Motherhood is reshaping the way Hawaiian singer Anuhea looks at her music
Anuhea can be forgiven for having babies on the mind these days, as she recently became a first-time mother.
“I am totally in mommy mode right now,” says the singer-songwriter and guitarist, with a laugh. “I am enjoying motherhood. He’s only six months old right now. This whole year has pretty much been devoted to this new adjustment. I’ve been doing some songwriting at home, but I’ve really been enjoying life and letting my previous hard work do the work for me.”
That hard work includes 2009’s self-titled debut album, the 2012 follow-up For Love, and last year’s live album Butterflies. She’s won multiple Hoku Hanohano Awards—Hawaii’s version of the Grammys—and opened for the likes of Jack Johnson, Ziggy Marley and Bruno Mars.
It also doesn’t hurt to have nearly 100,000 Facebook fans watching her every move, and to live in a state that’s very friendly towards homegrown artists.
“One good thing about Hawaii is the radio stations here are awesome about promoting Hawaii artists,” she says. “They kind of make Hawaii artists stars, so it makes it a little easier to go out onto the Mainland and do your thing.”
Her thing involves seamlessly mixing together a variety of musical styles to create a laid-back vibe, particularly on For Love. “Looking for Love” is finger-snapping acoustic goodness, “Higher than the Clouds” fuses acoustic and reggae music to toe-tapping effect, and “Mr. Mellow” showcases her skills in the R&B and hip-hop genres.
But while the album is upbeat, it was not an entirely easy one to make.
“That was a real strange time in my life,” Anuhea says. “I was transitioning out of being in a relationship and into being single, so I was trying to find myself. My first album was a collection of songs I’d written throughout my whole life until that point, but For Love was a little more rushed in a songwriting sense. So you got a lot more of my life over a two-year period where it was a bit crazy.”
Writing about a death in a friend’s family, or lost love was difficult, she admits, but she pushed through because she believes in the power of music to inspire growth.
“When I make music and it touches other people, that is mind-blowing,” she says. “It is almost like giving birth to a child, watching him grow, graduating from high school, getting married, and you being so proud of them. All those things. That’s what a song is to me: You create it and then you watch it take on a life of its own and it becomes bigger than you knew when you first started it.”
A baby metaphor is fitting, because while Anuhea is not writing much at the moment, she is noticing a baby-centric theme to her work. Could her next album end up being a collection of lullabies?
“Maybe,” she says. “I’ve definitely considered it. But I don’t want to alienate my fans who knew me before this. I’ll put together an album that touches on all aspects of me and shows I’m still a cool, hip mom. I’m not a dorky old lady yet!”
Anuhea performs at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 17, Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Felton. Tickets are $20/advance, $25/door. For more information, call 479-1854.