Amy Hanaiali`i fans can’t help but enjoy her departure from Ha`i into R&B in her fall 2015 release Chardonnay. This album shows another facet in her illustrious music career, one she’s paired with her own vintage of wine. This Thursday, Jan. 21, she’ll kick off a series of three dinner shows featuring her wine and music at the King Kamehameha Golf Club.
“Iʻm having an amazing time with having my wine be part of my music event,” says Hanaiali`i. “Itʻs really special. Fans all over Hawaii are really enjoying it. Pairing my Chardonnay album with my Chardonnay wine. I will be doing music off of that album, which Michael Ruff produced. Itʻs all sung in English. Wine, music and a prime rib and seafood buffet. I will be doing a little of everything at these shows. The VIP reception is going to be on the rooftop at the club. Itʻs going to be breathtaking.”
Her rooftop meet-and-greet starts at 6pm, and you’ll have the opportunity to taste each of her wines–the merlot and chardonnay–along with Amy. These wines are near and dear to her heart and palate, and she created them with her style and music in mind.
“The wine is my palate,” says Hanaiali`i. “Iʻm really a merlot lover. I had my winemaker and partners make the wine the way I like it. We won a 90 on Spectator in Sonoma. The chardonnay is something new for me. I asked them if they could make it smooth and buttery. Itʻs my favorite. When I was doing Evita I was finishing the vocals on the album and realized the music paired perfectly with the wine. Taste the music.”
Chardonnay the album ventures into new territory for hard core falsetto Hanaiali`i fans, but her attention to the details gives the album its edge. On “Leave the Light On” and her jazzy Bob Marley cover of “Waiting in Vain,” she is joined by Fiji who also raps on the album. In the studio she teamed up with Tris Imboden from the group Chicago do to drums, Jimmy Johnson–who plays with James Taylor–for bass and Gannin Arnold on guitar (he started a band with the drummer from Foo Fighters). Michael Ruff not only produced the album but also plays keyboards and does background vocals with Eric Gilliom, Amy’s brother. The result is a solid foray into an eclectic wine-drinking album.
“There are a lot of originals,” says Hanaiali`i. “It’s very acoustic-y, vibe-y, Shania Twaine-y, but a little more soulful. It’s a fun album. Something totally different that has rhythm and blues, acoustic and jazz.”
I liked the idea of pairing the wine with the music, and popped a bottle of Hanaiali`i merlot just to experience it. I definitely feel the country influences in a few of her tracks like “I Would Have Stayed” and “The Meaning of Love,” which features steel guitar and mandolin plucking. “Every part of love” is soulful but upbeat, and it’s the catchy tune on the album. She also sneaks in a Hawaiian title with “Uale a o Ka Mahina,” but it’s a love ballad sung in English.
I hardly ever drink merlot, but Hanaiali`i describes it as a bold cab drinker’s merlot, with dark berry and chocolate notes. It’s from a single-source grape in St. Helena in Napa. The merlot won two gold medals in last year’s West Coast Wine Competition. The wine is delightful, and either I’ve been converted to a merlot lover or this one is exceptional. So far I’ve found the versatile album Chardonnay pairs well with both her chardonnay and her merlot. I know it will pair even better with the menu at the King Kamehameha Golf Club dinner show, and you can get it by the bottle at her show.
“I’m creating music all the time, in Hawaiian, jazz and R & B,” says Hanaiali`i. “I’ve been grooming my fan base for this over time. I had Michael Ruff, from Kauai, produce Generation Hawai’i. I had a tune on that album with Ernie Watts called an ‘Evil Talent’ with sax. Then I did Friends and Family of Hawai’i that was duets with all the males of Hawaii–Willie Nelson, Robert Cazimero, Fiji, Rebel Souljahs–in different genres. I even went into reggae mode. What’s interesting about Hawaiian music is that it’s hard for people to sing in Hawaiian, but Hawaiian people can sing in any genre. So as an artist, you’re always growing and changing and getting better and better. I’m a song writer. I love to challenge imagery in people’s minds, melodies and collaborations.”
If you opt for the meet-and-greet, you get preferred seating for the dinner show as well as pupu and wine with Amy on the spectacular rooftop of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed clubhouse. VIP ticket holders will also get a copy of her new album.
Seating for the buffet dinner starts at 6:30pm. For these dinner music shows at the clubhouse, you could also opt for the show only at for $25, and it starts at 8pm. Hanaiali`i will also be performing on February 11th and March 3rd. Call 808-243-1025 for reservations and more information.
Jan. 21, Feb. 11, March 3
King Kamehameha Golf Club
2500 Honoapi`ilani Hwy., Wailuku
Organic Mixed Green Salad, Three Choices of Salad Dressing
Fresh Shoyu Ahi Poke
Fresh Baked Rolls and Butter
Garlic Herb Roast Prime Rib of Beef, Au jus and Creamed Horseradish
Pan-roasted Tiger Shrimp with Linguini and Cream Sauce
Oven-baked Salmon Stuffed with Crab, Garlic Herb Butter Sauce
Macadamia Nut Crusted Chicken Breast, Maple Cream Sauce
Tofu Vegetable Stir Fry
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Green Beans Almandine
Steamed White Rice
Assorted Pies, Cheese Cakes,Chocolate Mousse Cake, Carrot Cake…and much more