at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. These concerts hold special significance, as a portion of the proceeds will be donated to assist those affected by the devastating wildfires in Maui.

“These homecoming performances are very special to me,” says Tongi about returning to his home state. “It feels incredible to return to Hawaii to perform for the people who have shown me so much love and support.”

For more information on tickets and touring updates, visit HERE or follow @wtongi.

‘Yessah: Iam Tongi Returns to Hawaii’ Tour Dates: 
9/12 – Honolulu, HI, Neal S Blaisdell Center 
12/12 – Kahului, HI, Maui Arts & Cultural Center
13/12 – Kahului, HI, Maui Arts & Cultural Center

Hailing from Kahuku, Hawaii, Iam Tongi etched his name in history as the first person from Hawaii and the first Pacific Islander to win the star-finding tv show, American Idol. With a voice that effortlessly tugs at heartstrings and a mastery of instruments including the ukulele, piano, and guitar, Iam Tongi captivated audiences and judges from the very first note of his profoundly moving audition where he dedicated a touching rendition of James Blunt’s ‘Monsters’ to his late father. The heartfelt performance garnered a standing ovation from the judges, catapulting him into the realms of viral stardom. His audition quickly surpassed 100 million views on YouTube, securing his place as the most viral artist in Idol history.

Iam Tongi’s roots run deep in the Hawaiian, Samoan, and Tongan culture, where he was immersed in a world of music from a young age. As his natural-born gifts became known, his father, recognizing his innate talent, spent his holiday paycheck on a guitar when Tongi was just thirteen. Tongi spent years performing for his family and at local events, carefully crafting his skills and vocal prowess. His father, a constant source of encouragement, had long urged Tongi to audition for American Idol. However, it was the profound loss of his father to kidney failure that ultimately drove Tongi to fulfill this dream, paying a heartfelt tribute to the man who had been the most influential figure in his life.

Since his historic American Idol victory, Iam Tongi’s artistic journey has been extraordinary. His music has flourished, and he has connected with audiences with exciting releases to amass over 23.2 million global streams and 14.7 million domestic streams across all platforms. His releases include ‘I’ll Be Seeing You’, ‘Monsters’ with James Blunt, ‘Why Kiki?’, as well as his inspiring acoustic version of ‘Starting All Over Again’ with the proceeds dedicated to supporting Maui charities. His remarkable talents have drawn crowds from coast to coast, with sold-out shows illuminating his path as he continues to captivate hearts around the globe. Follow him on all social platforms @wtongi.

About the author

There’s a lot of music out there - good music. At Essentially Pop our remit is that we cover music that deserves to be heard, with a particular focus on independent artists. That doesn't mean we won't cover your old favourites - rather we hope to give you some new favourites as well.

We no longer accept unpaid PR agency work. We believe the creative arts have value, and this includes writing. As always, we will write about artists who contact us - or who we contact - for free - but we can no longer work free of charge for PR agencies. We work hard, we put in a lot of hours writing, and we ask that you respect that. Contact us for our very reasonable rates.

Follow us on: Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram, Myspace, Facebook, Spotify, Youtube. Drop us an email on