Anjani delivers her best yet on Blue Alert

by Jenny Uechi


Spring 2006
If music were compared to a beverage, pop music would be a sugary, addictive pop soda, while the music of Anjani Thomas would be like a vintage dry red wine: smooth, subtle, and intoxicating.

Known to most people as Leonard Cohen's collaborator and former love interest, there's good reason why the half-Hawaiian, half-Okinawan singer took fifteen years since becoming a professional musician to start producing her own music. Great things take time to develop, and by the time Anjani's self-titled CD was released in 2000, her already remarkable musical talents had ripened to perfection. In a time in which female vocalists of every genre are scouted during in their teens for marketability, Anjani's newfound acclaim at fortysomething proves that there's no substitute for hard work and life experience.

Born into a musical family in Honolulu, Anjani left Hawaii as a teenager in order to pursue a music career in the mainland U.S. Playing in various jazz clubs through New York, Anjani's fateful encounter with Leonard Cohen in 1984, in a meeting arranged by producer John Lissauer. What started as a simple back-up singing gig for her in his single, "Hallelujah" evolved into a sweeping 20-year collaboration and a romance that spanned over six long years.

The nature of Anjani's relationship with Cohen is reflected in the lack of buzz and media hype surrounding it. During all the years that Anjani spent with Cohen, there were no shocking tell-all books about her relationship with Canada's most revered wordsmith, nor were there any hasty bids for a solo career 'a Kevin Federline. From the easygoing Hawaiian folk and jazz in her [debut CD] Anjani to the spiritual odes to God in her album The Sacred Names released during the following year, every song in Anjani's book is the fruit of her real talent, nurtured by Cohen.

With Blue Alert, her latest album, Anjani is finding the critical and commercial success that she has worked for decades to achieve. Combining Cohen's lyrics with her self-composed music, the album is filled with instant classics such as "Thanks for the Dance" and "No One After You."

"There's perfume burning in the air/Bits of beauty everywhere. Your lip is cut/On the edge of her pleated skirt/Blue alert."

Cohen recalls that Anjani was onto something special when he first heard her sing the soulful rendition of the album's title. "She was singing from a place that few singers ever get to sing from," he recalls. Anjani's journey to that "place" has been a long-winded, but she has finally managed to arrive.

For more information on Anjani, visit For a sample of her music, go to