Roxy on the Mic is pitches in at Lei with a column about the best tips and tricks to having fun in Hawai‘i. With an enchanting personality and a voice that gets the crowd going, emcee Roxy on the Mic has become a familiar face in Honolulu’s nightlife scene. Peeling back the persona, Erin Bunda, a bible college graduate and youth therapist by day, is vividly human—disarmingly candid, funny, down to earth, and brilliant in her ability to connect with people. Loud, soft, profane, wise, one thing’s for sure: Bunda and her alter ego both love to be out and about. You can count on Roxy to share the buzz in the city she calls home.
Every year I host The MayJah RayJah Music Festival (TMR), a two-day, two-island music and reggae concert that takes place simultaneously on O‘ahu and Maui for 20,000 MayJay RayJah Fans. I pretty much die and am reborn again at every TMR event.
I joined this frenzy in 2009, when Ray Jr., the founder of TMR, asked me to emcee a reggae and island music concert he was working on. He picked me up to “go pau hana” (get after-work drinks) at Aloha Tower. It was like any other ride with friends until Ray started talking about how much he loved me in that all-too-familiar “I am your brother and I need you sis” type of way. Then he said, “I want you to be my emcee.” There was a pause and moment of silence in the car. I was honored he asked me, but I didn’t really understand why. At the time, I was a top-40 and EDM hypeman. My ability to speak understandable, performance-proper Pigeon in front of a crowd was a ridiculous fail. The RoxyOTM voice was birthed from high-energy nightclubs, short skirts, raging DJs and flashing lights, not chi-chingk-chingk chi-chingk-chingk feel-good, island, relax-on-the-beach music.
I am forever grateful that Ray Jr.’s vision for TMR blew away all my preconceived ideas of what a reggae and island music concert is. Today, people don’t just have one type of music they prefer. If we wanted to truly entertain the crowd, we had to hit different genres of music in a unique way. My role in TMR is to not just introduce acts and call for “hana hous” (which means “do it again,” often chanted to get an encore performance), but to bring the party with other types of music genres without taking away from the festival itself. My goal is to give the audience something to remember by not only getting the masses to dance, but to also to celebrate, scream, and shout freely in ways they’ve never done before.
The TMR fans really make the festival epic-level awesome. Their energy feeds those on stage and seems to magically increases a performer’s ability. Last year, I had the flu and was battling a 102-degree fever. I basically died in the green room while various headliners took turns holding ice on the back of my neck to help keep my temperature down. When my five-minute call was given, I’d struggle getting up to walk from the green room to the stage. As I got closer to the stage, the sound of the TMR audience turned my fever-induced delirium into RoxyOTM Rage-Ready Mode.
This year, I found myself getting choked up often as I watched long-time TMR performers and crowd favorites like Common Kings, Rebel Souljahz and Anuhea on stage. I watched them grow with the TMR brand, and has watched as TMR has become a destination event for people from all over the world to experience. I am proud to be a part of The MayJah RayJah brand and look forward to bigger and crazier memories ahead.