A Real Go-getter And ‘One Voice’
Friday - October 13, 2010
A few months back I was contacted by an energetic student interested in getting a story published in MidWeek for her school project - a bold undertaking. I was impressed.
That go-getter is Jane Au, a senior at Waialua High School and editor of the school newspaper. She went on to mention her love for writing and music, and how she aspired to be a music journalist. I asked her what she would write about, and even her topic impressed me. Jane wanted to get an interview with one of Hawaii’s fastest-rising talents, Anuhea. And when I asked her if she needed help contacting Anuhea or coordinating the interview, she declined. How could I say no?
I provided her a deadline, requested a photo and, as anticipated, Jane delivered.
I am pleased to have Jane Au’s first mainstream published piece in my column. And here it is:
Most Promising Artist Strives To Keep The Promise
By Jane Au
There are very few people, who, at a young age, know what they are meant to do in life. Fewer still have the courage to do it. On the heels of a critically acclaimed, award-winning debut album, Anuhea Jenkins has spent the last year promoting her music and touring across the country.
This is the path she has taken and the life she has chosen. But she’s nowhere near done. Now, with a hit album already under her belt, Anuhea prepares for a new album with a new sound and, hopefully, a larger audience.
I’m standing in the Barnes and Noble at Kahala Mall anxiously looking at books about business and surviving the zombie apocalypse. I look up and in walks the beautiful Anuhea, apologizing for being a few minutes late. I soon find out that the reason she was rushed was because of a new album she is currently writing.
“I try to dedicate a few hours every single day to just record a song on my computer,” she told me.
As of now, a lot of the songs are just scratches, but she spends hours working on improving them. Anuhea hopes to have her first single out before the end of the year. The full-length album is expected to drop between February and April of 2011, and she’s feeling the pressure.
“It seems like a long time away, but it’s very close,” she says.
Anuhea anticipates the album will be different from the first. She is heavily inspired by reggae and expects to feature more of it her second time around. She also wants to add songs that are more up-beat than her previous acoustic work. Lyrically, her songs will change as well.
“I wrote all those last songs for the first album throughout the course of my life,” she stated. “My life’s a lot different, less boy hostility, but still a lot of life struggles.” Anuhea also mentioned that the stress of this album is great, adding, “A second album makes or breaks you, and this is my first second album.”
With the new album, Anuhea hopes to expand her audience. She feels that a lot of her fans are Hawaii people, whether in state or out.
“I’m trying to change that, so that no matter where you’re from, you’ll enjoy my music,” she says. “I just want to start dominating the Mainland.”
Though very humble, Anuhea’s self-confidence shines through.
“I believe in myself so much because there is no other option,” she adds. “I have to do this, there’s nothing else.”
About 170 films from more than 30 countries will be showcased this month in the Hawaii International Film Festival, including the documentary One Voice, which shares the story of the Kamehameha Schools Song Contest and its purpose of perpetuating Hawaiian music and language.
With a history that dates back 90 years, the song contest has become a cultural celebration that not only touches the lives of the students involved, but also the thousands who watch it on TV.
“I really think what is different is it showcases Hawaii’s youth,” says director Lisette Marie Flanary. “All these kids are amazing. They are high school students, but they are sharing in an important part of Hawaii’s culture.”
Co-producer Heather Haunani Giugni of Juniroa Productions was involved with the song contest well before 2006, when she became the producer of the live broadcast. As a Kamehameha Schools alumna, she also has experienced the hard work, excitement and honor of taking part in the prestigious event. Bringing 30 years of experience in the film and television industry is co-producer Ruth Bolan, executive director of Pacific Islanders in Communications.
One Voice follows the journey through the eyes of the 2008 student song directors. It shares the thrill of the competition through personal stories, and how the tradition creates an experience that builds class unity and instills cultural pride. The film follows the song directors to their homes, and provides the audience with a deeper understanding of their commitment to their class, their school and their culture.
“I would say the most powerful moments filming were when we went to Molokai with Ka’ai (McAfee) to research the story of their song and visit the place written about in their composition,” says Flanary. “We were welcomed by her relatives, and there’s an incredible scene where she’s chanting and crying. It was very emotional.”
As in many of Flanary’s projects, the film bridges tradition and the modern world, providing the audience with insight on how the Hawaiian culture has survived and flourished through the power of mele.
“When we heard that the theme for the contest that year was the revitalization of the Hawaiian language, it became equally important to me to focus on the history of the school and the history of the Hawaiian language,” she says.
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