Amy Hanaialiʻi Gilliom
Amy Hanaialiʻi Gilliom is a Hawaiian vocalist and songwriter. Her album Generation Hawaii won four Na Hoku Hanohano Awards in 2007. She is best known for reinvigorating the Hawaiian tradition of female falsetto singing.
Raised on Maui, Hānaialiʻi was raised with the sounds of cultural chants, ancestral drum beats and kani ka pila (music played with family and friends; literally to play music or an instrument) melded with the sights of lapis oceans and verdantly emerald and peridot mountains.
Her parents, Lloyd (deceased, May 16th, 2012) and Mimi Gilliom, enrolled their children in youth theater. While growing up, Amy, her brother Eric and her parents were all involved with the Maui Youth Theater, now known as the Maui Academy of Performing Arts.
While at Maui’s Henry Perrine Baldwin High School, the strong theatre and arts program helped to hone and codify Hānaialiʻi’s passion into a mission. Amy attended United States International University in San Diego, California, where she received formal training in European classical music, jazz, blues, American standards and pop. Amy graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts.
After graduating Amy moved home and spent time with her paternal grandmother, Jennie Nāpua Woodd. Undoubtedly one of Hānaialiʻi's biggest influences in her life, Woodd—one of the original Royal Hawaiian Girls—or Tūtū as Amy called her, helped shape Hawaii's image as a motion picture choreographer in the 1930s/40s. Hānaialiʻi’s grandfather, Lloyd B. Gilliom, played trumpet with Swing and Sway with Sammy Kaye, Tommy Dorsey and others.
Tūtū Jennie ultimately inspired Amy to focus on Hawaiian music. Recognizing her abilities, Tūtū introduced her to the legendary Genoa Keawe and her granddaughter. Aunty Genoa introduced Amy to haʻi falsetto music. Amy’s talent for haʻi created a new appreciation for Hawaiian female falsetto singing, for which she is known today.
Recording and performing history
Hānaialiʻi’s success as a recording artist is evidenced by her four Grammy nominations for Best Hawaiian Music Album, 15 Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards (Hawaii’s Grammy equivalent) including Female Vocalist (4 times), Hawaiian Album (3 times), Song, Group, most recently Contemporary Album and even Christmas Album. Hānaialiʻi was named Hawaii's Music Ambassador by Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle. Pacific Business News awarded her “40 under 40” Business Person of the Year, recognizing her talent and business acumen.
Her first album, Native Child was released in 1995. Her second album, 1997's Hawaiian Tradition, her first hit record, was the first album written solely in the Hawaiian Language to make the World Billboard chart. She performed, recorded, and toured for several years with fellow Hawaiian music artist, Maui native Willie K, who also produced the album. Her 2007 album Generation Hawaii won Na Hoku Hanohano awards for Album, Hawaiian Album, Female Vocalist, and Best Engineered Album.
Hānaialiʻi is Hawaii's top-selling female vocalist. She has opened for many musical legends, including Carlos Santana in Germany, Willie Nelson, Joe Cocker, Wayne Newton, Arlo Guthrie, The Beach Boys, Ernie Watts, Boz Scaggs, Earth, Wind and Fire, Sérgio Mendes and many more. Hānaialiʻis has toured extensively on the U.S. East and West Coasts, Germany, China, Tahiti and Japan. Amy Hānaialiʻi resides on the Island of Molokaʻi with her fiancé John Austin and her daughter Madeline. The family runs a shrimp farm.
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