Rylee Anuheakealaokalokelani (meaning the cool fragrance of the heavenly rose) Jenkins was born and raised in Makawao, Maui, Hawai'i. She was the eldest of four siblings, daughter of a hapa-Hawaiian P.E. teacher/basketball coach from the North Shore of O'ahu, and a blonde-haired beautician from Oregon. Growing up, Anuhea was more focused on sports than on music. However, in middle school, she discovered her passion for performing arts. She began attending the prestigious Hawaiian school Kamehameha Schools in the seventh grade, where she acted in school plays and musicals and learned to play the guitar with her friends in the dorms. Upon graduating from Kamehameha in 2003, she was offered multiple college scholarships to attend Film School at Chapman University in Orange County, California. However, after a soul-searching backpacking trip to Australia, she realized that returning to college wasn't the right path for her at the time. She returned to Maui and decided to pursue her newfound passion for music instead.
As a coach's daughter, Anuhea was used to hard work and hustle. She wanted to pay back some of the student loans she had racked up, so she decided to compete for Miss Maui in the 2006 Miss Hawaii Scholarship Pageant. Despite having zero pageant experience, she performed her first original song, "I Just Want You Around," with her guitar for the talent portion of the competition. Although she didn't win the Miss Maui title, Anuhea was awarded scholarship money and won the trophy for Miss Congeniality. After the pageant, she wanted something more and longed for inspiration and to be immersed in a variety of different cultures, people, food, and music. She set her sights on San Francisco, a city that had always fascinated her. In 2007, she packed her bags and guitar and moved to The City by the Bay. Her life in San Francisco was filled with open mic's, live music concerts, recording demos, gathering inspiration, writing, and more songwriting. She posted videos and snippets of her new music on YouTube and Myspace. San Francisco was a huge learning experience for her, and Anuhea took what she had learned and brought it back home to the 808.
In 2008, Anuhea left San Francisco and started a band upon returning to Maui. She picked up a weekly gig at the popular bar/restaurant that she waited tables at, Charley's in Paia. She burnt demo CDs on her home computer filled with songs that she created herself on Garageband and at friends' home studios. These songs began to get her some recognition on the Myspace charts for unsigned artists in Hawai'i. Anuhea was making a name for herself throughout Maui. She was introduced to a man named Warren Wyatt through her Aunty (dad's sister), Nalani Jenkins, a founding member of the legendary Hawaiian trio Na Leo Pilimehana. Together, they decided Anuhea was ready to get into a REAL studio. They sent Anuhea to Los Angeles where she, along with producer Drew K, found her 'voice' as an artist. After a few months of hard work, Anuhea had completed her very first REAL album, Anuhea (2009).
Anuhea's self-titled debut album gained attention quickly. Her first radio hit, "Big Deal," helped create a name for the young songbird for its cheeky, witty songwriting style and the unique reggae vibe. Anuhea then moved from Maui to O'ahu to continue performing and developing as an artist. The album ended up charting in the top 10 on the iTunes Pop charts, charted on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, and eventually won Anuhea two prestigious Na Hoku Hanohano Awards (2010 Most Promising Artist and Contemporary Album of the Year). "Anuhea" was also named as one of Honolulu Magazine's 25 Greatest Hawaii Albums of the New Century.
In 2012, Anuhea released her second album, "For Love." Funded by her fans through the popular fundraising platform Kickstarter, it secured Anuhea as a Hawai'i radio staple. "For Love" features some of island music's all-time favorite radio hits, including her original songs "Higher than the Clouds" and "Simple Love Song" and a cover of Estelle's "Come Over Love."
In 2013, Anuhea released her favorite body of work: her son. Ikena Jack was born in November of 2013, and while Anuhea was pregnant with Ikena, she continued to tour and released a LIVE album entitled "Butterflies." Ikena Jack has traveled around the world with his musical mommy and continues to be her inspiration and motivation in every decision.
In 2014, two E.P.s were released by Anuhea. The first, "Shoulders," included a reggae cover of Chaka Khan's "Sweet Thing" and the hit song "Island Inside Me." The second, "All Is Bright," was a holiday album. Anuhea's personal life was going through significant changes in 2017, and she felt her music should reflect that. She connected with new producers who focused on a primarily Pop and R&B-driven style. They released "Follow Me" and "Follow Me: Deluxe Hawaii Edition" in 2017 and 2018, respectively. "Follow Me" is a diverse mix of songs that pushed the limits of Anuhea's music. The album helped her win the Female Vocalist of the Year award at the 2019 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards, as well as the fan-voted Island985/iHeart Radio Island Music Award for Female Solo Artist. Popular radio hits like "Mixed Feelings" (featuring Sammy J) and "Like the Way It Feels" helped Anuhea maintain consistent radio play on numerous island music stations across the globe.
Anuhea's music is open, honest, and vulnerable, reflecting her true self. Her unique delivery and heartfelt songwriting are evident in each song she creates. Anuhea has been an inspiration to aspiring young singers and fans alike, paving the way for many artists in the Hawai'i music scene. Her connection with her fans on social media is evident through her Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter follower count, which collectively stands at over 400k. In appreciation of her fans, Anuhea holds AnuJammers Appreciation Month every October. She does giveaways, prizes, contests, and shoutouts for her #AnuJammers.
Anuhea has toured extensively, performing all across the continental U.S. and internationally in Japan, China, Australia, and New Zealand. She has opened for many superstars, including Bruno Mars, Jack Johnson, Ziggy Marley, Babyface, Al Green, and Sugar Ray. Anuhea headlined the 2011 NFL Pro Bowl Halftime show at Aloha Stadium, sang the National Anthem at a Golden State Warriors vs. Trail Blazers NBA game, and sang at a Minnesota Vikings vs. Seahawks game in 2015. She has appeared on Hawaii 5-0 (CBS), Married to Medicine (Bravo), and even did voice-over work for a Huggies Diaper commercial. Anuhea was the face of makeup brand Cargo Cosmetics' Spring/Summer 2017 Hawai'i-inspired line called 'You Had Me at Aloha.' Her passion and talent for video production are still evident as she directs and edits multiple music videos herself and designs the album art for her "Follow Me: Deluxe Hawaii Edition" inside and out.
Anuhea has collaborated on hit songs with huge reggae bands/artists SOJA, JBoog, Katchafire, and Tarrus Riley. She performs on tour and at festivals throughout the U.S. and internationally.
Although she left college, Anuhea's passion for education and helping others comes from her lineage of educators in her family, spanning four generations. In honor of her family's legacy, Anuhea started the Aloha Always Foundation. The foundation inspires, educates, and empowers Hawaii's youth by granting scholarships for higher education. Through her fundraising efforts, Anuhea awards deserving Hawai'i students annually with cash scholarships to pursue their education goals. For more information on Anuhea's Aloha Always Foundation, please visit alohaalways.org.
In November 2019, Anuhea released a 10th-anniversary album entitled "A10: Best of Anuhea." The collection includes songs from previous releases as suggested by her faithful fans (AnuJammers) and her personal favorites. It was nominated for multiple Na Hoku Hanohano Awards that year, and Anuhea won the Female Vocalist of the Year award.
During the ups and downs of the pandemic, Anuhea became an advocate for mental health. She shared her personal journey with fans through a podcast called "Just Keep Jamming." Each week, she "talks story" with fellow musicians, fans, artist friends, and mental health professionals, all with the underlying theme of mental health. Her song "Just Keep Jamming" became an island hit, and the message of Aloha Thyself (loving yourself first so you can help others) is a staple in her on-stage platform.
Anuhea continues to represent Hawai'i, her Hawaiian culture, language, and her humble beginnings by remaining down to earth and connected with her fans and followers. She strives to elevate others by including as many as she can on her musical journey up, whether it's friends, family, fans, or fellow musicians. Anuhea now lives with her family in Kailua-Kona, where she works, writes, and records. Her music has laid the foundation for longevity in the Hawai'i music scene, and we can't wait to see what comes next from this multi-faceted artist.