Waipio Gentry Singer Makes Atherton Debut
Hawaii Public Radio (HPR) invites the public to indulge in an evening of intimate soul with Waipio Gentry’s Maryanne Ito at 7:30 p.m. June 6. (Doors open at 7 p.m.)
This performance marks Ito’s debut at the station’s Atherton Studio, and she’s using this opportunity to debut her album Waking Up, which won a Na Hoku Hanohano Award for R&B Album of the Year at the May 23 awards ceremony.
Her album also hit No. 4 on the Official UK Chart weeks after its release.
“It’s still so surreal to me that I’m actually following through,” said Ito of her award. “I’ve dreamt about it. Most artists and musicians use their art as a meaning of expression, and to be acknowledged for it is a big deal.”
Her Waking Up performance Saturday will feature Bigg John Akapo (guitar), Ely the Producer (keyboards), Christian Legaspi (bass) and JayDrums (percussion).
“I’m going to share music from my album, and I’m also going to share a few tunes that inspired me and my style of music,” she said of her ’90s-inspired beats. “It’s only right to pay tribute.”
Guests also can expect her soulful jazz, R&B and hip-hop roots to manifest as she shares her album’s music, which tells the story of art and fantasy, and the good and bad sides of love.
“It’s definitely inspired by life,” she said. Back in 2011, Ito was at a crossroads.
“I had to make some decisions on whether I really wanted to pursue music or if I wanted to continue my regular routine of life.
“It was safe and comfortable, but I wasn’t sure if I’d be living up to my full potential.”
She chose the path less traveled and mustered the courage to take a leap of faith into the unknown.
“I had been singing since I was 3 or 4 years old, and my mother used to sit us down and teach us church songs,” she recalled. “I used to love that.”
Ito has been singing for a long time, but she isn’t professionally trained. “I picked up everything,” she said. “I pick up music through just listening, by ear.”
Her love of singing continued into elementary school, when her talent for writing emerged.
“I loved even writing book reports,” she admitted.
During intermediate school, Ito began penning poetry, which eventually turned into songwriting.
“I started putting melodies to some of my poems, and before you know it, I was writing songs as early as 12 or 13 years old.”
General admission tickets cost $30 and $25 for HPR members. Students with ID pay $15. Tickets can be purchased online at hprtickets.com, or call the station at 955-8821.
HPR’s Atherton Studio is located at 738 Kaheka St.