The name "Anuhea" translates from Hawaiian as a fragrance or cool breeze. In the world of island/reggae music, Maui songbird Anuhea Jenkins has been JUST that: A cool breeze to the island music scene. This multi-talented artist entered the room in 2009 like a breath of fresh island air, beautifully blending vibes of reggae, pop, R&B, and even country. Anuhea's eclectic and multi-faceted musical style is paralleled by her work ethic and fun-loving personality. After 10 successful years in the music scene, dozens of hit songs and multiple awards, Anuhea remains humble when she's rightfully referred to as one of the top musical artists from Hawai'i of all time.
Rylee Anuheakealaokalokelani (meaning the cool fragrance of the heavenly rose) Jenkins was born and raised in Makawao, Maui Hawai'i. She was the eldest of four siblings, the daughter of a hapa-Hawaiian, P.E. teacher/basketball coach from the North Shore of O'ahu, and a blonde-haired beautician from Oregon. Anuhea was actually more immersed in sports than in music while growing up, and it wasn't until middle school that she found her passion for performing arts. She began boarding on O'ahu at the prestigious Hawaiian school Kamehameha Schools in the seventh grade. She acted in school plays and musicals and, in high school, learned to play the guitar with her friends in the dorms. They'd spend weekends surfing Waikiki and making funny music videos, but her video production skills were actually noteworthy. Upon graduating from Kamehameha in 2003, she received multiple college scholarships to attend Film School at Chapman University (Orange County, CA.) A soul-searching backpacking odyssey in Australia led her to realize that returning to the expensive college wasn't the right path for her at the time. So she returned to Maui, and began a new venture: young Anuhea decided to pursue her newfound passion for MUSIC.
As a coach's daughter, she was used to hard work and hustle. Anuhea decided to pay back some of those student loans she racked up. Not the pageant-girl type whatsoever, and with zero experience, Anuhea signed up to compete for Miss Maui in the 2006 Miss Hawaii Scholarship Pageant. While working two jobs and singing dinner music at a local restaurant, she stepped outside her comfort zone and entered the pageant. She performed her first original song "I Just Want You Around" with her and her guitar for the talent portion of the competition. Although she didn't win the title of Miss Maui, Anuhea was awarded some scholarship money and did win the trophy for Miss Congeniality (as voted by her competitors). But with the pageant over and the world at her feet, she wanted something more.
Anuhea longed for inspiration and to be immersed in a variety of different cultures, people, food, and music. She set her sights on a city that had always fascinated her: San Francisco. In 2007 she packed her bags and her guitar and moved to The City by the Bay. Her life in San Francisco was filled with open mic's, live music concerts, recording demos, gathering inspiration, writing, writing, and more songwriting. She posted videos and snippets of her blossoming new music on YouTube and Myspace. San Francisco was a huge learning experience for her, and Anuhea took what she'd learned and brought it back home to the 808.
In 2008 Anuhea left San Francisco back to Maui and started a band. She picked up a weekly gig at the popular bar/restaurant that she waited tables at, Charley's in Paia. She burnt demo C.D.s on her home computer filled with songs that she created herself on Garageband and at friends' home studios. These songs began to get her some recognition on the Myspace charts for unsigned artists in Hawai'i. Anuhea was making a little name for herself throughout Maui. She was introduced to a man named Warren Wyatt through her Aunty (dad's sister), Nalani Jenkins, a founding member of the legendary Hawaiian trio Na Leo Pilimehana. Together, they decided Anuhea was ready to get into a REAL studio. They sent Anuhea to Los Angeles where she, along with producer Drew K, found her 'voice' as an artist. After a few months of hard work, Anuhea had completed her very first REAL album, Anuhea (2009).
Anuhea's self-titled debut album gained attention quickly. Her first radio hit "Big Deal" helped create a name for the young songbird for its cheeky, witty songwriting style and the unique reggae vibe. Anu then moved from Maui to O'ahu to continue performing and developing as an artist. The album ended up charting in the top 10 on the iTunes Pop charts, charted on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, and eventually won Anuhea two prestigious Na Hoku Hanohano Awards (2010 Most Promising Artist and Contemporary Album of the Year). "Anuhea" was also named as one of Honolulu Magazine's 25 Greatest Hawaii Albums of the New Century.
In 2012 Anuhea released her second album "For Love." Funded by her fans through the popular fundraising platform Kickstarter, it secured Anuhea as a Hawai'i radio staple. "For Love" features some of island music's all-time favorite radio hits including her original songs "Higher than the Clouds" and "Simple Love Song" and a cover of Estelle's "Come Over Love."
In 2013 Anuhea released her favorite body of work: her son. Ikena Jack was born in November of 2013, and while Anuhea was pregnant with Ikena, she continued to tour and released a LIVE album entitled "Butterflies." Ikena Jack has traveled around the world with his musical mommy and continues to be her inspiration and motivation in every decision she makes.
The release of two E.P.s followed in 2014: "Shoulders" featuring the hit song "Island Inside Me" and a reggae cover of Chaka Khan's "Sweet Thing," and then a holiday album entitled, "All Is Bright."
In 2017 Anuhea's personal life was going through some significant changes, and she felt her music needed to reflect that. She got connected with some new producers in a primarily Pop & R&B driven style. In 2017 and 2018, they released "Follow Me" and "Follow Me: Deluxe Hawaii Edition." "Follow Me" is an eclectic mix of songs that pushed the limits of all things Anuhea. The album led her to win Female Vocalist of the Year in the 2019 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards, and the fan-voted Island985/iHeart Radio Island Music Award for Female Solo Artist. Songs like "Mixed Feelings" (featuring Sammy J) and "Like the Way It Feels" were big radio hits for Anuhea, and all her songs continue to garnish consistent radio play on island music stations worldwide.
True to herself and all her realness, Anuhea's music is open, honest, and vulnerable. Songwriting that speaks directly from her heart, in a unique delivery all her own. Anuhea has paved the way for many artists in the Hawai'i music scene and continues to be an inspiration to her fans, and aspiring young singers alike. Her connection with her fans on social media is evident in her Instagram, Facebook and Twitter follower count (collectively at over 400k). Anuhea shows her appreciation for her fans by holding AnuJammers Appreciation Month every October. She does giveaways, prizes, contests, and shout outs every day of the month for her #AnuJammers.
Anuhea has toured extensively throughout her career, all across the continental U.S. and has had many shows internationally in Japan, China, Australia, and New Zealand. She has shared the stage with some superstars, opening for Bruno Mars, Jack Johnson, Ziggy Marley, Babyface, Al Green, and Sugar Ray. She headlined the 2011 NFL ProBowl Halftime show at Aloha Stadium and sang the National Anthem at a Golden State Warriors vs. Trail Blazers NBA game, as well as at (her favorite football team), the Minnesota Vikings vs. Seahawks game in 2015. She has appeared performing on an episode of Hawaii 5-0 (CBS), Married to Medicine (Bravo) and even did voice-over work for a Huggies Diaper commercial! She was the face of makeup brand Cargo Cosmetics' Spring/Summer 2017 Hawai'i-inspired line called 'You Had Me at Aloha.'. Her once-passion and talent for video production is still evident in her directing and editing multiple music videos herself, and designing the album art for her "Follow Me: Deluxe Hawaii Edition" inside and out.
Anuhea has collaborated on hit songs with huge reggae bands/artists SOJA, JBoog, Katchafire, and Tarrus Riley, and performs on tour and at festivals throughout the U.S. and internationally.
Although she left college, Anuhea's passion for education and helping others comes from her lineage of educators in her family; four generations of them, in fact. In her ohana's honor, Anuhea started the Aloha Always Foundation which inspires, educates and empowers Hawaii's youth by granting scholarships for higher education. Through her fundraising efforts, Anuhea awards deserving Hawai'i students annually with cash scholarships to pursue their education goals. For more info on Anuhea's Aloha Always Foundation, please visit alohaalways.org
In November of 2019, Anuhea is set to release a 10th Anniversary album entitled "A10: Best of Anuhea". This collection will include songs from previous releases as suggested by her legion of faithful fans (AnuJammers) and also her personal favorites. The "A10" CD will be available in stores throughout Hawai'i, online, and digitally, with album release parties scheduled on multiple islands throughout November. Anuhea and her band will then hit the road this December for their annual winter tour of the West Coast, the All is Bright Tour. You can also find Anuhea & Friends in 2020 for her Valentine's Weekend residency at the Blue Note Hawaii in Waikiki.
Anuhea continues to represent Hawai'i, her Hawaiian culture, language, and her humble beginnings by remaining down to Earth and connected with her fans and followers. She strives to elevate others by including as many as she can on her musical journey up, whether its friends, family, fans, or fellow musicians. Based now out of Kailua-Kona, Anuhea lives with her family, working, writing, and recording. Anuhea has laid the foundation for longevity in the music scene of Hawai'i, and we can't wait to see what comes next from this multi-faceted artist.
Anuhea's website: Anuheajams.com
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