The island of Maui is not only home to the impressive volcano Haleakala, and the long and windy Road to Hana, but also one of Island music’s biggest artists right now – Rylee Anuheake’alaokalokelani Jenkins aka Anuhea! With perhaps the largest following of any Hawaiian female artist, and consistently in the Top Ten countdown on IslandBeats.com, this beautiful island rose will have you falling in love with her “Simple Love Song” swag!
Performing alongside artists like Bruno Mars, Ziggy Marley, Jack Johnson, Pepper, FloRida and Hoobastank, and performing during Half-Time of the NFL Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium with National TV coverage on FOX, Anuhea has secured herself as one of the music greats to come out of the 808 state! Her self-titled debut album in 2009 shot to #7 on the iTunes Pop Charts, #4 on R&B, and #3 on the World/Reggae Billboard Charts and multiple singles became commercial successes on Hawaii and AAA national radio and now she’s back in the studio getting ready to release her next album.
Anuhea says, “I’m so excited about my new album! It’s been over two years since my first album so I’ve been writing a lot these past two years, just gathering all my thoughts and just how I’ve grown as a person,” and that the style of this new album has changed a bit. “I’ve been really highly influenced by reggae and I’m going back to my roots of the acoustic guitar.” Which has no doubt been influenced by her recent coast to coast “Summer of Love” Tour in the U.S. Mainland and Canada.
Anuhea says, “I just finished a tour, an 8 week tour all acoustic, just me and my guitar, and I’m about to go back into the studio to finish up the last four or five tracks so I’m excited to get those recorded and release in October.”
She writes about her experience:
“I made lifelong friends in Mishka, Mat McHugh and Ethan Tucker, my tour mates, and bonded with my lil brother Jordan so much. Wrote songs along the way in preparation for getting into the studio next week in Austin to FINALIZE my album, and get it ready for that October release, and did a lot of reflecting. It truly was a SUMMER OF LOVE for me. I learned to love myself. I learned to love my acoustic guitar again. I love the new friends I’ve made along the way. And most of all… I truly fell back in love with LIVE ACOUSTIC MUSIC all over again. After a year of touring with a band… I reminded myself on this summer of love tour that my guitar is my comfort. My security blanket. Just me and my guitar are all I need to spend an ENTIRE day by myself. Entertainment. Insight. Beauty. Sadness. Happiness. and everything in between. That guitar gives my feelings validation. Gives my thoughts a voice. Gives me comfort and relief.”
Anuhea grew up around music in Hawaii. She says, “My aunty, my dad’s sister, was in a very popular Hawaii band called Na Leo Pilimehana, so my whole life I’ve been raised around my aunty being in the spotlight and inevitably I think it runs in the blood – the music. I’ve never been formally trained or anything,” but says that, “I taught myself how to play guitar.”
While boarding at Kamehameha High School on O’ahu, Anuhea says, “Me and my best friend Kimie would just jam out in our dorm room…so we just taught ourselves based on our favorite songs. We’d look up the chords on the internet, like Pepper and Jack Johnson and Avril Lavigne and Lauyrn Hill, and stuff like that and then taught ourselves.”
After high school Anuhea says, “I was heading to school for film production and I realized I’m not passionate about that, I’m passionate about music! So I left all my scholarships and I did music instead.”
But Music is not the only thing Anuhea is passionate about. She says, “I may look like a white girl, but I went to kula kaiapuni, which is the Hawaiian immersion elementary school, since kindergarten… I’m super in touch with my Hawaiian culture. On this next album I’m actually going to have a song in Hawaiian – my grandmother wanted it from me. I’m influenced [by Hawaiian culture], like I have songs with the ukulele, stand-up bass, you know, just that whole island feel – but singing a song in the native language of Hawaiian, which is a dying language, is very important to me! I’m going to represent Hawaii forever.”
With music and culture, and a sound as beautiful as she is kind, Anuhea is part of an Island Music Movement that is spreading Aloha and helping Pacific Islanders gain even more exposure. She is an inspiring person, a talented musician, and definitely Whatitdo!
-Article Written by: G_Writer