Amy Hānaiali'i's talent is the result of an exceptional blend of classical training, modern musical influences and heritage. Raised on the Island of Maui in Hawai'i, Hānaiali'i was raised with the sounds of cultural chants, ancestral drum beats and kani ka pila (music played with family and friends; lit. to play music or an instrument) melded with the sights of lapis colored oceans and verdantly emerald and peridot colored mountains, both abundant with wildlife.
Amy's parents, Lloyd and Mimi Gilliom, had the foresight to enroll their children in youth theatre – fostering Hānaiali'i's talents and opening her horizons to new sounds and beats. This gave way to a predilection of music and eventually a deep passion.
While at Maui's Henry Perrine Baldwin High School, the strong theatre and arts program helped to hone and codify Hānaiali'i's passion into a mission. After graduation, Amy went on to the United States International University in San Diego, California, where she received formal training in European classical music, jazz, blues, American standards and pop. While immersing herself in studies, Hānaiali'i, became best of friends with colleagues, who today has made names for themselves in various segments in the entertainment industry. Amy holds a Bachelor's of Arts in Fine Arts from the United States International University.
After graduating Amy moved home and spent time with her paternal grandmother, Jennie Nāpua Woodd. Undoubtedly one of Hānaiali'i's biggest influences in her life, Woodd – one of the original Royal Hawaiian Girls – or Tūtū as Amy affectionately called her, helped shape the scene of Hawai'i as a choreographer in Hollywood through many of its motion pictures in the 1930's and 40's. While performing at the Lexington Hotel in New York City, Tūtū met Hānaiali'i's grandfather, Lloyd B. Gilliom, himself a musician who played trumpet with Swing and Sway with Sammy Kaye, Tommy Dorsey and other notable bands of the era.
While Hānaiali'i received years of formal musical and theatrical training, it was Tūtū Jennie who ultimately inspired her to grow in Hawaiian music. Recognizing her natural vocal abilities, Tūtū arranged for a meeting between the legendary Genoa Keawa and her granddaughter. It was Aunty Genoa that introduced Amy to the ha'i falsetto music. Amy's talent of ha'i brought a new found appreciation for the art of Hawaiian female falsetto style for which she is known today, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Today, after 10 albums, Hānaiali'i remains Hawai'i's top-selling female vocalist. The artists for whom Amy has opened are legendary and include Carlos Santana in Gemany, Willie Nelson, Joe Cocker, Wayne Newton, Arlo Guthrie, The Beach Boys, Ernie Watts, Boz Scaggs, Earth, Wind and Fire, Sergio Mendes and many more. Hānaiali'is has toured extensively on the East and West Coasts of America, Germany, China, Tahiti and she often frequents Japan, where she captivates and expands her fan base along the way.
Hānaiali'i's success as a recording artist speaks for itself and is evidenced by the multitude of awards and acknowledgements including three GRAMMY® nominations for Best Hawaiian Music Album. Amy's albums have also garnered 15 Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards (Hawai'i's equivalent to the GRAMMY®), including the prestigious Female Vocalist of the Year (4 times), Hawaiian Album of the Year (3 times), Song of the Year, Group of the Year, most recently Contemporary Album of the Year and even Christmas Album of the Year. These diverse awards provides a clear recognition by Hawai'i's music community and by Amy's fans that her music's appeal is broad and contains an even more varied depth. Amy is officially Hawai'i's Music Ambassador as proclaimed by Hawai'i's Governor Linda Lingle.
Hānaiali'i's second album, "Hawaiian Tradition" placed her on the World Billboard Charts, a first for an album written solely in the Hawaiian Language. Pacific Business News also acknowledged Amy with their coveted "40 under 40" Business Person of the Year Award, recognizing not only Hānaiali'i's talent, but also her business acumen needed to market her talent.
Amy Hānaiali'i has come full circle back to her extensive roots in Hawai'i, with a new focus on tradition, culture and family. Hānaiali'i resides on the Island of Moloka'i with her daughter Madeline (3) and her fiancée John Austin. In her "spare" time, Amy helps to run their shrimp farm – producing the best pure and natural shrimp in Hawai'i.