Tony Conjugacion, better known in most circuits as Tony C, began singing professionally in a hotel group at the age of eight. Soon after his earliest work, he began studying hula chant and performance with Maiki Aiu Lake and the rather innovative Darrell Lupenui (and their halau). After a time, he began studying under Edward Kalahiki and Vickie I'i Rodrigues. In 1985, he released his debut album, Hawaiian Passion, to an excited audience, winning album of the year, song of the year, traditional album of the year, and male vocalist of the year at the 1986 Na Hoku Hanohano awards (the Hawaiian Grammys). Within a few years, Tony made a move to New York, where he immediately performed at Carnegie Hall and then went on to Broadway as a cast member and understudy to Jonathan Pryce's lead in Miss Saigon, doubling his time with performances around the cabaret circuit. At the same time, Tony continued hula chant through workshops, seminars, and commissions from Radio Hula, the Alvin Ailey Center, and others. Eventually returning to Hawaii, Conjugacion returned to his recordings, releasing a pair of solo albums and a pair of albums with his brother. At the same time, he formed his own halau (hula school). He has won various competitions on the islands, and has become actively involved with many community service opportunities. 2003 saw the re-release of Hawaiian Passion through Mountain Apple, with a fresh recording being made of the full album by Tony and the original band.
by Adam Greenberg