JGeeks singer the new Mr Cool
Metro-Maori electro pop group JGeeks lit up the stage at the Spring Break in the Nua concert in Levin on Saturday.
Led by founding member Jermaine Leef, who grew up in Kapiti, the group became household names after dynamic performances earning them fourth place on TVNZ's New Zealand's Got Talent show which ended late last week.
However, Leef said Saturday evening's concert in Levin, celebrating the opening of Te Takere's Youth Space, would remain "one of the most memorable performances" for the group.
"We've been on a lot of stages but to perform outside in a town centre was a new experience for us. It was so real and raw and the crowd was absolutely loving. We were so happy to be there," he said.
The former C4 television presenter now lives in Auckland where he runs an entertainment business including music and video production. However, he has fond memories of growing up in Kapiti.
He attended Raumati Beach School and Kapiti College and as much as he enjoyed sports, particularly cricket and soccer, he said he also "loved school", becoming a prefect in his last year, 2001.
However, he said the name JGeeks was chosen because he really wanted something which was not "cool".
"Geeks was the most un-cool thing I thought of and, yes, J for Jermaine."
Formed in 2010, JGeeks' genre is described as "metro Maori electro craze" incorporating music, dance and comedy with a mix of mainstream pop and traditional Maori culture.
"We're not representing Maori. We're just doing our own thing to keep the culture alive and well and on the world stage," said Leef.
"We're modern Maori men using entertainment to showcase the Maori culture and stories, fusing it with electronic music and lighting - and some Michael Jackson moves, etc. It's just a collaboration of ideas from five guys from different lifestyles, here now, happy and proud to be Maori and taking it to the world."
While Asia, Europe and the United States are in the JGeeks' sights, Leef said first they are planning a show to tour New Zealand between January and March.
And, he said Horowhenua-Kapiti will definitely be on the schedule, either in Levin or Paraparaumu, but hopefully both.
Leef said they were privileged to perform in front of Te Takere last Saturday.
"It's an amazing place. I've absolutely never seen anything like it, anywhere, and for it to be in Levin is so great for the town."