Holly Christina
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Holly Christina

Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand | INDIE

Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand | INDIE
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"A quest to capture quintessential Malibu in song"

Published:
Wednesday, August 31, 2011 10:55 AM PDT

Five songwriter finalists, one from as far as New Zealand, compete for the city song contest crown.

By Michael Aushenker / Special to The Malibu Times

Arguably the most famous song about Malibu came courtesy of Courtney Love, infamous lead singer of Hole, who in 1998 sang, “Hey, hey! You know what to do! Oh, baby drive away to Malibu...”

Come Sept. 24, five more original tunes will compete to immortalize Malibu as the winning entry of a municipal song contest. The top homage will be crowned during the annual Malibu Music Awards on Sept. 24 at Malibu Country Mart. The five finalists will perform their songs at the annual Malibu Kiwanis Chili Cook-Off and Carnival this coming Labor Day weekend.

Two of the five musicians behind the city song entries shared some insight into what informed their work.

Singer/songwriter Holly Christina, who wrote the entry, “Hey Malibu,” is a guitar teacher and tennis coach from St. Heliers Bay in Auckland City, New Zealand.

“It was very exciting to find out that ‘Hey Malibu' was selected as one of the finalists in the City Song Contest,” Christina said. “And yes, I'm coming all the way from New Zealand for the 30th Annual Malibu Kiwanis Chili Cook-Off.”

Christina has recorded two albums, “One Road” (2008) and “Interchange” (2009). “Hey Malibu” came together not in Auckland, but in Tennessee, Christina said.

“In May, I came to the United States for some exciting music opportunities,” she said. “While in Nashville, I was forwarded an e-mail by a producer I had met up with in Los Angeles [regarding] the Malibu City Song Contest. I was excited that I would be eligible to enter, even though I wasn't a local.”

Christina recalled how the lyrics for the song wafted into her consciousness: “On a sunny Nashville day, I suddenly had an idea for a chorus, so I went outside with a little notebook and jotted down my dreams of being by the ocean in Malibu. ‘Hey Malibu, how do you do? I think I'd like to have a chat with you ...' I thought it might be fun to use some personification: imagining introducing myself and having a little conversation with Malibu.”

The next morning she sat down with a guitar and her MacBook after researching Google images, Wikipedia and the [City] Council Web site. “And I used my imagination to create the song,” Christina said. “I recorded ‘Hey Malibu' in one take.

“Nashville seems a rather strange place to be writing a song about coastal Malibu, especially as we were battling electrical storms and a massive cicada invasion in Tennessee,” Christina, who had visited Malibu at age 9, added.

John Zambetti, on the other hand, knows Malibu intimately. The founding member of The Malibooz is a longtime resident, so the detail in “My Beloved Malibu” comes from rich, firsthand experience.

“I have lived in Malibu for almost 20 years with my wife Joan and children Kathryn and Johnny,” Zambetti said.

Written before the contest, “My Beloved Malibu” is a track off of The Malibooz' “Beach Access” CD, which also features music from the surf film “Step Into Liquid.”

Zambetti said the lyrics are derived from the Chumash word for Malibu, which roughly translates to, “Where the mountain meets the sea and the surf sounds loudly (“My Beloved's” opening line).”

“I tried to combine the traditional Chumash spiritual appreciation for Malibu with all my favorite local spots [Third Point, Paradise Cove, Serra Retreat, etc.],” Zambetti said.

Technically, all five musicians competently and professionally capture the Malibu vibe one way or another. Subjectively, the “best” song will be decided at the awards presentation.

To the five song entries can be downloaded from the Web site www.malibucity.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/nav/navid/518/ - Malibu Times


"Buskers competition draws young talent"

A competition to find the best young buskers has found a winning combination for both shopping malls and for the entertainers.

The competition saw hundreds of hopefuls audition at malls in Auckland, providing some up and coming talent on show for shoppers.

Music producer Gray Bartlett describes busking as the "first step forward" for many stars.

"You'd be amazed how many actually become great stars just out of the first effort of getting up on stage," Bartlett told ONE News.

The competition was won by Michael Murray who gets the chance to record a song which will feature on Bartlett's next album.

Runner-up Holly Christina says busking is tough but "you just have to keep getting out there".

She says the key to it is interacting with the audience and picking songs that they can relate to.

"You've got to just have fun and smile."

And those who didn't win prizes in the competition are unperturbed. They're out busking on the streets and reaping the rewards tipped into their hats.
http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/buskers-competition-draws-young-talent-3985308
(see video article on URL) - Television New Zealand


"Holly pens peace winner"

She’s talented, eloquent and has a conscience.

At just 16, Holly Cramer-Roberts is stepping into the spotlight with polish and aplomb – and absolutely no airs.

The Glendowie College student is the delighted winner of the inaugural Peace Song Awards songwriting competition run by Play It Strange and the Waitakere City Council.

Holly’s song Unite is inspired by the stance taken by Te Whiti o Rongomai at Parihaka, Taranaki, in 1881.

It was selected from 51 entries from across the country.

As part of her prize she will record the song professionally and it will appear on a double CD of winning songs from this year’s Play It Strange National Secondary School Songwriting Competition.

"The chance to record a song professionally is so exciting," she says.

"I’ve been writing songs for ages, just because I love it. I love the process and finding ways to express what I’m seeing and hearing and feeling. But this is the first time I’ve won anything," Holly says.

Holly recorded her debut CD, One Road, under her stage name, Holly Christina, earlier this year.

Some of the 10 tracks tracing the teen’s observations on life have been uploaded to YouTube.

"I did the CD in one take and I wasn’t happy with the chords for Unite and changed them just before I recorded it, so I am looking forward to doing it better," she says.

Play It Strange chief executive Mike Chunn says Unite was a clear favourite with the judges because of its originality.

"Holly is possibly one of the most dedicated and motivated young songwriters I’ve met and her work has an edge, that something different. It meets the criteria without being cheesy or obvious," he says.

"You want something that keeps the listener going back to it."

He says this year is the 21st anniversary of the signing of legislation making New Zealand nuclear-free, so the decision to run a songwriting competition based on peace was appropriate.

The idea for the competition and $1000 prizemoney was put to Play It Strange by a member of the public who asked to remain anonymous.

Holly learned of her win at a function in west Auckland last Wednesday.

Waitakere mayor Bob Harvey is the New Zealand Peace Foundation president and lauded both Holly and the competition.

"This competition will grow as big as any music awards in the country," he says.

The Play It Strange Charitable Trust was established in November 2003 to encourage young New Zealanders to develop interests and skills in songwriting and musical performance.
- Auckland East and Bays Courier, 22 October 2008


"Holly Christina: One Road"

At only 16 years old, this talented singer/songwriter has put together a nice debut offering. In the footsteps of the likes of Brooke Fraser, her refreshingly simple melodies combine nicely with a sweet, very likeable voice. The choruses are also catchy and I preferred the songs where it was just her vocals and guitar, especially the opening track Capture Me. The songs with cheesy dance beats behind them don't seem to achieve the desired effect. Her lyrics are very straight forward and plenty will relate to her ideas, whether young and experiencing similar thoughts and emotions, or a little older and looking back on how they used to view the world. Although at times the production is a little lack lustre and the album loses a bit of steam towards the end, Holly's raw talent is undeniable. As she hones her craft and matures as an artist she should be in for a bright future. - NZ Musician Magazine, August/September 2008


"2009 Lest We Forget 4th Annual Poetry Competition"

4th Annual Poetry Competition
This year was our 4th annual Lest We Forget Poetry Competition, run in conjunction with Auckland City Libraries. Almost 200 entries were received for the competition. Ten finalists, with ages ranging from 7 to 77, performed their poems on ANZAC Day in the World War II Hall of Memories. A few tears were shed as the poets expressed their innermost thoughts about war on this very important day of remembrance. The overall winner was Holly Christina, who entered the lyrics to a song she wrote, called ‘The Victory’ and performed the song on the day. Many thanks to all entrants. - Auckland Museum Website, April 2009


Discography

Latest single "Image" released November 2011.
CD 'One Road' debut album released May 2008. 'Unite', 'Too Many Thoughts' and 'Forget it All' have had some NZ radio airplay.
CD "interchange" second album released November 2009. 'The Victory', 'Bargain Hunter', 'My Shipwreck', 'Imaginary Boyfriend', 'Point of Love' and 'Aisle of Unknown' have had some radio airplay.
Music available on iTunes and at Marbecks NZ.

Photos

Bio

Holly Christina writes original acoustic-pop material, using a unique melodic blend of rhythmic vocal and guitar delivery with refreshingly insightful lyrics. The singer-songwriter from Auckland has released two compelling albums (debut 'One Road' May 2008, and 'interchange' November 2009). She has a Diploma in Creative Enterprise, and Holly Christina also runs a guitar teaching business ‘GatSong’. With her music taking her to the U.S. a couple of times in 2011, she is poised to break the mould in the music industry with the release of her latest single "Image". Filmed in Los Angeles locations (such as Malibu beach, Hollywood Hills, Rodeo Drive), the music video for “Image” also captures the beauty of Auckland’s Kohimarama and Mission Bay beaches. These contrasting locations reflect one of the song’s themes of reality versus the dream.
Performance experience includes the New Zealander of the Year Awards February 2011, playing and singing the National Anthem; Auckland Council St Heliers Bay Carols By Candlelight 2010; Botany Town Centre Christmas Festival 2010; U.K.-based City Showcase Festival in Napier, November 2010; Auckland Museum ANZAC Day 2009 and 2010; Tokio Hotel on Darling Harbour, Sydney, June 2010; NZ Parachute Music Festival, Mystery Creek 2009 and 2010; Louis Vuitton Pacific Series Regatta, Viaduct Harbour 2009; auditoriums, festivals, markets, bars, street performance; Balcony TV Auckland July 2010 and Nashville at the Hard Rock Cafe in May 2011; other Nashville venues like the famous Bluebird Cafe, Hotel Indigo on Union Street, writers "in the round", and Richard's Cafe in Whites Creek; Malibu Annual Chilli Cook-Off Festival in California performing as a City Song finalist, September 2011.
Song awards include 'Unite' winning Play it Strange Peace Song Award 2008; 'Wait for the Rain' winning Quay Street Auckland City, KFC Sounds From Your Hometown 2008; 'The Victory' winning the Auckland Museum ANZAC Day War Poetry Competition 2009; 'The Victory' shortlisted Top 30 International Category of Australian Songwriters Association Songwriting Contest, August 2010; 'Hey Malibu' selected Top 5 for Malibu City Song Contest 2011. Holly Christina’s songs ‘The Victory’, ‘Imaginary Boyfriend’, ‘Forget it All’, ‘Too Many Thoughts’, ‘My Shipwreck’ and ‘Bargain Hunter’ have all had some radio exposure. ‘Aisle of Unknown’ is still receiving some current airplay.

Media experience includes Television New Zealand One News interview, December 2010; 'interchange' album featured as 'Kiwi FM indie album of the week' (with live in-studio radio interview) February 2010; NZ Music Month '31 Bands in a Box', (two videoed and live-on-air songs) May 2010; 'interchange' album featured on 'Homegrown' show on NZ's Rhema (recorded interview) August 2010; Malibu Times interview/article, August 2011.

With her local and international experience, and a recognised quality songwriting and performance package, Holly Christina delivers her fresh sound into the southern hemisphere summer with “Image”.

All artist content Copyright Holly Christina NZ.