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Hawaiian singer's stirring performance of national anthem wows the world

Willie K, who has performed with some of the biggest rock stars, gave a beautiful rendition before the University of Hawaii game Saturday.
Hawai'ian singer sings the national anthem.
Hawaiian singer Willie K gave a stirring rendition of the national anthem before the University of Hawaii's football game Saturday.@specsportshi/Twitter
/ Source: TODAY

Even the national anthem is better in Hawaii.

A unique rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner is garnering attention for its singer Willie K, who performed the anthem before Saturday’s kickoff at the University of Hawaii’s game against the University of Nevada.

Strumming a ukulele, the singer provided a stirring and very different take of the anthem before the crowd at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu.

Willie K is a local star on the island, but the guitarist's skills have been on display on national stages during his stints with numerous stars including Prince, Santana, ZZ Top and, most recently, Journey.

“For a local boy who idolized all these people when he’s growing up, you never see yourself in that place, ever,” he admitted in an interview with the University of Hawaii before he sang the anthem.

Willie K said he’s been asked repeatedly why he has never tried to become “a big gigantic star.”

“On Maui, I say, ‘When you wake up in the morning and you see that sunrise, give me a phone call and here’s my number.’ Then you find out why,” he said. “I love it here. I would never trade it for anything else in the world.”