Holly Figueroa O'Reilly

Holly Figueroa O'Reilly

 Seattle, Washington, USA

About Holly:

"I loved your set. Great songs!" Brandi Carlisle

"Excellent songs, amazing voice." John Mayer

"You have 'it'. That intangible, indescribable thing Jeff had. Never stop. Never stop doing what you do, and good things will happen for you." Mary Guibert (Jeff Buckley's mother)


Leonard Cohen cover, "Everybody Knows", picked up by Sony Pictures for the last scene of the last episode of the FX show, "Damages", April, 2010. Also chosen for the Universal/Ministry of Sound Compilation "Uncovered 4", due out in August, 2012.

Featured three times on NPRs "All Things Considered". (see "press")

Selected for Grammy nomination for "Gifts and Burdens", 2007

Gifts and Burdens hit number 26 on the Americana Music Association Charts, number 6 on the EuroAmericana Charts, number 1 on the Roots Music Report, and was in rotation on hundreds of stations (including KEXP) all over the US and Europe in 07/08.

Third studio record and Cake Records release, "How It Is", distributed by Red/Sony Distribution.

Founder of "Indiegrrl", an organization for women in the independent music industry, 1998-2003 (5,000 members internationally).

While organizing Indiegrrl, worked with Mary Gauthier, Erin McKeown, Girlyman, Laura Gibson, Ingrid MIchaelson, Kyler England and Adrienne Gonzalez of "The Rescues", and thousands of other women, equally talented, but not as well recognized.)

Competitions and Conferences:

International Songwriting Competition finalist, 2007

Telluride Bluegrass Festival Songwriter's Competition finalist, 2005

Rockrgrl Conference performance review committee and panelist, 2005

NACA West Coast Showcase, 2004

Mountain Stage NewSong Contest Finalist, 2006

Discmakers Independent Music World Series Finalist, 2003 (2nd place)

Durango Songwriter's Expo Showcase, 2002

Durango Songwriter's Expo panelist, 2002

Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, 2002

AMG Music Pick, "Dream in Red", 2001

KRCL Songwriter's Contest, 2000 (2nd place)

Featured on KMTT's, "Local Access", (Seattle's AAA radio station) in 2007, and did 4 on airs at KMTT before they stopped supporting local artists.

Rockrgrl Music Conference Showcase and panelist, 2000
(on panel with Wanda Jackson and Amy Rigby)

Played over 1000 tour dates between 1999 and 2003.

Won third place in "Cover Song of the Year" for "Everybody Knows", and third place for "Americana Record of the Year" for "Gifts and Burdens" at the JPF Awards. (The judges for the JPF awards listened to 42,000 albums and 560,000 songs submitted for these awards.)

Lil' Factoids:

Finalist: Acoustic Live Songwriting Contest, 2002. (I came in second. Sarah Bareilles came in first.)

I asked my friend, Laura Veirs, to open for my CD release of "Dream in Red" at the Tractor Tavern in Seattle, 2001.

Showcased at the Durango Music Conference in 2002 with Colin Brooks (Band of Heathens). He introduced me to Tony Levin and Jerry Marotta, who comprised the rhythm section on my record, "How It Is".

Sponsorships with Luna Guitars and Lee Oskar Harmonicas.

Sisters Folk Festival Songwriting Contest Finalist, 2008 and 2009 (BOTH times, I got sick and couldn't perform. One of these days, I am going to Sisters!)

Selected Venues:

Bluebird Cafe, Nashville, TN
Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs, NY
Passim, Boston (Cambridge), MA
Bumbershoot (twice), Seattle, WA
Eddie's Attic, Atlanta, GA
Cactus Cafe, Austin, TX
Ruta Maya, Austin, TX
Jannbones, Tacoma A
Uncle Calvin's, Dallas, TX
Lizard Lounge, Boston, MA
The Triple Door, Seattle, WA
Tractor Tavern, Seattle, WA
Slim's, San Francisco, CA
Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs, NY.
Genghis Cohen, Los Angeles, CA
Knitting Factory, Los Angeles (the big room)
Sweetwater, Mill Valley, CA
The Bitter End, NY, NY
The Living Room, NY, NY (before and after it moved.)
Falcon Ridge Folk Festival
Missoula Women's Festival
International Women's Festival
National Women's Festival
Michigan Womyn's Music Festival

Shared the stage with:

Brandi Carlisle, Laura Veirs, Sarah Bareilles, Kelly Joe Phelps, Dan Fogelberg, Susan Werner, Rose Polenzani, Barbara Kessler, Mary Gauthier, Ingrid MIchaelson, Laura Love, Caroline Aiken, Vicci Martinez, , Andrew Bird, Wanda Jackson, Tret Fure, Buddy and Julie Miller, The Kennedys, and hundreds more equally talented, lesser known artists.

Selected Colleges

Mills College, San Francisco, CA (4 times)
Lewis and Clark College, Portland, OR
Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh PA
NACA West Coast Conference
UCLA, Los Angeles, CA (taught a small songwriting workshop, and did a performance.)
UCLA, Young Hall (Taught a large lecture on songwriting, and gave a performance.)
Whatcom Community College, Bellingham, WA
Linfield College, McMinnville, OR
Menlo College, Atherton, CA
Contra Costa College, San Pablo, CA
Whittier College, ("The Pub"), Whittier, CA
IMC-Urbana Champaign University, Urbana, IL
Western WA University's Underground Coffeehouse, Bellingham, WA
University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK
Columbia University, Postcrypt Coffeehouse, NY, NY

I am also on the board at the University of Washington's Audio Engineering Department.


Gifts and Burdens

Written By: Holly Figueroa O'Reilly

Thank you cards I didn't write
years and years gone by
would anyone remember what for?

Apologies I didn't make
though I owed them just the same
would they now just bring hurt to the fore

Because I don't think I
can live with all of these
gifts and burdens
the weight of learning

I'd give some to you
but you'd surely be crushed beneath
the weight we'd carry
oh, my, verily
we must not be the
only ones.

You were just one line
in a song I didn't write
but I live the refrain just like you

I could say I feel bad
but i'm secretly glad
just to hear that you might be
sad too.

Because I don't think I
can live with all of these
gifts and burdens
hate and yearning
I'd give some to you
but in time you would surely be
sorry, sorry

Only time can help you now
you can only live through
not over or around

and I wanted you to leave
I didn't want you to believe
that this is what love is

This is not what love is

One More Time

Written By: Holly Figueroa O'Reilly

That day when the rains came honey
that day when the sun stopped coming around
that's when I let you down

you swore we could swim through any storm
when the floods came love would float us aground
we could use that love now

what about the days when it rained through the sunlight
what about the nights when the sun came up too soon

don't you want to try, try, try
one more time

don't you get tired of being right
i sure get tired of being wrong
and i've been wrong for so long

sure i know how to put on the game face
but all this rain is weighing on me too
and to tell you the truth

i miss the days when it rained through the sunlight
and i miss the nights when the sun came up too soon

don't you want to try, try, try
one more time

and if i could i would
take all this dark and rain
turn it in to sun and light
you just might smile again

but you're that kind of man
you need a little rain
so you know what you have
when the sun shines again
maybe you'll try
one more time

Mary, Mary

Written By: Holly Figueroa O'Reilly

Mary, Mary, was it hard on you?
When they took your baby
and your man was untrue.

Left you alone with a story to tell,
you told it often and you told it well.

And everyone believed you.
You told it so many times,
you believed it, too.
That's the funny thing about lies.

Oh, Mary, Mary
was it hard on you?

Mary, Mary, did you see his face?
When he beat you down, did you cry in disgrace?
Said not to tell no living soul.
Did you pray to God with a keen and woal?
God gave you a baby.
God gave you a man.
Just like you wanted, but maybe...
God didn't give you no plan.

Oh, Mary, Mary
was it hard on you?

Mary, Mary, why don't you know?
We forgave you long ago.
Everyone lies and everyone steals.
Everyone cries and everyone heals.

God gave us our babies.
Gave us hard times, too.
It ain't all perfect, but maybe
that's the funny thing about the truth.
Oh, Mary, Mary-
We've forgiven you.


"One" (cover record), January 2011
Everybody Hurts (REM Cover, all proceeds go to PFLAG): 2010
Wonderwall (Oasis Cover): 2010
One More Time: Live from the IMC: 2010
Gifts and Burdens: 2007
Live in NYC: 2004
How It Is: 2003 (featuring Tony Levin, Jerry Marotta, Danny Barnes)
Dream in Red: 2001
Three Chord Plea: 1999


2005 Remembering Rachel: The Rachel Bissex Tribute Album (also featuring Dar Williams, Catie Curtis, Patty Larkin, Jennifer Kimball, The Kennedy's, Sloan Wainwright, and many others.)

2003 First, Last, and Deposit: a Benefit for the Noel House

2000 Indiegrrl Compilation

2006 Indiegrrl Compilation

2007 Indiegrrl Compilation

1999 Backporch Gossip Seattle Women

2000 We Are Not Good Girls Seattle Women

Guest Performances:

Holly has performed as a guest on the following records, according to the All Music Database:

2000 Lucy Mongrel Lucy Mongrel Harmonica, Vocals (bckgr)
2003 On the Mend Kym Tuvim Vocals (bckgr)
2005 Shimmer Shimmer (Skip Peri) Vocals (bckgr)
2006 Change David LaMotte Vocals (bckgr)
2008 City of Refuge Rachel Harrington Vocals (bckgr)
2008 Democracy for Lovers Paul Lippert Vocals (bckgr)
2008 The River Grace Jenee Halstead Vocals (bckgr)
2008 Giving Up the Ghost Julie Loyd Vocals (bckgr)
2010 Roads Jeremy Serwer Vocals (bckgr)