Raiatea Helm, 18(EARLY ARTICLE FROM HONOLULU ADVERTISER BY JOHN BERGER)
|Raiatea Helm: Her voice has been compared to those of Genoa Keawe and Lena Machado.|
Raiatea Helm of Kalama'ula, Moloka'i, considers such comparisons a big compliment, but she insists on developing her own style.
"I don't want to be like anyone," she said. She is inspired not only by Hawaiian musicians, but also artists such as Celine Dion and Charlotte Church.
Helm acknowledges that her sound isn't typical for island teen musicians, but it's something she's proud of.
"Falsetto has the ha'i, and that's what I like about it — that break," she said. "It's like yodeling. That's the neat thing about falsetto, because not that many people can do the ha'i, and it's really cool."
She discovered her talent just two years ago.
"It just came out," she said. "I didn't take lessons or classes. Nothing at all. I just imitated other people."
Her father, Zachary, calls her a natural.
"What she offers is pure Hawaiian at heart," he said. "Her voice is so pure and sweet."RAIATEA SINGING WITH THE HONOLULU SYMPHONY
WITH AUNTY GENOA KEAWE!(LEFT)
Raiatea Mokihane Maile Helm made history in 2006 as Hawai‘i’s first female vocalist to ever receive a Grammy Nomination for her sophomore CD “Sweet and Lovely.” Just 21 years old, she was one of the youngest performers to attend the 42nd Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, California. It is a remarkable achievement when you consider that she comes from the tiny island of Moloka‘i, Hawai‘i, a mere wisp of volcanic land in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
The Arts and Leisure Desk of the New York Times (February 5, 2006) ran a story that listed Grammy Nominated artists who had produced remarkable work but who might be overshadowed by the pop and glitz of industry icons. The NYT wrote of Raiatea Helm, “[She] sings in the high-voiced throwback leo ki‘eki‘e style without a hint of kitsch. Her second album, “Sweet and Lovely” is poised and utterly elegant.”
Raiatea Helm’s recent appearance onto the national music scene with her Grammy Nomination was a natural progression of her growth within the Hawaiian music scene. Her debut recording, “Far Away Heaven,” captured the prestigious Female Vocalist of the Year and Most Promising Artist awards from the 2003 Hawai‘i Academy of Recording Artists (HARA). Raiatea Helm continued her award-winning tradition two years later with the release of her second album “Sweet and Lovely.” (Raiatea Helm Records) At the 2005 Hawai‘i Academy of Recording Artists awards ceremony, she was recognized again as Female Vocalist and also received the coveted award of Favorite Entertainer of the Year. With the additional awards for technical merit in Engineering (Dave Tucciarone) and Graphic Design (Mele McPherson), “Sweet and Lovely” received six Na Hoku Hanohano Awards. Few performers of any age can lay claim to such an accomplishment.
As her reputation flourished, Raiatea Helm’s concert appearances have taken her to venues across the United States, Japan and Asia. She has performed with legends of Hawaiian music: The Cazimero Brothers, The Makaha Sons, Keali‘i Reichel, Ho‘okena, Auntie Genoa Keawe, Ledward Ka‘apana, and the list continues to grow.