Iam Tongi Shares Acoustic Video of “Starting All Over Again” to Benefit Maui Wildfire Victims

Iam Tongi is continuing to pay it forward to those impacted by the Maui wildfires through the power of music. After performing a cover of soul duo Mel & Tim’s powerful “Starting All Over Again” on Good Morning America, the American Idol season 21 winner has now shared an official acoustic video of the song. Setting up shop in a tranquil studio adorned with twinkle lights, Tongi is accompanied by his signature acoustic guitar, along with a gentle steel guitar, to deliver a soft-spoken rendition of the hopeful tune.

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Tongi keeps his eyes closed for much of the performance, feeling every word in his spirit that’s conveyed through his poetic delivery. Starting all over again is gonna be hard/But I pray that the love will help us make it/Starting all over again is gonna be slow/But we, we both know that we can make it,” he sings with a calm demeanor.

[RELATED: Who is ‘American Idol’ Winner Iam Tongi?]

All of the proceeds from his rendition of “Starting All Over Again” will be donated to the victims of the devastating wildfires that raged through Maui in August 2023 and claimed the lives of more than 100 people. “I want to continue to do my part to help Maui, so I recorded a full performance of Iz’s ‘Starting All Over Again,'” Tongi explained of the song that was also covered by late Hawaiin singer Israel Kamakawiwoʻole. “This song really touched me recently so I’ve just released a full version of the song (out now on all platforms).”

The 19-year-old was born in Hawaii and raised on the island of Oahu, but moved with his family to Federal Way, Washington when he was in high school. Tongi won the hearts of millions on season 21 of American Idol, beginning with his emotive audition where he covered James Blunt’s “Monsters” in honor of his late father. Tongi was crowned the winner in May 2023.

“Starting All Over Again” was initially released in July 1972. It reached No. 4 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and No. 19 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Photo by ABC/Eric McCandless

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