Holly Leer
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Holly Leer

Portland, Oregon, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2006

Portland, Oregon, United States
Established on Jan, 2006
Solo Pop Adult Contemporary

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Q: Where did you grow up?

A: Everywhere and nowhere would be a good answer to that question. I spent my earliest years in North Dakota, and Colorado, and the majority of my school years in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Santa Fe was a wonderful place to spend my most formative years, and would be the closest thing to my hometown.

Q: What made you realize that music was your path?

A: I was musically inclined from an early age. My dad was a Lutheran pastor, and I can remember as a small child, sitting in the pew and singing harmony to all of the church hymns. I started playing piano when I was 6, flute at about 10, cello at 12, and sax around 17. I took a year off between high school and college, and that is when I decided that I couldn’t deny the pull that music had on me. And when I started my college studies, I discovered I could sing, which was shocking to me and my friends and family because I had always been an instrumentalist. So I ended up as a vocal performance major, singing and performing classical music. Then, before my junior year of college, a friend and I spent a summer at Berklee College in Boston, where I sang in 5 different bands, and got my first experience in a recording studio. After that, I was forever hooked on performing contemporary music. I did complete my college studies in classical music and graduated with a BA in Music with a minor in German, but I have never performed professionally in the classical music world.

Q: How would you describe the music that you typically create?

A: Ah….that’s the hardest question for an artist to answer! My music spans many categories. On one end, you have lovely, haunting, beautiful ballads that bring a tear to your eye, and on the other, hard-rocking, sometimes pissed-off anthems that get stuck in your head. And then there is the middle-ground of seething and smoldering not-quite ballads and the more bubbling and hopeful make-the-world-a-better-place tunes. Welcome to my world!

Q: Who are your biggest musical influences?

A: Many people tell me I sound like Tori Amos, which is a huge compliment, but somewhat off the mark. Her music definitely is one of many influences including Tracy Bonham, Beth Hart, Alicia Keys, and Alanis Morissette. And I grew up listening to groups like Van Halen, Journey, Foreigner, Styx, ELO, Heart, and The Police. And later on, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, STP, Nirvana, among many, many others, so all of that is in there too.

Q: What makes your music unique?

A: I think that anyone who writes music has their own uniqueness spurred from their own life experiences. Growing up a pastor’s daughter gives me an insight into human nature that I don’t think everyone has, and that perspective definitely comes through in my songwriting. As far as the actual music goes, I think I am able to blend unconventional and mainstream elements together resulting in a mix that appeals to a wide audience.

Q: Has there been one particular moment in your musical career that you're most proud of?

A: To date, the thing I’m most proud of musically is recording and releasing my album independently.

Q: What's next for you?

A: I am currently promoting my album, as well as actively seeking TV and/or film placement for my music. And of course, I am continuing to write songs, so the next album is already on the horizon. - taxi.com


Published: April 17, 2008
By: Isaac Davis Jr., MBA

Holly Leer has an amazing voice and commanding presence that highlight her enormous talent. Perhaps one of the most entertaining singer/songwriters that I have heard in a long time Holly is giving old and new fans the best of what she has to offer. Check out this recent interview that Holly took the time to complete for the magazine.

Isaac: Briefly describe how you entered into the music industry.

Holly Leer: For me, it was kind of a slow process. After graduating from college, there were a few years where I wasn't really doing too much musically aside from taking voice lessons and writing a few songs here and there. Then, I started singing back-up vocals for Portland singer/songwriter Lynn Frances Anderson in her band, and then later started playing keys in her band as well. I recorded two albums with Lynn before I finally felt like I was ready to record my own album. Now, I perform on my own as well as with Lynn, in her band and as a duo. I have also co-written a few songs with Lynn for her upcoming album.

Isaac: One of the reasons why I was drawn to you was the power of your voice. Briefly elaborate on your vocal training.

Holly Leer: I was a music major with a focus in vocal performance in college, so I started out singing with 4 years of classical training, singing operatic arias, and songs from the classical masters. When I moved to Portland, Oregon, I started taking voice lessons with Portland music icon Mark Bosnian. He was the one who really helped me make the transition from classical to contemporary music, and helped me shape the sound of my voice. He has been my vocal coach for over ten years.

Isaac: What is the most rewarding aspect to making music currently for you?

Holly Leer: Currently, the most rewarding thing for me is to have finally released my album, Fire In My Bones. It's great to have a tangible thing to show everyone what I do.

Isaac: What has discouraged you the most about making music?

Holly Leer: I think the most discouraging thing is having to deal with booking gigs and getting paid. Unfortunately, there are many people out there who try to take advantage of you, and who say one thing and than do another. It is very discouraging to drag all your gear down to a venue, play a gig and then have them not pay you what you agreed upon. But that's all a part of the music business! One piece of advice -- always get a contract!

Isaac: You have a BA in Music. How has your education prepared you for the music business? In what ways are you better off that you do have an educational background in music?

Holly Leer: My formal education actually did nothing to prepare me for the business side of music! For that, I think we all just have to learn as we go, what works and what doesn't. But my music education is definitely invaluable to me when it comes to actually making music. Having an understanding of Music Theory is a huge help when you're writing a song and get stuck on how to get from one key to another for example. And having a historical overview of how music has developed is a huge bonus. Plus, it's fun to be able to recognize when you come up with a chord progression that Mozart or Haydn used. It's actually surprising how many classical music "hangovers" there are in contemporary music today. In my own music, for example, I actually "borrow" some themes from Mozart's Requiem in the final choruses of my song "Bitter Harvest."

Isaac: Do you have a personal philosophy about music? If so, what is it?

Holly Leer: I think music can be a powerful influence in the world. And while I don't censor myself in anyway when I'm writing, I try to always be mindful of the influence it can have. Music is something that should move you and put you in touch with your emotions, whatever they may be. Sometimes it's angry, sometimes it's goofy, sometimes it's sad and bittersweet. But it should always be a reflection of the human experience.

Isaac: When you are performing live in front of an audience, what are the thoughts that are running through you head?

Holly Leer: I think the best performances are when I'm so caught up in the moment, that I don't have the space in my head to think of anything else but the music. However, this doesn't always happen! Sometimes you get distracted by people in the audience, or by the fact that the sound system sounds funky and weird, or your throat is scratchy, or sometimes you're even distracted by the TV in the corner. And then there are the moments when you completely draw a blank and can't remember the next chord or the next word of lyrics. But, that is just all stuff that you need to learn to deal with as a performer, and try to rise above it, and just concentrate on the music.

Isaac: Why is being an independent musician important to you?

Holly Leer: Being an independent musician is important to me because I am able to make my forge my own path musical - Juniors Cave Online Magazine (Juniorscave.com)


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

"Holly Leer has an amazing voice and commanding presence that highlight her enormous talent. Perhaps one of the most entertaining singer/songwriters that I have heard in a long time Holly is giving old and new fans the best of what she has to offer."
-- JC Online Magazine

Drawing comparisons to Tracy Bonham, Alanis Morissette and Tori Amos, songwriter Holly Leer has been honing her skills in the Portland, Oregon music scene since 1999. A multi-instrumentalist and classically trained vocalist, she skillfully combines unconventional elements, like Native American flute or themes from Mozart, with mainstream instrumentation, resulting in a pop/rock mix that appeals to a diverse audience.

And her voice refuses to be ignored. Able to be soothing and soft one moment, and loud and raucous the next, her vocal control and ability allow her to deliver dynamic and emotional performances that will keep listeners coming back again and again.

Her songs run the gamut from beautifully introspective to angst-ridden, and touch on just about everything in between - love, anger, regret, and hope. So it comes as no surprise that her impressive debut album, Fire In My Bones, is a thrill-ride of emotion that will have you singing the infectious tunes for days after you've heard them. Since itÂ’s release, several songs from the album have been getting airplay on several radio stations, over the airwaves, and online.

Holly was featured in the New Artist Spotlight at JC Online Magazine, and was also was chosen as a featured artist of the month at Pongid Radio. She was a "pick-of the-week" on AmpEar, and was also on the playlist for the show Stroke the Goddess, both at WMHB 89.7 FM in Waterville, ME. She has also been featured on the shows Blue Jean and Biker Street at Radio Coteaux in Saint Blancard, France. In addition to receiving radio airplay, her song "Hang On" was placed in a short film, and "Teach Me to Fly" was chosen to be included on a CD compilation for Music For Troops. Her track "Wanting You" was featured on the FM102x Song of the Day Podcast, and the title track from her album, "Fire In My Bones", was featured on the internet stream of 93.3 WMMR in Philadelphia.  Two of her songs have been featured as Song of the Day at Songshooter.com, and another was selected for by Women of Substance Music Podcast (Show #139) at Women of Substance Radio.

Holly is a voting member of the Recording Academy, and is registered with BMI, both as a songwriter, and as a publisher under the name HollyHawk Music. She has a BA in Music, has studied and worked with Portland music icon Mark Bosnian, and does session work as a backing vocalist. In addition to performing her own music, Holly has sung and played keyboard and guitar with Portland singer/songwriter, Lynn Frances Anderson, locally and around the US, and  Holly and Lynn co-wrote several songs for Lynn's album, One Fine Day. Currently, Holly is promoting Fire In My Bones, seeking TV and film placement for her music, and working on material for her second album.