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Artist of the Month - September 2018

Written By Jim T. Gammill
Arts Council Menifee

AnAhi Garcia-Rodriguez was born in Long Beach, California to Nancy Garcia and Julio Rodriguez. Julio is an educator that currently works at The Santa Rosa Academy; Nancy worked in education accounting for a while and has since moved on to being a stay at home mom. The couple has three other children, two girls and a boy. The family resided in Orange County, Palmdale, and Wildomar before they came to call Menifee home in 2008. However, it was in her early childhood years that AnAhi remembers some of her first experiences with music.

“My great-grandma would always sing to me as a baby and I remember being so fascinated by it.” AnAhi recalls, “My family tells me that I was always humming songs even before I could speak a word.”

Her family always took comfort in attending church services and it was here that AnAhi felt the magic of music and song once again. At the age of six she was determined to become a member of the church choir. She was accepted as the group’s youngest member and over a decade later, still participates in her current church’s choir.

“I love how being in church makes me feel and I love how singing makes me feel, so having these two great joys in one place has always meant so much to me!”

AnAhi has had the opportunity to attend Menifee’s Santa Rosa Academy since she was in fourth grade. It was during her time at the academy that she had her first experience in an ensemble choir. It was a unique experience for AnAhi in the respect that there was more to it than just singing. Getting up in front of people and performing had always come easy to her, but the harmonizing and all the work that it took to sync her voice with a larger group was something else altogether.

Like most young people, AnAhi had a period in which she wanted to spend more time with friends than she did on her music or school work. She never lost interest completely, but the emotion and feeling in her performances had dwindled noticeably.

“She would stand in front of the microphone and sing,” the artist’s mother, Nancy Garcia remembers, “but we could tell that the passion just wasn’t in it.”

A common theme in all great stories is the one moment when destiny reveals itself in the guise of an unexpected mentor or an unforeseen and unavoidable occurrence. For AnAhi this event manifested itself in something as ordinary as going to get a physical to attend summer camp during her ‘not-so musical’ phase. AnAhi’s parents took her to see Dr. Kathleen Hurwitz, a local physician. When AnAhi sat on the exam table, Dr. Hurwitz asked her what she wanted to do when she grew up and AnAhi responded instantly.

“I want to be a singer,” AnAhi said, “I don’t know why I said it or how It came so quickly, but as soon as I said the words I knew that they were true.”

Dr. Hurwitz asked AnAhi to sing for her and she did just that. The woman was so impressed that she asked her young patient to got to the front office and sing for her staff. AnAhi fulfilled this request just as happily and it felt exhilarating. Inspired by AnAhi’s talent, Dr. Hurwitz referred her to Norm Boaz, a local vocal coach that Dr. Hurwitz used for her own lessons. After starting classes, the Garcia-Rodriguez family was amazed to hear that AnAhi’s one-time physician had provided her with a scholarship and was taken aback when they realized that it was going to last for two full years. At the end of Dr. Hurwitz’ gracious scholarship, Boaz decided to provide the last year of instruction free of charge.

When asked about payment, Boaz simply responded with, “I can’t wait to see her on a big stage someday.”

The mentorship of Norm Boaz offered more than vocal training, it also helped AnAhi understand how important things like introductions and physical mannerisms were to her stage presence. The man covered everything from facial expression to hand movements. As a result, the young artist became even more confident on stage and did not miss a beat in her blossoming singing career. AnAhi has competed in several local competitions including talent competitions for The Temecula Boys and Girls Club, and the 2018 Menifee Boys and Girls Club’s “The One” competition, in which she won first place. AnAhi’s passion to perform is not limited by geographical location, the young singer has made it through several rounds of auditions for major competitions like television’s, American Idol and The Voice. AnAhi’s grandfather, Jamie Garcia, always roots her on and is so excited to see all of AnAhi’s accomplishments and where her musical journey may take her; the man had musical aspirations of his own, but had to commit his time to raising and providing for his family.

Arts Council Menifee noticed the young star as a two-time contestant in Menifee’s Got Talent, where she didn’t fail to impress. The organization recently invited AnAhi to sing at one of its Friday night ‘Music by the Pond’ events at The Menifee Town Center where the artist performed effortlessly for two hours. Arts Council Trustee and organizer of Menifee’s Got Talent, Colleen Ackerman had the following to say of AnAhi: “With her outstanding talent, tenacity, and devotion to her craft, there is no doubt that AnAhi will be a successful performer. In addition, she is as beautiful inside as out, always displaying humility, kindness, and gratitude towards everyone.”

As one of Menifee’s most shining young stars, the future is certainly bright and limitless for AnAhi Garcia-Rodriguez. It is for this reason that Arts Council Menifee is proud to name her as September’s Artist of the Month. Stay tuned and keep your fingers crossed, at the time of this article’s creation AnAhi was preparing to audition for American Idol.

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