Having endured being constantly called 'Petula Clark' throughout her childhood and the majority of her teenage years, Petula had had enough. As she was also looking to work in music and to stop the constant references to her better-known namesake, decided to reverse the spelling of her name and add the letters 'Ena' at the end. Despite this, the name Alutepena ('A-loo-ter-peh-nah), was still proving too much of a mouthful, with many people struggling to pronounce her new name - especially when it came to introducing her at gigs and Festivals. She then decided to shortern her name to 'Pena' (Peh-nah), a version of the name that she is happy to be referred by. To keep people 'on their toes' when it comes to releases, she sometimes refers to herself by her full name of Alutepena Hughes-John with the shortened version of 'Pena Hughes-John' for her album releases.
Pena knew from the very beginning of her music journey that her vocals would not fall under the 'usual' RnB genre. Late teens of attending group vocal tuition class where she was constantly 'expected' to 'sing like Whitney Houston', 'sing like Mariah Carey', 'sing soulful', left Pena with the feeling of not being true to herself. Pena always found herself to be different and not wanting to follow the trends of everyone else in terms of the type of music she was expected to follow. Having spent her teenage years listening to Siouxsie and the Banshees, Toyah, Blondie, Kate Bush and Bjork gave her a sense of empowerment. True to the lyrics of Toyah : "I want to free, I want to me".
Pena began writing songs back in her teens but stopped, got married, settled down and placed music on the backburner. It was after the breakup of her marriage that Pena returned to her music. During the divorce, Pena was writing a lot of diaries outlining her feelings, these diaries eventually became lyrics and then the songs. These entries were then known as 'The Alutepena Diaries'.
With the songs written, Pena embarked in getting these songs recorded at the recording studio and chose The Lodge Recording Studio in Northampton. The two albums were : 'Love, Relationships & Other Dilemmas', followed by : 'Life in Good Ole Blighty'.
Robert Godfrey provided the orchestration to Pena's songs, affectionately referred to Pena as 'the Black Toyah' by the way she sung her songs. Robert worked with Toyah at the beginning of her career and Pena's singing reminded him of this, he encouraged Pena to be herself and to not be persuaded to sing any other way, advice of which she still holds in high regard to this very day.
Music was then put on hold due to Pena embarking on another relationship. After that relationship ended, Pena found solace in music and vowed this time not to place it on the backburner. In 2017, whilst teaching herself the Ukulele, started writing songs again. As well as the Ukulele, she recently began learning to play the electric guitar and occasionally 'dabbled' with some amateur bass playing. The majority of these songs are on her latest album, 'Ghosts of My Past' which is featured on the Music & Reviews page of this site.
In addition to her album, she also works three studio projects namely :
* THE HEARTFELT DREAMLAND PROJECT : A collection of semi instrumental tracks, with the production loosely inspired by the Phil Spector's 'Wall of Sound'
* THE ANGRY UKULELE LADY : Pena's 'pseudonym' producing songs in the soft rock genre, harmonised backing vocals, Ukulele with the style heavily inspired by Toyah and Bjork.
* TEPILUNIA SOUNDSCAPES : music with a classical lien.
Pena was first introduced to Steampunk via an Open Mic, when the host (a Steampunk himself) invited her to play at a Steampunk Festival. Pena fell in love with the look and started to gain a following amongst fellow Steampunks. As a result, she was invited to perform at various gigs and Festivals, these include (but not limited to):-
The Surrey Steampunk Convivial
Eastbourne Steampunk Festival
Amberley Steampunk Cabaret
Cobbles and Cogs.
Pena has also performed at non-Steampunk events including :-
St Albans Folk Festival
Watford's 'Own the Stage',
With her interest in Steampunk increasing, Pena begun making some of the costumes as part of her image at Festivals and some of her music videos. The occasional Gothic side to her image is a throwback to her Gothic teen years, hence the nickname 'the Steampunk Gothette.
Up until the Covid pandemic, Pena regularly performed at Open Mics to try out some of her new material - not always in Steampunk costume.
Fed up with the context of imagery and pigeon-holing in the music scene and eager to release her indie rock/punk side, Pena became the 'anonymous' persona of 'The Angry Ukulele Lady'. As 'The Angry Ukulele Lady' was a studio project and with the listeners not knowing the 'The Angry Ukulele Lady's identity, Pena enjoyed the freedom of recording without the pigeon-hole constraints of artist imagery. Pena was having the time of her life recording these tracks and found this to be her favourite project prior to Lethia's Natorium. With mostly shrieking vocals, layered harmonies, melodic guitars supporting the aggressively played Ukulele, these songs had attitude.
The Angry Ukulele Lady proved popular with internet radio stations and with some within the Steampunk circles, easily identifying the anonymous artist as Pena, promoters within the Steampunk community keen to book under this guise for gigs, which Pena had to politely decline as this was supposed to be a studio project only.
The introduction of 'Lethia's Natorium' in no way marks the end of Pena's solo performances but indeed is an additional outlet for her music work with a full band setup. However with Lethia's Natorium, expect music to contain elements of progressive goth punk rock with a slice of reggae fusion for good measure.
Should you require any further information, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
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