Amy Hanaialii Gilliom

Wednesday - May 24, 2006
By Kerry Miller | Share Del.icio.us

Amy Hanaialii Gilliom
Amy Hanaialii Gilliom

Since appearing on MidWeek’s cover in November of 1997, life has been more and more rewarding for Hawaiian singer Amy Hanaiali`i Gilliom. She just finished recording a new album, has another in the works - and she performed in April with the Honolulu Symphony Pops Orchestra and Sean Na`auao just weeks after having her first baby.

“I had a little bit of downtime (but) I’m back in Kauai just resting, trying to adjust to the baby. But this (April show with symphony) is my first performance back from the baby,” says the singer.

Baby Madeline Uale`a oka o` ka Mahina Tikehu Austin made her way into the world in early April. Proud parents Gilliom and fiance John Charles Quinell Austin gave her a name of both Hawaii and New Zealand, representing both of their family origins. The engaged couple wasn’t expecting to have children before getting married, but couldn’t be happier about their daughter.

“She just kind of came first,” laughs Gilliom.

About 250 people turned out for Gilliom’s baby shower at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, although, she recalls, it “started out with 30 people” on the guest list.

“It was really special to have it at the Royal,” she says. “My grandmother was a dancer there in the ‘40s.”

Little Madeline, by the way, at 1 day old was the youngest person to check into the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. She also accompanied Mom to Oahu for her April show with the Honolulu Symphony.

The multi Na Hoku Hanohano Award-winner also just finished recording an All-Hawaiian album, for which she held a CD release party on May 20 at the Blaisdell.

The Blaisdell was also the site of her April 28 and 29 shows with the Honolulu Symphony Pops. Her dear friend Sean Naauao joined her on stage, as well as her brother, Eric Gilliom, and rhythm guitarist Kelii Kanealii, formerly of Hapa. The group sang selections in both English and Hawaiian.

“I really enjoy playing with the symphony. It brings the whole song to life. With hula dancing on top, it’s just magic.”

As for what else is in store for her in the future, Gilliom says she is working on a second album, which she hopes to release in a couple of months. Making the album has been very exciting for the singer, especially with Madeline helping her along the way. “She was just kicking like crazy. It was really beautiful for me,” she recalls.

The album is Gilliom’s “first-ever English album; Michael Russ produced it,” she reveals. “He’s written songs for Bonnie Raitt and Natalie Cole.”

- Kerry Miller

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