onathan Frahm:So, I hear you’ve recently won an Emmy! That must be exciting.
Holly Henry:I did! It’s an Upper Midwest Regional Emmy. I’d received it alongside Erik Candiani and Karl Demer. What had happened was, basically, I was contacted to rework a song called “Somewhere Out There” for the local Sochi Olympics commercials. They liked what they heard and they went with it!
JF:What was it like in the moment, realizing that you had just won an Emmy? How about now, in this moment, that the initial surprise has kind of, maybe, worn off?
HH:Honestly, it really didn’t hit me at first, not when we were nominated. I said, “Hey look, we’re nominated for an Emmy, that’s cool!” Then, we’d won, but it still really didn’t hit me until my friend had pointed out that I was getting a statue for it. Now that we’re here, now, I can see this Emmy and recognize it as something physical that says “you did this” and were recognized for it. I don’t actually have one in my possession yet, but having something physical like that to accommodate your accomplishments is a cool thing to have.
JF:You’ve also been working songs into indie films recently, such as RAE and Badass & Beauty, too. What was the process like getting these songs into these films, and how do you feel about having them incorporated into productions in general?
HH:One of the main things that I have learned about myself since a young age was that I primarily wanted to be a songwriter. When I perform my own songs, it’s usually in my studio when I’m preparing to release something new. Being on The Voice, where there’s such a heavy focus on vocal power and on looks, helped reinforce these thoughts in my mind once that experience was over. I realized that I still wanted to have more out of my career than just a songwriter, though. I wanted my songs in movies and in television shows, and when I’m contacted by these indie filmmakers to incorporate something into their upcoming films, it’s amazing.
JF:What are your plans for the future in terms of studio music, by the way? Anything on the horizon?
HH:I have the songs for a full EP. In that regard, everything in terms of developing an upcoming EP is completely finished. Right now, we’re just looking into production. We need to create the EP in just the right way with the right studio and the right producer. I’d say hopefully by next year we’ll have something new out, but I can’t guarantee anything just yet!
JF:And what about the Winter’s Over Music Festival in Abercrombie, ND coming next April? A loyal reader of mine, Gary, is a huge fan of yours and wants some deets!
HH:Yeah, so, with the Winter’s Over Music Festival, I’m thinking about maybe doing something special. I hardly ever go out to do a live performance much, since I regard myself as more of a songwriter and a studio performer than anything, but when I do, it’s usually just myself. This time, I’m thinking about getting a full band to perform with me live on stage for the festival. I can’t say that I will for sure, but it’s an idea. Either way, it’ll be really cool. If you could come out, you should!
JF:From your perspective, what have been some of your greatest accomplishments in your career thus far? Better yet, where do you hope to see yourself in terms of your career in the next couple of years?
HH:Winning the Emmy was a great one, of course … But really, just having that sense of validation now where I recognize that not only is music something that I want to do, but something I’m realistically capable of doing for a career has been a very potent thing for me over this past year. I mean, I have no desire to be “famous” in the traditional way. I want to be known for my songwriting and build a good career off of that, and there were some very unsure times.
JF:Right. When you’re tackling an artistic field as your chosen career path, you’re always questioning yourself at first. Like, “I could just get a part-time job out of high school like the rest of my friends and be successful enough with that!” – You get apprehensive at times.
HH:Oh, that’s happened to me a lot! I know exactly what you mean, it’s the same thing with me. You ask yourself “Why not just do the same as everyone else?”
JF:In a legitimate, entirely non-sarcastic sort of way. It’s a struggle initially, but it seems like you’ve made it through the “bumpy start” and have hit your stride!
HH:I sure hope so.
JF:As a personal aside, you’d recently covered Bright Eyes' “Lua” on YouTube and that song has been a huge piece of me ever since it was released. I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning, as a whole, is, really.
HH:Oh, man! I hope I did it justice!
JF:You really did!
HH:But, yes, I love Bright Eyes! Conor Oberst is such a great songwriter, and he kind of paved the way for me to realize that not everything has to be perfect, and that it’s okay to be imperfect. His music proves that emotion is a key value to take more seriously than polish. I mean, every song of his sounds like a live performance, and that’s the genius of it.
JF:You’d think that, way back in the day, that maybe he’d be “just” a folk artist, too, but then he comes out with The People’s Key with electronic elements and proves everyone wrong. He’s an impeccable, innovative songwriter. Really cool that he’s had an impact on you like that.
JF:By the way, do you think that music has any healing qualities? If so, can you elaborate?
HH:I definitely think that music has healing qualities! Even myself, when I’m feeling down or sad about something, I can turn on music and… This might just be me, I hope I’m not weird! Well, I can just sit down and feel really sad about something, but if I listen to a song, I’ll end up focusing on a really neat part of the song and forget all about whatever was making me sad. I’ll instead go on focusing on an interesting melody or chord change and go, “Oh hey, that was neat!” instead of being transfixed on this negative thing. This goes without mentioning what wonders music has done in terms of actual therapy for people. I read about it in the news before. It’s really cool.
JF:Okay, so, we have one final question, and I don’t like to end my interviews in a “typical” way… Do you choose an animal or food?
HH:[laughs] Um… Let’s go with food.
JF:Do you want it to be about a specific type of food, or do you want it to be a broader question?
HH:You surprise me!
JF:Okay… If you were a pineapple, what features about yourself would distinguish you from other pineapples?
HH:[laughs] Wow. This is the best question I’ve ever been asked! If I were a pineapple, what would set me apart from other pineapples would be… Well, I’d be a monotone pineapple, because I usually wear black… I’d be a skinny, monotone pineapple, and that would be what would set me apart!
JF:Thanks, Holly, for the awesome interview. We here at PopWrapped wish you the best of luck as you career progresses and congratulate you on all of your successes thus far! Make sure to like her page on Facebook and follow her on Twitter, PopWrappers! Check out her Bright Eyes cover below: