By: Lauren Jonik (email@example.com)
Like watching a phoenix rise into the air, as Debby
Holiday took the stage at The Gig in Los Angeles, CA, the atmosphere
instantly blended into an open sky of emotion, musical passion and
freedom. As all eyes were transfixed on the stage, it was obvious
that in that space, something extraordinary was happening: Debby
Holiday and her band reached a level of intensity, sincerity and
spontaneity that enveloped the room and offered the audience an
invitation into a world that was impossible to refuse.
with the power of her voice and the strength of her stage presence
is nothing new for Debby Holiday. As if proving the old adage about
the apple not falling far from the tree to be true, Debby
came from a musical family--- her father was a songwriter and her
mother was a concert pianist. While she has been singing for as
long as she can remember, Debby began performing professionally
when she was in her early twenties and she realized that music was
truly one of her gifts. "When it hits, you know, you just know."
But, it is the connecting with other human beings through her music
that she values most. "I really genuinely like people,"
Debby explained. "When I was a kid, music pretty much saved
my life. I think it is such an incredible gift to be able to communicate
and have someone walk away and say, 'Hey, I feel better' or 'I feel
like someone understood,' or 'I just had a good time.' That is what
I like the best about performing--- the experience of exchanging."
To see Debby Holiday
perform is to witness joy in action. She accurately describes her
live show as "loud, energetic and giving." The power of
music is one that cuts across all boundaries and gets to the heart
of the matter--- and often times, right to the heart of the soul.
"Music removes a lot of barriers. Most of us are moved by the
same things," said Debby. Songs like What's The Matter,
That's The Way It Is and the ballad Goodbye are universal
favorites for that very reason. "The songs that audiences respond
to the most are the ones that were written from the most extreme
depths of emotion."
When songwriting, Debby
Holiday draws inspiration from both the experiences of her own life
and that of friends and loved ones. Sometimes, it is a combination
of the two, as in Goodbye, which was culmination of mixing
three or four experiences together to create the theme of the song---
one of not wanting to end contact with a loved one. "I don't
want to do it, don't think I can even try, I don't want to hear
it out loud, I don't want to say goodbye," sings Debby making
conviction and vulnerability complementary in the space of a song.
In addition to writing about the dynamics of romantic relationships,
Debby touches on other themes close to her heart--- like becoming
a world in which we support and guide each other instead of opting
for the path of competition. "I tend to write heavy love songs
or heavy world songs--- like Things Change." It seems
fitting that Debby Holiday's CD opens with That's The Way It
Is (which was recorded by producer Clif Magness who worked with
on her debut CD) and ends with Things Change--- two songs
that are about celebrating the beauty of our differences and making
the world a better place, while the songs in between explore our
relationship to ourselves and our close loved ones. As in life,
our ability to love ourselves begins deep within and stretches outward
toward the edges of our lives and into our world.
Being true to herself
is a key element in Debby Holiday's philosophy towards music and
life in general. When creating, it is essential for artists of all
kinds to "do what makes you tick and be who you are."
Because neither praise nor criticism have the power to define someone
or her work, Debby explains that she is careful not to take every
outside opinion to heart and she realizes that staying grounded
involves remaining humble and focused on what matters the most.
"I just put on an Aretha Franklin record. . . Sometimes, listening
to someone you really love reminds you what music is all about---
the fact that it made you feel something."
With a sound described
as a combination of "Sheryl
Crow meets Lenny
Kravitz," Debby Holiday has worked with fellow Los Angeles-based
Freese, who played on All I Ever Wanted and That's
The Way It Is, Michael
Duff, for whom she sang background vocals on his latest EP,
and artists like Chris
Pierce, Eric Colvin and The Larrys, sometimes sharing the stage
with them. When performing her own material, she is joined by guitarist
Bryan Corbett, with whom she does a lot of writing. guitarist Jeff
Fedak, bassist Orlando Sims (formerly of Chalk FarM) and drummer
Jonathan Dresel. "Before a show, I make sure I connect with
the band, just so it doesn't feel like five different people out
there. We're a team. It is important to connect with the people
you're creating music with." Debby wholeheartedly embraces
the immediacy of a performance. "You're there, you're going,
you're in the moment. You don't have to think, you just do."
And, it is in those moments that Debby shares the undeniable truth
that expressing yourself is a crucial key to living and an integral
part of connecting. When asked what she hopes people will take away
from her music, she said, "joy--- and knowing that someone
else on the planet feels the way you do. Someone else doesn't want
to leave someone they love or someone else is pissed off. I want
them to walk away with the sense that it is okay to express yourself.
So many of us are not taught that it is not only good, but necessary
to do so in whatever way you think you can be the most helpful to
In addition to the pure
love of it, there is another reason that Debby Holiday excels in
her live shows and that is the honoring a kind of timeless reciprocity.
"I just want to sing all the time. I just want to go out there
and perform. I would love to have the experience of meeting people
all over the world and seeing what it's like to hear, 'hey, I was
going through something and that song of yours made me feel better.'
I just feel like I owe all the people that helped me through my
childhood to put it back out into the world. . . I am hoping this
is a way I can give."
by Denice Duff (http://www.duffimages.com)