Musical Discoveries: Please tell us about your musical background.
Holly Brook: I was born into a very musical family. My mom was in various folk acts, and my dad was in a barber shop quartet. My great grandma was an opera singer and my great uncle had a 32 piece one-man-band. So, music was in my blood. I started singing harmonies when I was two, did my first studio vocal session singing backgrounds when I was five, and began taking piano lessons when I was six. At my first piano recital I played an original song.
Around that same time, my mom and I decided to start a duo called "Generations." For about ten years we toured around the midwest together and recorded three albums of mostly folk and kid songs. I was also very involved with musical theatre, and my big dream was that I wanted to be on Broadway. But puburty did a number on my vocal chords, so the powerful belting sound disappeared and a softer, more soothing voice was discovered. The change took a minute top get used to, but I have decided I like it much better now.
As I entered middle school, my peers started making fun of the music I sang because it wasn't "cool" anymore. This is when I decided to really get into song writing.
Did you always know you wanted to be a musician?
I always knew that music was my first love. Of course, I did bounce around some other ideas, like most kids do. At one point I wanted to be the President of the United States so that I could paint the White House pink.
Can you tell us about how you hooked up with your current crew and what it as been like working with them? How has your producer influenced your sound?
I left high school early and moved to Los Angels when I was 17. It was a big change in my life. Being from a small rural town in Wisconsin of 1500 people, LA provided me with a bit of a culture shock. My parents didn't move with me, but my mom was very supportive of the idea. I originally attended a music convention, where I met someone who invited me to come out again and write some songs. He ended up being a slime ball, but I have to thank him for introducing me to Jon Ingoldsby.
Jon was the first songwriter I met with, and he has since been my mentor, my co-writer, producer, and best friend. I also met another great production couple who call themselves Elicit Productions, and together, we all wrote and recorded the demo that got me signed.
After pushing my way around the big city, introducing myself to anyone and everyone, I found a manager. He happened to be friends with Linkin Park's manager. He knew they had their own label, so he gave a copy of my demo to them, not thinking much of it. But surprisingly enough, they are the ones who really "got it."
Brad, the guitar player, met with me and then the whole band came to see a show. A few days later, they had the deal on the table.
When we started recording the album, I knew i wanted Jon Ingoldsby to produce it. We just have this strong and rare musical connection that I knew would bring magic to the project. He is the main person who helped me develop and define my style and sound as an artist.
What artists do you think have influenced your work?
Joni Mitchell, Willy Porter, Sarah Mclachlan, Bob Dylan, Imogen Heap, and so many others.
Please tell us about the making of your album.
When we started it, it was just supposed to be an EP. But after recording eight songs that turned out better than we had even hoped, we decided to do a few more and call it a record.
We initially tracked it with a live band onto analog tape at Stagg Street Studios in the Valley. We did this because Jon and I are big fans of the music from the 60s and 70s when everything was warm and crunchy sounding. Then we bounced to ProTools and did over dubs and editing at Jon's house. Jon is the best producer ever! He knows how to make the instrumentation support a vocal and a song and without getting in the way.
How have you been affected by the publicity of your debut album?
I'm not really media savvy, but it's exciting to be able to buy my CD in a store. It's also weird though because my songs are so personal that I suddenly feel like I've stripped naked for the whole world to see. I guess the publicity also puts some pressure on me because I suddenly have an expectation to live up to. But no matter what happens, I could never stop making music. Its the only thing I really CAN do.
How do you describe the style of your music?
The great thing about the way my record was produced is that I could go so many different ways with my second album, but still sound like Holly. My new material is similar, yet different, and there's tons of it. You'll just have to wait and see.
How do the audiences react to your live performances and on-stage persona?
I have a lot of fun with my audiences. Since my music is so serious I try to lighten up the mood in between the songs. Some people say that they like my performances better than my CD, but I'm a perfectionist so I tend to like my record better.
From what do you draw inspiration for the music and the lyrics?
I get inspired super easily. Love, of course, hardships in life, etc.
How do you think the previews of your album have impacted the public's interest in your music?
I don't know, ask the public! And I don't read reviews...
What are your interests outside of music?
How do you think the internet has influenced your musical career?
MySpace is a great place to promote and network, I have definitely acquired a lot of fans from that.
What are your musical hopes, plans and dreams?
Too much. I dream big. People call me crazy...