Artist Interview: Holly Ann
Posted on 30 March 2017
Today, we have talented gospel singer-songwriter, Holly Ann with us. In this interview, Holly opens up about her career, how she spends her day and where she finds the inspiration for her music.
Personality Type (Myers-Briggs): INFJ
Favorite song: Right now: Prisoner by Ryan Adams (of course this is always changing)
Favorite artist: All the toughest questions right off the bat. I guess we will just go with Ryan Adams for consistency’s sake.
Zodiac Sign: Libra
Favorite Color: Light Pink
Favorite Season: Late Summer into Early Fall
City of your dreams: I love Portland but I’ve always dreamed of being a New York City girl
Favorite TV Show/ Movie: TV show is Lost. Movie is…oh geez… The last movie I saw twice in Theaters was Rouge 1. If we’re going real classic I’m a sucker for Princess Bride and Beauty & the Beast
Favorite book or writer: The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson Mcullers. Finishing “Infinite Jest” right now by David Foster Wallace if that gives me any street cred. Also gotta give credit to my favorite YA author Jerry Spenelli
Favorite YouTuber/ Channel: Nerd Writer
Most underrated artist, in your opinion: The Parson Red Heads
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Night owl all the way.
I love all your albums but Ravens is one of my personal favorites. What inspired you to write and record this album?
Thank you! This was my first album, so really, it’s a collection of songs that span several years coming from many different musical influences and personal circumstance. Putting words and music to my experiences became a very cathartic process early in my life- I started writing music when I was 12 years old. So, looking back on Ravens, it’s really just pure young adult expression through music. I was waist deep in the indie rock scene during the years I wrote those songs- so bands like Copeland, Lovedrug, Fiona Apple, etc were very influential.
How would you describe your ideal day?
Getting up moderately early, a good cup of coffee, reading/meditating/praying, writing music, eating something local and delicious for lunch, spending time outside and with my husband, and if it’s a REALLY good day, It involves treasure hunting at thrift stores or ya know… Target. (yea, I’m one of those girls)
Which of your songs is your personal favorite?
I think I’m actually still most proud of the song “Of the Breeze” I still really love to play that piano part. From my most recent album I think my favorite song is “River’s End” Hard to pick a favorite though…they all are favorites in one-way or another.
What is the best compliment you’ve received as a singer/songwriter?
Two stand out to me; both from friends. One, a friend who is a musician I really respect, told me after a local show that all of my songs were truly well written songs- sounds vague, but she said, ‘a lot of bands, when you take away the other instruments- they don’t hold up, but every one of your songs holds up.’ I think any songwriter loves to hear another respected musician that they write good songs! Second one: another musician friend told me that I was in their top 5 for coolest stage presence. I feel so awkward on stage most the time- so that was a big deal to hear that!
Tell us more about your latest album, Light & Bloom. How did the idea for this album come about?
I knew that I was going to be recording a full-length album with the Deeper Well Gospel Collective about a year before we started production, and I spent most of that time really searching for what I wanted this album to say. Faith was a reoccurring theme in Ravens- but it certainly wasn’t explicit and through Deeper Well the goal is to create wholly faith-based albums. I’ve always felt there hasn’t been a lot of music that wrestles honestly with moments of feeling lukewarm in faith and general uncertainty. Following Jesus is actually really difficult and being able to admit that in songs was both cathartic and also something I hoped would be helpful for listeners to hear- maybe in a way they hadn’t heard before. With Light & Bloom I wanted to just- put all my chips on the table with all the highs and lows of faith- I wanted an album that fearlessly said, its okay to feel afraid and unworthy sometimes and you aren’t alone in that. We have to let light seep into our darkest places if we ever want to truly bloom. Sonically, I wanted an album that pushed the boundaries for singer/songwriters. I wanted it to feel experimental and gritty but without completely straying away from structured songwriting to match the familiar mixed with the unknown elements of the lyrics.
What do you strive to achieve as an artist? What is the legacy that you want to leave behind?
I think my goal as an artist is to put words and music to elements of the human experience in a way that feels new but familiar all at once. I hope that through my raw honesty and my desire to make music that isn’t status quo I can inspire and encourage listeners. In 20 or more years I hope I can look back and see a catalogue of music that is unabashedly me. More importantly I hope I leave a personal legacy of always caring for others more than myself.
When did you know you for sure that wanted to be a professional recording artist? How would you describe the journey from there to now?
My first music related dream was actually to be a Broadway star! After that, I dreamed of becoming an opera star. Ha! When I was 12 I started writing music and I remember performing a song I had written during a talent show at a summer camp and getting a great reception- That was probably the first moment of thinking, I might be good enough at this to really do something! From then on I really kept at it- playing every open mic night I could- pedaling live demos to my school friends- until I finally graduated high school and had enough money to record ‘Ravens’. But after that first album came out I had a really hard time. I had got my hopes up that I would get to pursue music full time and that didn’t happen. It was difficult to find shows to play, I couldn’t seem to get myself on a tour... I didn’t really have a music community, and the bills were adding up. Friends had this perception of me that I was succeeding because I recorded a really quality album but I didn’t feel I succeeded at all and it was really painful. It took the next five years to heal after feeling like it wasn’t going to ‘happen’ for me. I had to re-define success in music and really dig deep to find a place where writing and playing was fun again and didn’t come with the pressure and baggage of being a successful and known musician. And honestly, all of those feelings of fear of failure still came up recording Light & Bloom. What if this album isn’t well received? What if nothing happens? It’s hard to not get your hopes up. What I wouldn’t do to get to be the kind of artists that tours and plays to full and excited crowds every night! But with age and experience has come a lot more peace with where I’m at. Apart from God, music is my first love and no amount of exposure or opportunities will change that.
Do you have any other projects in the pipeline? When can we expect to hear more from you?
I’ve been chugging away with my band on some new music! Not sure when I’ll be ready to record a third album, but I’m really excited! I don’t even full know what to expect the record to sound like, or talk about yet… it feels like the sky is the limit right now, but I’m excited to get some new songs out!
Thank you so much for doing this interview with us. Do you have a message for our readers?
Your welcome! Thanks for asking. My message would be to keep yourself creatively inspired by reading and listening to other’s work, and keep creating- no matter what!
Thank you so much Holly for doing this interview with us. It was a pleasure having you and we wish you all the best for the future.
You can find Holly on Spotify and Noistrade.
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