Amy Hānaialiʻi sings and shares how it feels to perform at Merrie Monarch

Updated: Apr. 19, 2020 at 11:51 PM HST
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Amy Hānaialiʻi, known as Hawai’i’s top-selling female vocalist, pays a virtual visit to McKenna at the Talk Story Hale. McKenna introduces the celebrated singer as a name that is synonymous with the word hula. Amy’s beautiful voice and mele have been the inspiration and accompaniment to countless hula dances. When McKenna asks her how it feels to have hula to accompany her mele she shares, “It’s such an incredible feeling. Anytime I perform there (at Merrie Monarch), I have to close my eyes because I get so emotional. When you compose something, and you write lyric about something and the dancer brings it to life it’s like… I always write big cheat sheets and (I’m) always looking down because it’s so beautiful to me that sometimes I just get so caught up into it I just get lost.”

Amy is now the president of the Hawai’i Academy of Recording Arts and is looking forward to the Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards rescheduled for September 10th, 2020. McKenna and Amy both agree that mele and hula are both such a big part of Hawaiian Culture and they go hand in hand.

Amy performs a short version of her mele “Palehua”.

About Amy Hānaialiʻi:

Amy Hānaialiʻi is Hawai’i’s top-selling female vocalist of all time. Hānaiali’i’s success as a recording artist speaks for itself and is evidenced by a multitude of awards and acknowledgements, including 6 GRAMMY® nominations for Best Hawaiian Music Album & Best Native Roots Music Album. Hanaiali’i’s talent emerges from a disciplined classical training, fused powerhouse vocals, and honoring her family’s worldly heritage and rooted ancestral responsibility. Amy’s albums have garnered 18 Nā Hōkū Hanohano awards – Hawai’i’s equivalent to the GRAMMY® awards.

Amy has played for the Dalai Lama, two inaugural balls in D.C. for President Obama and the first entertainer ever to perform in the Great Hall of the People in Tiananmen Square, China. Amy has played for sold-out crowds in Europe, Japan and all across America and French Polynesia. Hānaiali’i’s Friends and Family album showcased a stunning duet with country music legend Willie Nelson. Alongside and recording with the best, Amy also has performed live and opened for renowned artists like Earth, Wind and Fire, Carlos Santana, Boz Scaggs, Diana Krall, Joe Cocker and many more – her upcoming release features a duet with Michael McDonald.

She has played to sold-out shows at the following world-renowned venues: Blue Note Jazz Club New York and Japan, Feinstienʻs, Stern Grove, The Cutting Room, and numerous performances with Orchestras in Opera Houses worldwide.

Her diverse success and cultural responsibility, provide clear recognition by Hawai’i’s music community and fans with universal acceptance. All of Amy’s albums have validated commercial success by consistently placing her at the top of the World Album Billboard charts.

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