With a delicate balance of fragility, strength and sass, Hawaiian born singer/songwriter Anuhea blends engaging lyrics, acoustic soul, pop, rap and reggae into a style that has earned her a reputation as Hawaii’s #1 female artist. Anuhea’s signature guitar rhythms, sultry vocals and honest song writing weave acoustic soul, R&B, jazz and hip hop with pop appeal, making Anuhea Hawaii’s next rising star.
Rylee Anuheake’alaokalokelani Jenkins (Anuhea) was born in December 1985 on the island of Maui.
Her debut album “Anuhea” released in April of 2009. It 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.
A self-taught guitarist and song writer, Anuhea began showcasing her talents while boarding at Hawaii’s famous Kamehameha Schools in Honolulu. “We would print out guitar chords to Bob Marley and Jack Johnson songs at school then skip water polo practice to go back to the dorms and jam them. Once I got the basic idea of guitar I then started writing my own songs.” Anuhea enjoyed the spotlight. She was the head anchor for the daily campus-wide news, hosted a variety of TV shows for local television stations, and acted in school musicals.
After attending film school in Orange County for a year, Anuhea realized she wasn’t heading in the direction she was most passionate about, music. So she abandoned her scholarships and embarked on a soul-searching odyssey to Australia for 3 weeks. She returned to the islands and immediately got into the scene, performing at a local coffee shop. These gigs turned into paid restaurant gigs and she eventually put a band together using friends from around the island.
In 2006 Anuhea competed for a crown in the Miss Maui Scholarship Pageant, the preliminary to the Miss Hawaii and Miss America Pageants. Not the pageant-girl cliche by any means, Anuhea embraced the challenge of the pageant and performed an original song “I Just Want You Around” for the talent portion of the competition. She walked away with a trophy for Miss Congeniality and 2nd Runner Up. “I thrive off of challenges. I had hit a point where I was pretty stagnant, and I had some student loans I really wanted to pay off. Plus you see pageants on TV as a kid, and I just always wanted to try to be that girly girl for once in my life.”
Anuhea’s musical and performance skills continued to improved with every performance, and successes came steadily. She took the initiative to market herself as a musician initially acting as her own manager, booking agent, music producer and distributor. Anuhea even took recordings from a live taping for a public radio station and turned them into her first real demo CD “Rough Cuts” which through her myspace page got her discovered by manager / record label co-owner Warren Wyatt.
A naturally gifted songwriter, Anuhea’s word choices are a clever balance of emotions where each song tells a unique story, each story a lesson learned.”I’m influenced highly by R&B and Soul, Hip Hop and Funk, but my instrument is acoustic guitar. I tend to write most of my songs during the craziest parts of my life. I’ll write pages and pages in my notebook in no order then go back with my guitar in my hands and sing the words as lyrics to some chords. That’s how most songs start for me.” Anuhea wants to be a part of a new generation melding the melodic traditions of her island upbringing with modern beats and influences.
Music has been in Anuhea’s family for generations, so it was inevitable that her seeded passions would reflect the same. Anuhea’s father is from the North Shore of Oahu in the surfing culture of Haleiwa. His younger sister, Nalani is a founding member of the most popular female group in the history of Hawaiian Music, Na Leo Pilimehana. Anuhea’s mother, an Oregon native, comes from a musical family as well, her father is a popular country guitarist.
Anuhea has shared the stage with artists like Bruno Mars, Babyface, Al Green, FloRida, Hoobastank and Pepper. She and her band have toured Japan and Guam with the Armed Forces Entertainment Tour for the troops and their families. She had official showcases at South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival in Austin Texas in 2009 and 2010. Anuhea headlined the national 2010 Right Love Tour, and the 2010 Surf Roots Tour along with iTunes #1 reggae album recipients, The Green.
In April 2010 Anuhea performed alongside Jack Johnson, Ziggy Marley & Taj Mahal at the sold out Kokua Festival at the Waikiki Shell. She went on to win 2 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards for Contemporary Album of the Year and Most Promising Artist, making her Hawaii’s #1 female artist.
In 2011 Anuhea and band performed the Half-Time show at the NFL ProBowl at the Aloha Stadium, getting her a few seconds of National TV coverage on FOX.
As of April 2011 Anuhea is currently touring the West Coast US and heading into the studio to finish up her 2nd album due out September 2011. Her first single off the new record, “Crown Royal” (now avail on iTunes) already has gotten mad radio play in the islands, making her sophomore album one of the most anticipated in 2011.
The future is bright for this Maui songbird. Anuhea’s determination, passion, optimism and raw talent are the foundations for the success that is to come. “I just feel lucky that I’ve found my dream and am able to pursue it… My main goal as a music-maker is to help people find theirs, whatever it may be.” Fluent in Hawaiian Anuhea is proud of her island roots and plans to honoring her heritage by utilizing her growing fame for the good of her land and people.