At 16 years young, Anthony Pfluke (Akoni) has been sharing his gift of music with Hawaii audiences for the past 5 years. His soul-stirring originals are brought to life by his robust, expressive voice. Anthony’s extraordinary accompaniment of Ukulele, Keyboards, and Slack Key Guitar lay behind the melody, to bring his true songs to life. According to twice-Grammy-nominated songwriter and music educator Shane Adams, “Anthony Pfluke is a refreshingly bright triple-starred constellation of extraordinary voice, impeccable musicianship, and insightful songwriting.” Deeply rooted to his home, you can hear the sounds of Hawaii through Anthony’s music. Four-time-Grammy-award winner, George Kahumoku Jr, says “I’ve watched his talent grow into one of the shakers and movers of the next generation of Hawaiian music.” “Sometimes I forget that he is still a 16 year old because he already plays and sings like a pro.” Anthony’s debut album, Never Letting Go is the perfect combination of soulful songwriting, deft musicianship, and amazing vocals.
This is my first professionally recorded piece of music, and it was such a learning experience. I want this record to reach as many people’s hearts as possible. I believe that I have a gift of songwriting, and it is my Kuleana to share it to people who need to hear it. My mentor, Uncle George Kahumoku ever so graciously donated his beautiful musical talent to the tracks. Uncle George has taught me so much about so many different things, and is the best mentor anyone could have. Above the perceived meaning of the song “Never Letting Go,” it is the title of my EP to show that music is my passion, my love, my life, and I’m “Never Letting Go,” of it as a lifelong career.
Stuck in yesterday is my favorite song to play. Every time I play it, I feel the emotions of the song, and heavily relate to it. This is a song that unlike a lot of my newer songs, is very much written about my life from my point of view. Also unlike many of my songs, most of the song came to me in one night. The bridge came to me later, but the writing process was very easy and straightforward, as if it just dropped from the sky.
This song is about love, and longing for someone. A simple thought or feeling can go so far when writing a song, and that’s how it starts. This song is based on the feeling of knowing someone is going to wait for you and the mutual longing that love holds. The song started with the main baritone ukulele riff played after each line of the verses. I thought it was a sort of simply romantic riff that would carry a song of this type. The rest of the song came from the idea I explained above. The piano part came later as I was getting ready to record. The song is played in an open G tuning.
This is a song written for the voyaging canoe, Mo’okiha O Pi’ilani. This song was a struggle to write, and took over 3 months. The song was commissioned by Uncle Kimokeo Kapahulehua. He requested I write a song and play it for the launch of a canoe that was under construction longer than I have been alive. I am very happy with the end product, and honored to share the song.
This was a song that was put together from a few riffs I would play a lot when just strumming casually. I would strum the chorus for months before, I added some structure and made it a song. The song was completed at a time of vocal injury, in which I could not sing for 6 months. I like to think this song showed that I wasn’t going out that easy.
This song is one of the first songs i’ve written from someone else’s perspective. I sing this as a friend of a girl/woman who would always reject what I know is her soulmate, but she doesn’t see it yet. I’m going for a simple, subdued melody, but powerful feeling. I am letting the lyrics take the lead, as this is one of the songs with the least tracks, and the only song without ukulele.
Hawaiian Cowboy is the only cover on the album, and my favorite cover to sing. Written by Sol K. Bright, the song speaks of a cowboy honoring various horses. Growing up hearing the greats perform this song, in 2014 I figured I’d take on the challenge. I played Hawaiian Cowboy for my winning contest entry at the Hula Grill Youth contest that year, and it has since been my signature hana-hou number, and a crowd favorite.
This song was written on the piano soon after I got my phone and wallet stolen at the beach. The writing process was carried on that idea and scenario. Sometimes we are losing things we don’t realize, and it come to the point where you see it all gone at once, and it seems everything is gone. I am not a textbook christian, and don’t go to church often, but I do believe in god, the universe, whatever you want to call it. And I feel that at times the only thing you can do is give it to god. I also believe god alters your path in life, and sometimes not for the better in the moment, but later an important lesson would be learned.
Uncle George Kahumoku Jr. for his amazing generosity and support, my great vocal coach Joy Fields, Marcus Johnson for the great bass, David Barry for mixing the record beautifully, Kari and Kim Larsen for help with my website and photos, Scott Harding of Inside Out Universe Studios, and Kumu Kealoha of 808ukejams.
“Never Letting Go” is dedicated to my parents for their ongoing love and support.