Alex Aiono is a YouTube singing sensation with a fan base of around 8 million and is in New Zealand as part of his world tour.

Although the 22 years was brought up in America – he says his Māori heritage is still very important to him.

“My dad is originally from Tolaga Bay, Ngāti Porou. We got to go stay out of the marae about 2 years ago so getting to go out there meet a lot of aunties and uncles, that I've never met before. I learned 'Tika Tonu' which is the haka they welcomed with me yesterday. I've gotten to be a part of hakas and weddings for what not but it was the first time it was for me. So getting just to see my family they just welcomed me home, just feel that passion and love it was amazing.”

With over half a billion views alone, this young multi-talented artist has worked with Grammy Award-winning artists.

Now signed with Interscope Records who house artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Lady Gaga and Eminem.

Aiono wants to create meaningful music.

“My goal is to make real honest music and music that the fans can relate to that they can understand that it's not just me singing these songs that are fun, popular they are songs that are real to me and they mean something.”

From his debut single 'Question', to 'Work The Middle' and latest collaboration with T-Pain 'One At a Time', Aiono tributes his Māori heritage as an advantage.

“I love the culture I love the fact that music is so heavy in it and the strong family ties and what not, it's very important to me.”

At the age of 14, Aiono's family moved to a one bedroom apartment in Los Angeles to pursue a career in music.

“The fact that my family kind of believed me and they loved and sacrificed for me to live out this dream it's so important to me, I don't think that I would've been able to you know to be on this journey, like I am if it wasn't for them believing me and supporting me.”

A journey which led him to another viral video with relative an Australian artist named William Singe.

“It was crazy because we were working together because I didn't even know until after we finished our first video I was asking him if he knew his roots in NZ and we were both Ngāti Porou. So it was crazy getting to spend time with him he's one of my best friends, so I'm always open to collaborations.”

Aiono hopes to release his debut album to drop this year.

LIKE