Holly Walker

Holly Walker

 London, England, GBR
BandPopSinger/Songwriter

Classically informed piano with scatty, lo-fi drum programming and provocative, up-front vocals for a totally original sound. Minimal, catchy and fearlessly idiosyncratic, each song rolls out with a narrative that demands attention; ‘You will have to get yourself a laptop, start up a goddamn blog'

Biography

Fine art’s fine // But I want to roll out of a vending machine with all the glamour of a diet coke // Rise above the cliché, you say, to a higher state // None of this common small-talking like ‘I’m horny it’s Mr Hudson does it for me’…

The only way to begin describing an artist as fiercely intelligent, talented and thoroughly sick of explaining her sound as Holly Walker is to quote her lyrics. Appearances on BBC London radio and various UK summer festivals have steadily spread the noise that this lady is a class act. Her new EP Bedroom Bangers, out on her own label Hungry Bird Records, shows she’s mistress of her own destiny and set for big things in 2012.

Walker’s star has risen under the promotion of the music and spoken word collective OneTaste; a quality London stable with a shared passion for authentic music and experimental sounds who include Jamie Woon, Michael Kiwanuka and Little Dragon. She started out on their bills at hometown venues The Bedford, Favela Chic and The Hospital Club, playing piano and singing comedy-laced, rage-filled ditties called things like My Heart Is A Scrunchy, Bunny Boiling and Gashface - It would be professionally gash if every one of you died in a big plane crash - to the horrified delight of the audience.

Since this early start her songs have evolved into a more mature breed of ‘tragibanger’, as she describes them. Driven by razor sharp lyrics, these tunes combine punchy piano, lots of swung rhythm and hooky melodies that get under your skin. With a groove-toting drummer and multi-instrumentalist on-board, her live set continues to grow into a more eclectic, dance-friendly affair. Her sound has already been championed by BBC London radio where Holly has twice performed live to the capital via BBC Introducing.

Along the way there have been self-releases, including four 7-track EPs born of a YouTube project where Holly wrote, performed and uploaded a new song every day for a month. Her originality and virtuosity won her a solid online following. But keen to progress from purely acoustic material, she soon bought herself a drum machine and started experimenting: ‘I play it with all my fingers like I would the piano, which makes for…er…unconventional patterns’. The results formed the basis for the Bedroom Bangers EP, which Walker wrote and arranged in her bedroom and then polished up with renowned producer ‘KK’ (who has worked with the likes of Björk).

Four new songs (Modern Life, Penelope, Sterile Facile, Panic Breeds Panic) fuse classically informed piano with scatty, lo-fi drum programming and provocative, up-front vocals for a totally original sound. Minimal, catchy and fearlessly idiosyncratic, each Bedroom Banger rolls out with a narrative that demands your attention - You will have to get yourself a laptop, start up a goddamn blog, don’t complain this is modern life - she lilts, sounding scathing, funny and melancholic in turn.

What makes these tracks unique is that Walker’s natural musicality combines with a meticulous approach to songwriting, ‘I start by writing a poem, so that the words are perfect before you start diluting them with music. Then I write the piano and sort of mash them together. Then I programme the beats around the music, which is probably a bit back to front’. On Bedroom Bangers this results in four catchy yet unapologetically thoughtful songs, which capture that story-telling flair that makes Holly Walker such a transfixing live performer.

As someone who doesn’t listen to much music (‘I relish silence’) this girl is an independent artist blazing her own trail. A trained pianist from the age of seven, she has always been influenced by classical music, but her tunes also channel dancehall, hip hop and anything that swings. An English literature degree and a lifelong passion for writing meant she was destined to be ‘messing about with words’ in some shape or form, but the thrill of live performance had her sold, so now she juggles the normal London nonsense of two temp jobs by day and a rapturous audience by night.

2012 will see Holly Walker bothering your radio in a variety of projects, not just her Bedroom Bangers. She has been in the studio collaborating with artists including dubstep producer Jakwob (‘Go’ which she co-wrote appears on his forthcoming album, released by Mercury) new hip-hop talent Adian Coker, and also dueting with To Kill A King and Mark Hole, plus various vocal cameos, including for fellow OneTaste artists Stac and Royce Wood Junior. In her song Sterile Facile she sets out her stall very clearly:

Sterile facile pop music // Lacking substance still I’ll abuse it // Tacky, lacquered, saccharine // I’ll beat the shit out of the shitty beat machine

And we really can’t argue with that…

Discography

Bedroom Bangers EP - forthcoming release, May 2012 on Hungry Bird Records

Sob Stories EP - self-released, Winter 2010

Set List

Various