If you find yourself in or headed to spectacular, nostalgic places this season, there’s no better accompaniment than Holley Maher‘s upcoming EP, Odd Place to Be.
We first met Holley, the featured artist in our “A Dream in the Making” video, when she sent us a Fave Find submission. A few weeks later, she e-mailed again, saying she was just starting to work on her EP, and if it wasn’t too much to ask us to check out some of her music samples. We were instantly drawn to the recent college grad’s charming tunes, determination to pursue her musical dreams, and her surprisingly hilarious blog. Her songs got passed through the office, eventually reaching our videographer, who decided it was the perfect fit for our “Dream” stylebook video!
Read our interview with this Nashville music maven, and, while you’re at it, cue up your free download of Holley’s “Edie’s Balcony”!
What inspires your music?
My writing is lifted directly out of my life. When feelings overwhelm me, I have to write. Or do something! Paint, draw, anything to get that “I’m going to explode!” feeling out of my system. But writing a song is the most fulfilling outlet.
What is your favorite song from Odd Place to Be, and why?
“Edie’s Balcony,” because of the night it brings to mind every time I hear it. My friend, Edie, as you might have guessed, has a balcony. On that balcony one night, she hosted a gathering of our closest friends, and we bundled up next to the fire pit, looked out over the city, and shared our stories and secrets with each other. We played music all night, and watched the sun rise.
How did you come up with the design for your album cover? Is that a picture of you as a child?
No, that isn’t me! I get asked that a lot. The little girl is Fanny Travis Cochran, the subject of a portrait by Cecilia Beaux [from] 1887. I was on an Eduardo Recife kick and wanted to try creating a print collage in that style. Each bit of the cover art is historic, part of the public domain, and has some significance to me.
For example, the red bird is for my grandpa, who adored cardinals, and the fortune over Fanny’s eyes was [from] my fortune cookie the day I designed the artwork. It reads, “You are about to embark on a most delightful journey!” I thought it was perfect, and I still have it.
What musicians are you listening to now?
Katie Herzig is a local favorite of mine, and Amy Stroup and Andrew Belle, as well as The Civil Wars. I’m also loving Grace Potter, The Black Keys, and Tom Petty’s new album at the moment.
What advice would you give fellow aspiring artists?
You’re crazy! Go get an education and a desk job! No, no, just kidding. Deciding to go all-or-nothing, knowing the odds aren’t much in your favor, is an insanely tough choice to make. Especially if you’re doing it like me—independently, without a traditional record deal or giant bankroll.
I juggle two jobs, my music, my design business, and my side projects like The INdie Crowd, but it rarely feels like too much, somehow. And as for making time for music, it makes time for itself. If there’s a song coming on, everything else takes a back seat. It has to.
I’ve had people tell me plenty of times about plenty of things in my life that it would lead to nothing, and I’m too stubborn to let that bother me. So, if that sounds like you, then I’m here to tell you that it can be done.
Do you have any upcoming shows?
The album comes out this January, and when it does, I’ll be throwing a big CD release party in Nashville, so keep your eyes open for that! You can also keep track of my gigs on my Facebook or MySpace.
Listen and download “Edie’s Balcony,” above, and let us know what you think of Holley’s music!