Bare foot, blue eyed, soulful melodies…meet Holly Spears.
Holly has loved music since she was just a little girl growing up in the small town of Wana, West Virginia. She found her voice as a little girl, accompanying her father on Sunday mornings in church choir. As she grew up she began to take her musical talents outside of the church walls, performing in multiple school choirs, musicals, festivals and fairs. To continue feeding the fire Holly’s mother saw in her daughter, she purchased her daughther a piano and scheduled lessons with a local instructor. Holly loved the sound and the feel of the keys under her fingers. She soaked up what her instructor was teaching her but eventually found herself feeling caged in, trapped. She wanted to be free to move, free to dance, free to express the music. It was right about this time when she saw a Melissa Etheridge television special and immediately knew what she wanted, what she needed. After hours of begging her mother and a spotting in the classifieds by her mom, Holly got the first love of her life, her first guitar. Little did she know that that the seemingly insignificant purchase of her twenty five dollar garage sale special would set the stage for a whirlwind of new life experiences coming her way.
While teaching herself to play her new instrument, Holly began writing songs and learning about the world of music business. She joined two different rock bands and interned at a local radio station, honing her musical gifts while learning what it meant to make music for music lovers. During her radio station internship, Holly was introduced to Blessid Union of Souls lead singer, Eliot Sloan. He heard her sing and asked her to send him some of her music. Though she had a lifetime’s worth of music and lyrics written out, she had not yet recorded anything and had no money for recording equipment or studio time. She needed to find a way to create a demo, and she needed to find a way fast. With permission from the radio station, Holly used their equipment to put together a scratch demo for Sloan. He loved what he heard and began working with Holly to develop her unique sound. Balancing school and her passion for music, Holly would attend class on the weekdays and travel to Cincinnati on the weekends to write and record with Sloan and other talented writers and musicians.
After graduating from high school, Holly moved to Cincinnati, began touring with Blessid Union, and opening for bands like The Spin Doctors, Gin Blossoms, Roger McGuinn (the Byrds) and the like, while perusing a degree in Audio-Video Production at Southern Ohio College (now Brown Mackie). Despite no label and very little promotional help, Holly found her music being shared on multiple MTV, MTV2, and VH1 shows and multiple radio and local tv stations.
Taking the next step in her music career, Holly has since moved to Nashville, raised the capital to start her own record label (Girl on a Mission Music, LLC), just put out her Christmas EP (The Songs of Christmas) and is to release her next original full length album in early 2012 called "Heartache to Hope."
Holly Spears: Vocals/Acoustic:
Dave Eberhardt: Electric Guitar
Sean Murphy: Drums/Percussion
"Redemption Road" Album
Produced and Written by Holly Spears
"The Songs of Christmas" EP
Engineered and Produced by: Mitch Dane
Sputnik Sound Nashville, TN
Comes out November 2011
"Heartache to Hope"
Engineered and Produced by: Mitch Dane
Sputnik Sound in Nashville, TN
Comes out early 2012
Holly Spears CD Release
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE By: Natalie Hastings Sept. ‘09 Holly Spears Debuts New Album Oct. 2 at 2...FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
By: Natalie Hastings Sept. ‘09
Holly Spears Debuts New Album Oct. 2 at 20th Century Theater
Redemption Road explores self-restoration from a life without direction
CINCINNATI (Sept. 16, 2009)—Holly Spears, a soulful singer/songwriter from West Virginia who made her recording home in Cincinnati after touring with Blessid Union of Souls and opening for the Gin Blossoms and the Spin Doctors, will debut her new album Redemption Road at the 20th Century Theater in Oakley on Oct. 2 at 7:30 p.m. Midpoint favorite Artists & Authors will also perform.
Redemption Road is Spears’ third album, which she self-produced. Her first two were produced by Eliot Sloan of Blessid Union of Souls, and a single she wrote has been featured on Making of the Video segments on MTV, VH1 and MTV2, among other outlets.
“In a world of over-produced, self-indulgent pop rock, Holly’s simple, to-the-point sound is a breath of fresh air,” said local musician Josh Seurkamp. “Her songs have the ability to grab you by the face and make you pay attention, her lyrics are compelling and honest, and her story is amazing.”
The songs from Redemption Road explore Spears’ life journey from the joy of her discovery by Blessid Union frontman Sloan while still in high school to the loneliness of a full-time musician’s lifestyle, with little direction or self-worth, to a sense of peace and fulfillment through a relationship with God. Along the way, her songs explore joy and suffering through seeing intense poverty in Africa, meeting girls in India who are victims of sex slavery and Spears’ own walk back through childhood to redeem her past. Through it all, there is hope, for both Spears and those she encounters in suffering.
Spears wrote all of the songs on Redemption Road and plays both piano and acoustic guitar. The album also features Ric Hordinski on keyboards, electric guitar and bass, and Josh Seurkamp on drums.
The release show takes place at the 20th Century Theater in Oakley on Oct. 2 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. For more information about Spears and to hear samples of her music, visit myspace.com/hollyspears or hollyspears.com To order tickets for the show, go to www.brownpapertickets/event/78478. View her electronic press kit at http://www.sonicbids.com/epk/epk.asp?epk_id=187064.
Cincy Chic Spotlight-Holly Spears
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Chic Spotlight: Holly Spears Tenacity, intelligence and talent. Holly Spears – a local singer/songw...Chic Spotlight: Holly Spears
Tenacity, intelligence and talent. Holly Spears – a local singer/songwriter – has it all. But life hasn’t always been so cushy. Learn how she fought, risked and dreamed her way out of the sticks of West Virginia to tour nationwide and record with rockstars like the Blessid Union of Souls.
Cincy Chic: When did you first get into music?
Spears: My first musical experience was on the piano. My dad used to show me little things on my great grandmother's piano when we visited her.I always looked forward to going to her house because she had apiano and she was really funny. I started taking lessons around first grade and then my parents bought me a piano after they realized I was pretty good at it.
It was the best birthday. A truck pulled up to our house with a selection of pianos and I got to pick which one I wanted. I out-learned my teacher and stopped taking lessons, until we found another teacher who helped teach me modern sheet music that I liked from the radio.
Cincy Chic: When did you start singing?
Spears: I first started singing in church and the school choir. Other than that, I was really shy. I always felt a special connection with the choir teachers at school. One teacher really got to know me and volunteered me for a lead part. After the feeling I got when I sang by myself in front of an audience, I had no problem trying out for leads and hungered for the parts. Later, during my 6th grade year, I played for the high school band.
When I got to the 8th grade, I was given a lead roll in a high school's play. I continued to sing at school in every musical aspect. Then, I started singing at local fairs and festivals with music tracks behind me.
My first demo was recorded with those same tracks using equipment at the church we were attending at the time. My grandfather was there with me, as he and my grandmother were the first to buy me the tapes to sing along with.
Cincy Chic: As a talented singer and pianist, when did you become interested in playing the guitar?
Spears: I picked up a guitar when I was 15 after watching a documentary on Melissa Etheridge on the Lifetime Channel (we did not have MTV or VH1). She inspired me to want to sing and play the guitar and write my own songs. My mother bought me my first guitar out of the classifieds for about $25. It was a classical acoustic guitar.
After she realized I really wanted to learn, was learning quickly and teaching myself how to play, she ordered me a $300 acoustic guitar from Fingerhut Magazine. I still have it today; I named it “Harmony.”
Cincy Chic: Where do you get the inspiration for the songs you write?
Spears: When I first got my guitar, I began writing songs about things I went through, such as love. I still write about love or love lost. Hopefully, I’ll have a different experience soon, but maybe it is my fate to write songs that help people in their relationships. Who knows, right? This led me to play the guitar and sing at the Fair instead of using the music tracks. One of the neighborhood boys got tragically and mysteriously killed. I wrote a song about him and was requested to play it in ceremonies surrounding his death.
Cincy Chic: When did you first decide to join a band instead of just writing songs by yourself?
Spears: After the funeral of my neighborhood friend, I met a few guys from a local band who were friends with him, as well. Through our conversation, we found out that we were all playing at the same fair. They asked if I would like to try out and play a few shows with them, including the fair. I did, and we clicked instantly.
They became my second family. After the shows they had promised me, they decided to keep me on full-time. This was until another band saw me at a larger performance and stole me from them. It was the hardest decision I had to make up until that point in my life, because they had become a huge part of me life. I went with the new band and starting playing more and making more money.
Cincy Chic: Besides playing at festivals and fairs, what other musical endeavors did you take part in?
Spears: One day, during my junior year of high school, as I always listened to the radio while getting ready for school, I heard the morning DJ announce a jingle contest. I immediately ran upstairs to my karaoke machine and started recording an idea I had, including the harmonies and guitar music. My dad yelled that we were going to be late for school. I packaged up the cassette and had my dad mail it out that morning.
After the long stretch of the contest, and having people call in to vote for my selection, which they called "The Harmony Jingle," I won. This led me to go to the studio and re-record the jingle on a more professional level and landed me a spot on their morning show, so they could introduce it. One of the jocks at the studio was familiar with my music teacher and found out how much music consumed my life. He offered me an internship.
This intensified my anticipation for the summer. By the time summer rolled around, a new band had snatched me up and the radio station booked us for their huge Chicken Wing Cookoff Celebration at one of the malls. Before that happened, we had another large concert at a different mall with The Spin Doctors, an artist named Janna and Blessid Union of Souls. All of the interns had to pick a band to help out for the day. I picked Blessid Union. This meant I had to transport them back and forth to their hotel and get them anything they needed... and hang out on their bus in the meantime. When I met their lead singer, Eliot, we had an immediate connection for some reason.
When he found out I sang, played guitar and wrote music he excitedly gave me his contact information. The radio station allowed me to make him a demo at the station. After a few months, Eliot started flying and bussing me around via Greyhounds, to a whole new world... Cincinnati, OH. For being such a small-town girl, this was a big deal to me.
Cincy Chic: When did you decide to permanently move to Cincinnati?
Spears: Even before the trips to record in Cincy, I had always known that to pursue my music I would move away from everything I knew growing up. Up until that point, I just hadn't figured out where or when.
After high school, Eliot helped me - that small town, naive, young girl - to the big city of downtown Cincinnati. I had no car, no job and no friends. But, I was extremely excited and determined to make my way.
Cincy Chic: After graduating from high school and moving to Cincinnati, did you make time for college?
Spears: When I first moved to Cincy, the timing was a little off for recording purposes, since Blessid was in full touring mode from their "Walking of the Buzz" album which featured the song "She Likes Me for Me." This led me to go to college.
I went to AEC Southern Ohio College (now, called Brown Mackie College) for audio and video production. There, I learned more about the technical side of recording and also video. I accomplished summa cum laude and Student of the Year. As I had worked with Eliot in spurts and a controlling boyfriend warded me away from working with a male, I soon moved back home to regroup and write.
Cincy Chic: Did moving back home end up working out for the best?
Spears: Many great songs and adventures came out of moving back home. There, I signed with a record label and Eliot began driving to Morgantown to work with us. After a while, he intrigued Blessid's old producer to work with us instead, and a friend of mine offered to let me move in with her rent-free, back in Cincy, until I got on my feet.
So, I left the label, quit my day job and moved back to Cincinnati to continue pursuing my dream. My friend ended up moving as soon as I got there and left me homeless with no income. The producer ended up having too many projects going on.
So, there I was again. I left everything I had behind and had nothing, but I was determined to keep going and reaching for my goal. I got some monetary help to pay for a deposit and first month's rent in my own place. I got a job and started lining up gigs and letting people know I was back in town. We started recording. Life was great. Well, except for me not fitting into the “day job” mold.
After praying about it and really weighing my options (even though I was pretty partial to one side of it), I decided to quit my day job, again, and just play music. I began really booking and doing all the business side of it myself. I started putting a band together (which has evolved with new players) and continued recording with Eliot.
Cincy Chic: What is your life like currently?
Spears: Today, I still perform for a living. I book many solo shows in bars, restaurants, theaters, colleges, festivals, churches and we just began performing as the “Holly Spears Band,” which I am extremely excited about!
All of our shows and new Holly Spears tunes are posted on www.myspace.com/hollyspears and my Webmaster updates www.hollyspears.com as often as she can. We are currently weighing our options for finishing the album and looking for the right record label and management. I'm just waiting to see where the next domino falls. So, stay tuned and ride out this musical adventure with me.
Celebrating a woman's right to rock
There's something about a woman, standing on stage, singing from the depths of her soul and playing a guitar like it's the one thing she was placed here on earth to do.
The passion, the sweat, the manic mane of hair, the veins popping out of their neck when they hit that high note. Until recently, these rockstar traits were strictly reserved for testosterone-infused men. But that's all changed, and it ain’t your mama’s mainstream anymore!
More female rock bands are riding on your radio waves and several local events are bringing Cincinnati-based female artists to you.
Find out more about these jammin' events, the local female artists that will rock your world and how this "women rock" revolution is changing the definition of ladylike music.
Cincinnati loves their female rockstars and the proof is in the pudding. This year's seventh annual Chicks Rockfest, held April 5-8 at the Poison Room, expanded from two nights to four, and from 30 bands to nearly 50 acts. In fact, it's now the second largest indie-band fest for the area, quickly gaining on September's Midpoint Music Festival.
The Chicks Rockfest promotes local and national artists. Cities such as Chicago, Boston, New York and Washington, D.C., were represented with several bands from each. The artist that traveled the furthest distance was Freyja from London.
That's cool and all, but we're kind of partial to the local ladies...
Among the artists from the Greater Cincinnati area were: The Walker Project, The Whitney Barricklow Band, The Jellyhearts, Mercurochrome, Subliminal, Deadly Seven, Pike, Tracy Walker, Star Cherry Seven, Holly Spears, Twisted Wood, The Trojan Rabbit, Backseat Virtue and kelp.
If you missed this year's Chicks Rockfest, several of these women will be featured in the Latitudes Cafe "She Jams" series held at both the Milford and Anderson locations. Check out our article on this series for more details.
We got close and personal with Holly Spears, one of the talented women featured in both the Chicks Rockfest and the She Jams series. We asked her to explain the sounds of the major players on Cincinnati's female artist scene and where we can learn more. Here's what she said:
Kelly Thomas and the Fabulous Pickups
Kelly Thomas is a passionate singer with a Country-meets-Blues feel. Sit back and appreiciate good ol' country singing. She's a beautiful soul with a great back up band.
www.kristenkey.com and www.myspace.com/kristenkey
If you like Avril Lavigne and high-energy pop music, Kristen is your girl. She's pretty much Cincinnati's Pop Princess and always shows the crowd a good time with her rockin' band! Be prepared to jump around and throw your arms up with this girl.
The Walker Project
www.walkerprojectmusic.com and www.myspace.com/thewalkerproject
Carole Walker's powerful voice will blow you away and leave you in awe. Her soulful folk rock is accompanied by her brother's amazing ability to make the bass guitar sing. Chris Walker was just named Cincinnati's Best Bassist by ITAL***City Beat***. He's also Holly Spears' bassist.
www.kim-taylor.net and www.myspace.com/kimtaylor
This alternative, folksy, adult contemporary singer is very clever with her lyrics and is extremely easy on the ears. Kim's soft voice is soothing and comforting to the soul. Wine would go well with a Kim Taylor CD.
The Kelly Evans Trio
Kelly's acoustic/classical guitar, Chris Walker on bass and her drummer are the perfect combination to back up Miss Evans' soulful and jazzy voice. Think jazz club and enjoy the groove.
The Whitney Barricklow Band
www.whitneyb.com and www.myspace.com/whitneyb
If you like Jewel and Lisa Loeb, you'll love the Whitney B Band. Whitney's voice is smooth and pretty, and at times, really big. Her songs are catchy and lyrically lovely. She's got her right hand man (her husband) on guitar, an awesome drummer and of course music man Christopher Walker on the bass. She's fun to chill and listen to, as well as sing along with.
Pale Beneath The Blue
www.palebeaththeblue.com and www.myspace.com/palebeneaththeblue
This poppy, electronica band is led by a singer who some say sounds like Tori Amos and Bjork meets Ben Folds Five for coffee. You may even catch Rhonda on her piano as she sings the lyrics of which she has so artistically placed together in front of her synthesizer and beats.
This folk/rock singer/songwriter/musician could be compared to a mixture of Joni Mitchel and Tracy Chapman. Her adult contemporary music has filled the air of Cincinnati for over a decade. To hear Tracy is to give your ear a treat.
And if that didn't quite fill your belly with enough female rock fodder, here's a few more morsels that might do the trick:
Women Rock Radio. The name says it all. Women Rock Radio is the premier showcase for women who simply rock, and rock hard. From rock to grunge, from metal to punk, from mainstream to indie. Women Rock Radio is out to prove you don’t have to be a guy to play hardcore music, and ladylike isn’t always what it seems.
Women Rock!: Girls and Guitars
"Women Rock!: Girls and Guitars" is a compilation of songs by the big guns of female rockers. Legendary voices joined together for the 2000 Women Rock concert in an effort to heighten awareness and to help the fight against breast cancer. This CD by Sony Music Special Productions was inspired by the songs these legends performed at this very important event. There are nine tracks (about 38 minutes total time). Included are: Heart ("Barracuda", "Crazy On You"), Sheryl Crow ("If It Makes You Happy"), Wynonna ("Only Love"), Amy Grant ("Takes A Little Time"), Melissa Etheridge ("I'm The Only One"), Cyndi Lauper("Girls Just Want To Have Fun"),and "Destiny's Child (A beautiful rendition of "Amazing Grace"). There is also a touching live track from the concert in which Lauper and Heart, sing Paul Mcartney's, "Maybe I'm Amazed" as a tribute to Linda McCartney.
ROCKRGRL is the only national magazine to exclusively feature, encourage, provide resources for and inspire women. It is a resource for musicians and provides useful information on industry news, starting your own label, juggling music and motherhood, booking your own tour, publicity, getting on the radio, legal issues, gear, studio tips and more.
Women in Music National Network
The Women in Music National Network, accessible online at www.womeninmusic.com, is a non-profit organization that supports the efforts and achievements of women in music through media, education and networking.
Copyright © 2004 - 2008, Lucy McKenzie, webmaster
Revised: February 2, 2008
I Believe: Blessid Union of Soulers Launches Unit for Awaremess Week
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I Believe: Blessed Union of Soulrs Launches Unit for Awareness Week By Elizabeth Dugan March 2006 ...I Believe: Blessed Union of Soulrs Launches Unit for Awareness Week
By Elizabeth Dugan
At 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 10, 2005, the field house of King Horn vibrated with the sounds of screaming fans and pounding music. The Student Planning Committee (SPC) held a free concert for students featuring opening acts Holly Spears and 2 Skinny Dorks and the main attraction, Blessed Union of Souls. While the turn out for the concert was probably less than expected, it was enough to add noise to the loud rock music. Most of the audience stood for the concert, which consisted of an hour of opening acts, two 15 minute breaks, and the main performance by Blessed Union. Seating was available in the back, where parents, older students, and faculty sat.
Holly Spears opened up the night with a half hour show. A native of West Virginia, the singer was discovered by Blessed Union of Souls’ lead singer, Eliot Sloan. During her performance, she sang two cover songs, including “Killing Me Softly” by the Fugees. The guitar playing diva sang three other songs from her CD, which is currently in production: “Girl on a Mission,” her theme song; “The Only One,” and “Hey,” during which she encouraged audience participation. After her performance, Holly sat at a table in back signing demo CDs, which were sold for $12. More information on Holly can be found at www.hollyspears.com.
After a fifteen minute break the opening act continued with the band 2 Skinny Dorks, a group of five performers. They have opened for and performed with groups such as Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, O.A.R., The Roots, Dave Matthews Band and, of course, Blessed Union of Souls. Only three band members, Jake Blazer, Matt Corey, and Eric Penrod, appeared at ONU. The only two not to appear were Big Bass, who plays bass guitar and sings, and Elijah Gilmore, the band’s drummer. These three men, at least one originating from Cleveland, Ohio, came out singing and rocked the field house with their songs “Hey Love,” “Just Believe,” and “Home.” After singing some of their own work, they performed a cover song before mixing it up with a song that is presently in production. Overall, 2 Skinny Dorks received a larger reaction from the audience than Holly Spears and used more instruments than just a guitar, such as a saxophone played by Matt. The highlight had to be the solo spots for each of the artists, where several times Matt rocked out on his saxophone, while other times the spotlight was turned over to Eric for some electrifying guitar playing. Jake took the floor for his own a capella performance of one of their songs, which got the crowd jumping with energy. For more information, visit their website at www.2sd.com.
A second break preceded the main concert. As Blessed Union of Souls mounted the stage, the field house exploded in a sea of screaming fans, flashes of light from cameras, and waving hands. The band opened with fast paced, up tempo music as the crowd continued to squish together trying to get closer to the band. The music blasted from speakers with a deafening roar. The noise only gained volume when the band began to perform “I Wanna Be There.”
Blessed Union continued on with new songs from their new CD, due out in May, including “Bittersweet Sublime” and “I Still Believe in Love.” When the band began to perform “Mama,” the screaming hit a crescendo, and lighters, cell phones, and anything else that glowed, began to appear as people swayed. As the performance continued, the screaming and cheering continued as couples and groups of people began to dance. Halfway through the concert all but Sloan left the sage. Singing, and playing piano as backup, he performed “I Believe.” Before he began, he said that he felt the song was a good symbol of “what you guys are doing here,” referring to the concert and the many activities held during Unite for Awareness Week. Sloan even received a t-shirt from one of the audience members for Unite for Awareness. Many students and other audience members sang along to the solo voice.
The reminder of the concert was fast paced and pulsated with electric guitars, drums, and other rock instruments. The band didn’t end with a single song, but rather a medley of songs. No sooner had the group left the stage than the audience cheered for an encore. Blessed Union closed their show with two songs, both unnamed, and wished the audience a pleasant night.
After the show Holly Spears, 2 Skinny Dorks, and two of the members from Blessed Union sat out at the table selling CDs and autographing shirts, hats, and other such items for fans. Despite the almost insanely loud volume, the lack of seating, and the heat, the concert was a success. Three great acts and three hours of music made for a great study break for the students of Ohio Northern.
In honor of Unite for Awareness Week, here are the lyrics to “I Believe” by Blessed Union of Souls:
Walk blindly to the light and reach out for his hand
Don´t ask any questions and don´t try to understand
Open up your mind and then open up your heart
And you will see that you and me aren´t very far apart
´Cause I believe that love is the answer
I believe that love will find the way
Violence is spread world wide and there are families on the street
And we sell drugs to children now oh why can´t we just see
That all we do is eliminate our future with the things we do today
Money is our incentive now so that makes it okay
But I believe that love is the answer
I believe that love will find the way
I believe that love is the answer
I believe that love will find the way
I´ve been seeing Lisa now for a little over a year
She said she´s never been so happy but Lisa lives in fear
That one day daddy´s gonna find out she´s in love
With a nigger from the streets
Oh how he would lose it then but she´s still here with me
´Cause she believes that love will see it through
And one day he´ll understand
And he´ll see me as a person not just a black man
´Cause I believe that love is the answer
I believe that love will find the way
I believe I believe I believe I believe that love is the answer
I believe that love will find the way
Love will find the way
Love will find the way
Love will find the way
Please love find the way
Please love find the ways.
Spears poetic, introspective
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Spears poetic, introspective Thursday, February 09, 2006 Fairfield Echo Holly Spears is a si...Spears poetic, introspective
Thursday, February 09, 2006
Holly Spears is a singer/songwriter/musician from the small town of Wana, W.Va. She has carried her talents from the dues-paying days of playing in local bands to touring with international recording act Blessid Union of Souls.
Spears has recently had her music featured in MTV's and MTV 2's Making The Video, and in to addition writing with Blessid's lead singer Eliot Sloan, she has inked a publishing deal with Chanthony Music.
With more than 400 shows under her belt and only a guitar on her back, Spears has captivated the ears and hearts of everyone who has heard her introspective and poetic lyrics.
Sloan said of her, "Holly Spears delivers each lyric as if it were her last. She gives herself totally to the music and one can't help but to feel the emotion of every story she tells."
Spears will perform at 9 p.m. Saturday at the Rohs Street Cafe, 245 W. McMillan St., Cincinnati. For more information, visit www.hollyspears.com.
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Cincinnati CityBeat September 21, 2005 Harry's Upstairs 9:40 p.m. Holly Spears (Wana, W.V.) A...Cincinnati CityBeat
September 21, 2005
(Wana, W.V.) Acoustic Pop
Returning to MPMF after a successful showcase last year, Holly Spears plays honest, soul-baring Acoustic Pop that recalls the glory days of the Lilith Fair. With a publishing, management and independent record deal already in place, she's poised to take her career to the next level.
Dig it: matchbox 20, 10,000 Maniacs, The Cranberri
Holly Spears taking next step on stage
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Holly Spears taking next step on stage May 5, 2005 Dominion Post - Morgantown, WV Michelle Wolfor...Holly Spears taking next step on stage
May 5, 2005
Dominion Post - Morgantown, WV
Holly Spears quit her day job. The 23-year-old singer/songwriter will leave Morgantown after a busy weekend to pursue full-time music career.
And she's working on a new record, with a little help from some friends in Cincinnati, the city that will be her new home.
"I'll be working with Eliot Sloan of Blessid Union of Souls," Spears said.
"They're based out of Cincinnati and part of their management team is managing me.
"They're trying to attach me to anything BUS does - their guitar player and drummer are going to play on my album."
Spears has already logged some time in the Ohio city. She lived their from 2000 - 2003.
But this is a big move for the Wana native.
"I'm nervous but excited because I hope it'll push me to do more to get what I want because I won't have a real paying job to fall back on."
"Maybe I'm more excited than she is," Sloan said.
"I met Holly in 1999 when she was still in high school," the Blessid Union of Souls frontman said.
"She gave me a tape and I was impressed from Day One.
"I knew it needed some help, but I could tell she fully had the talent and the desire to go somewhere.
"Long-term I want her to be able to put out an album a year and tour. I don't look at her as a one-or two-CD person. Her songs are timeless and the words and music are going to be what carries her."
Local fans have a few more opportunities to see and hear Spears before she heads to the Buckeye State. She appears on the Brian Mo "Top 8 at 8" tonight on radio station WVAQ.
From 10 p.m. - 2 a.m. Friday, she'll take the stage at Gibbie's Pub on High Street.
And from 9 p.m. -midnight Saturday, the Rat Pack Lounge at the Radisson Hotel will host Spears' last performance as a Morgantown resident.
But if you miss her there, you can always catch a show in Ohio -- or Alaska.
"I'll be playing four to five nights a week in and around Cincinnati," Spears said.
"And there's talk about sending me to Alaska for six weeks to play five nights a week."
Spears said the decision to follow her dream came at a Morgantown performance.
"I was signing at an open mic night at Chic N Bones," she said.
"After the show, someone came up to me and said, 'Why aren't you still in West Virginia?' I wondered, 'Yeah, why am I?'"
It switched a light on, she said.
So now it's off to Ohio where she hopes to get back recording with Sloan.
"We've been recording together and by end of next year, we'll have something done," Sloan said.
"We started scratch vocals and guitar," Spears said, "but we've been touring so much, there's no time. We might be starting between June 15 and July."
Spears write her own songs and plays guitar. She said she taught herself guitar and has been playing for about six years.
And the songs?
"The songs come from my experience," she said. "Anything I go through, I write about it. I try to find a quirky way to get it out and make it rhyme."
And where look for Spears' music when it hits local record stores?
"Wherever Sheryl Crow and Jewel would be," she said.
The two singers that have been a big influence on the young performer.
"Melissa Etheridge Natalie Merchant, too."
"She can just write forever," Sloan said. "I can see her 15 years from now still writing and touring.
"She's just a special talent," he said.
"Every time she sits down and sings and plays that acoustic guitar, you remember that there's really something special.
From an interview with Eliot Sloan
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From an interview Eliot did with Wisconsin-Music.com By Brett Christensen April 20, 2005 WM: Be...From an interview Eliot did with Wisconsin-Music.com
By Brett Christensen
April 20, 2005
WM: Besides Blessid, you’re also producing. I read that you’re currently producing for artist Holly Spears. Is that something you’ve been wanting to do for a while?
ES: Um, somewhat. In a sense that I hear things in the studio. I don’t want to get lost in ‘I’m a producer’ or ‘I’m a songwriter’. You know what I do? I make up songs and I hear things in songs that would sound good, and the title to those just happen to be songwriter and producer. So my passion is to basically be in the studio and make songs sound better. So, whatever you want to call that.
But Holly is a girl I’ve been working with for 5 years now. She has a great talent, a great voice, and she can write songs… they just flow out of her. That’s the first thing I noticed about her. She has this knack for writing really good songs and good melodies. There’s a couple times that I tried to co-write with her, but she has it on her own right now. She’s just letting her feelings express themselves, so I just kind of let her go. But Matt and I will be in the studio producing her album in the new few months.
To read more of this article with Eliot Sloan click here.
Musicians make their rounds to promote concert
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Musicians make their rounds to promote concert The Advertiser - Tribune, Tiffin, OH March 5, 2005 ...Musicians make their rounds to promote concert
The Advertiser - Tribune, Tiffin, OH
March 5, 2005
By MaryAnn Kromer, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tiffin University students were treated to a meeting with Tony Clark and Elliot Sloan of Blessid Union of Souls (BUOS), and recording artist Holly Spears. The trio stopped at Franks Hall on the TU campus Thursday to speak with students, sing a few selections and listen to some numbers from the TU vocal group Up In the Air.
Students asked about the pros and cons of working with recording companies, how to improve one's performance, the hardest audience to play for, finding inspiration for songs and crafting a number-one hit. The artists also shared experiences from their tours and recording sessions.
A disadvantage of signing a recording contract is the company's efforts to change the image of the band or even the music itself. Sloan said it is difficult to allow changes in one's own artistic product. Clark advised performers to keep practicing and performing together.
"The more shows you have, the better you get," Clark said.
"It brings you closer together as people and as a band," Sloan added.
"And don't be afraid to network with other people," Clark said. "Don't ever burn any bridges."
Spears said the hardest audience for her was a bachelor party. She tends to do songs with a feminist slant, so she had to improvise and be selective for the guys.
"You have to go in knowing the audience you're going to play for," Spears said.
For Sloan, a "sea of people" is an easier audience than a small, intimate crowd, although the band is becoming more flexible with experience. Clark recalled the day in 1995 when a small audience was a let-down for the band.
"'I Believe' had just gone to number one. Then we got to the show that night and there's only 20 people there," Clark said.
Sloan said BUOS worked on "I Believe" in 1993 and '94. They made a demo and sent it to radio stations with a request to give it air time. One Cincinnati radio station was especially helpful in promoting the song. In response to a question about his own musical background, Sloan said he took piano lessons from age 6-14.
"It took me that long to realize I couldn't read music... I play better by ear," Sloan said. "I don't like to go into the studio unless I've been on the road, because that's where a lot of ideas come from."
The singer pulled up a nearby piano and microphone and performed "I Believe" for the Franks Hall audience. Spears then sang her original tune, "Girl on a Mission," and accompanied herself on acoustic guitar. Her sound is a blend of folk, blues and country.
Sloan said he met Spears about six years ago in a show in Morgantown, W.Va. Spears and another artist, Justin Branam, will be special guests at the Blessid Union of Souls concert tonight at the Ritz. All Tiffin University and Heidelberg students will be admitted for $5.
Spears, Clark and Sloan were expected to have similar gatherings Thursday at Terra Community College, Heidelberg and some local clubs to promote the Friday night concert and BUOS' new CD, "Perception."
Band has knack for hit tunes
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Band has knack for hit tunes toledoblade.com - Toledo, OH March 4, 2005 It's been four years sinc...Band has knack for hit tunes
toledoblade.com - Toledo, OH
March 4, 2005
It's been four years since Blessid Union of Souls released a new disc, but the Cincinnati-based band has a new one in the works and a tour that will bring them to Tiffin's Ritz Theatre tonight.
While it hasn't been released yet, the band has finished a 16-song disc called "Perception" that features a pair of new members, Bryan Billhimer and Shaun Schaefer, and if it's like their previous four discs, it will be on the radio a lot.
The band rose out of the alternative rock movement of the early '90s, releasing their platinum-selling debut disc "Home" in 1995, which featured their number one hit, "I Believe."
Taking advantage of a winning knack for strong melodies, a series of hits came off their next three discs, including 1999's "Walking Off the Buzz."
That disc contained "Hey Leonardo (She Likes Me For Me,)" a wide-eyed power pop hit about a girl so devoted to her guy that she favors him over Leonardo DiCaprio.
Other Blessid Union of Souls hits include "Let Me Be The One," "I Wanna Be There," and "Light In Your Eyes."
Tickets for tonight's show at the 20 South Washington Street theater range from $9 to $32 and are available at the door. The theater's phone number is 419-448-8544 and the Web site is www.ritztheatre.org.
Opening acts are Holly Spears and Justin Branam and performances start at 8 p.m.
Mention on Blessid CD
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March 3, 2005 In Blessid Union of Souls' new release, they mention Holly twice in the cover of the ...March 3, 2005
In Blessid Union of Souls' new release, they mention Holly twice in the cover of the CD. Holly would like for all her fans to support Blessid as Blessid has been supporting her through out most of her musical career. Order a copy or two today...they're not in stores yet, so get a copy before everyone else does! Blessid Union of Souls - Perception
For Original Venues Holly and the band has two full sets of original music
For restaurants; weddings;private parties; etc:
Holly Plays a mix of different genre's: Covers from the Secular realm are from Sheryl Crow and Colbie Colliat to Eric Clapton and Pearl Jam
From the Christian realm: Modern Worship Songs
And Contemporary Christian Songs by Mute Math, Casey Corrum, etc.
Also, a number of Holly's Originals.
Holly can cater her songs to any venue, but is always herself!
There are no upcoming dates at this time.