Rylee Anuheake’alaokalokelani Jenkins (Anuhea) was born in December 1985 on the island of Maui.
A self-taught guitarist and song writer, Anuhea began showcasing her talents while boarding at Kamehameha Schools in Honolulu. “We would print out guitar chords to Bob Marley and Jack Johnson songs 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.
“Uncomfortable situations build character– I tend to put myself in challenges to get out of them, cause I know I’ll be a better, stronger person in the end.” With that unique outlook on life, Anuhea’s resume is as impressive as it is diverse. In her youth, Anuhea excelled in the spotlight. She was the anchor for the daily campus-wide news, hosted a variety of TV shows for local television stations, and acted in school musicals. She played hole set for her Varsity Waterpolo team, surfed Waikiki every weekend, and was the President of the video club. Receiving numerous scholarships for her acheivements in film production, she attended film school in Orange County California. Eventually realizing music was her passion, she traded her formal education for a real-life one and embarked on a soul-searching odyssey backpacking to Australia for three weeks. Returning to the islands she immediately got into the scene, performing at local coffee shops and restaurants.
Anuhea’s musical and performance skills improved with every show, and successes came steadily and deservedly. She eventually put a band together using friends from around the island, all the while working 40 plus hours a week as a cocktail waitress and barista. She took the initiative to market herself as a musician, and until this point has acted 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.
Anuhea’s debut album released to the U.S. on April 21st 2009 on the OneHawaii label and is simply titled “Anuhea” –her name which translates to “a cool breeze of the heavenly rose” Fluent in Hawaiian Anuhea is proud of her island roots and plans to honor her heritage by utilizing her growing acclaim for the betterment of the people of Hawaii. Anuhea wants to be a part of a new generation melding the melodic traditions of her island upbringing with modern beats and influences. It continues to hold the top spot for national album sales from a Hawaii artist next to Jack Johnson or Bruno Mars. Song like “Big Deal”, “Right Love, Wrong Time”, “Rumors”, and “Here I Go Again” were number one hits in the islands. “Right Love, Wrong Time” received wide national AAA radio play after being featured on iTunes as a Free Discovery Download of the week.
In April 2010 Anuhea released another hit: a cover of Estelle’s “Come Over Love”. With rhythmic guitar grooves and a dance hall reggae bridge, “Come Over Love” is a huge testament to Anuhea’s ability to make any song her own.
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 part of the award winning contemporary Hawaiian music trio, Na Leo Pilimehana. Anuhea’s mother, an Oregon native, comes from a musical family as well, her father is a country guitarist.
In the year since her album released, Anuhea’s music has gotten her some mileage. Touring for the Armed Forces Entertainment, Anuhea and her band played in Japan, Okinawa and Guam. In March she headlined the “Right Love Tour”, a month-long cross-country tour from Seattle to New York City. Frequently backed by Hawaii’s The Green Band, their friendship continues to compliment their mutual desire to break out of Hawaii and spread their music to the rest of the world. Anuhea also headlined the 2010 Resin Music Surf Roots Tour this summer along with The Green, Stranger, and Tamarama which played to sold out crowds all over the western US including San Diego, Portland, Seattle, Utah and Las Vegas.
Anuhea hit a milestone in her career, and life, when she was asked to be on the 2010 Kokua Festival with her “number one musical inspiration” Jack Johnson. After her set, “I got to take a verse in ‘Mud Football’ with him on stage, she says. “It was one of those moments in life where you realized you were living your dream.” Not to mention the hana hou of Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds” where Jack brought Anuhea, Ziggy Marley, Taj Mahal, Jake Shimabukuro and Paula Fuga up to sing together. Anuhea calls that “one of the highlights of my life.”
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.”