Sony Holland

Sony Holland


Sony Holland is a stunning blond with a golden voice. With a style that is once sophisticated and emotionally direct, her interpretations of the great American songbook show a deep respect and love for the material while adding an unmistakable spark of personality.


The road to singer Sony Holland's loving embrace of the Great American Songbook as well as custom crafted originals is long and winding, yet one that has molded her artistry into a masterpiece of tonal warmth and inviting articulation. The title of her generous and outstanding national debut, Swing, Bossas, Ballads & Blues, holds the promise of a musical smorgasbord that the lovely lady passionately delivers with sensuality, grace and panache. Consisting of 16 imaginatively arranged numbers that swing from a mesmerizing "Speak Low" and "Midnight Sun” to "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover" done with a New Orleans second line beat - plus 8 unforgettable originals penned by her husband Jerry Holland - the album is the culmination of a life spent searching for her musical niche on two continents and via several musical styles. Every experience served to make Sony Holland a singer classically informed yet jazzily influenced, resulting in a dazzling vocal gift that waxes as effortless as it is indelibly impressive.

Sony was born in a Minnesota suburb to a minister father and a mother who was a trained coloratura and pianist. From home to the church, music was a staple of Sony's childhood. "My mother directed the choir of the church where my father was the pastor," Sony shares, "so we were there all day on Sundays. The first time I ever sang in public was with my mom and sisters doing 'Que Sera Sera' at a mother/daughter banquet. My mother was definitely my first musical influence."

Sony attended Concordia College in Moorehead, Minnesota, majoring in voice with a minor in piano. After one year - longing to get back on stage and to experience living in a proper city - she relocated to Minneapolis where she joined a rock band. Seeing the limits of the club scene, Sony moved once again, this time to Nashville, where she heard there was a rich professional music scene brewing. "I met a few publishers and recorded a few demos," Sony says, "Then I met Randy Boudreaux who played me a bunch of songs by a guy named Jerry Holland who just had a #1 country hit called 'Friends' on John Michael Montgomery. I really liked his stuff and asked if I could meet him. The next thing I know, Randy set Jerry and I up on a blind date which turned out to be at a country music event called 'Fan Fair' where we got backstage and met a few stars. The rest is history!'"

Sony left Nashville briefly to accept a gig with a Top 40 band, but in a sweepingly romantic gesture, Jerry flew to Denver to rescue her and they were married shortly afterward. They immediately headed to Paris for 10 months. This is where Sony really dug in and began studying the great singers in earnest. "I wanted to find some music I could sing until I was Tony Bennett's age," Sony reasons. "So I started collecting CDs by Nancy Wilson, Sarah Vaughan and Peggy Lee along with the Mathis stuff I already had." Now fortified with the discipline to apply her voice to this material she was rapidly falling in love with, Sony found a practice space and devoted hours a day without fail to the further development of her instrument and phrasing. Back in Nashville, she put a band together and within a month was gigging steadily at the jazz restaurant F. Scott's - a job she maintained for two years.

Seeking a city more steeped in the jazz tradition the couple headed to San Francisco where Sony quickly began winning the city over...from the ground up! "I started off ‘busking’ there," Sony says smiling at the memory of singing at Fisherman's Wharf and Ghiradelli Square. “None of the other street performers thought I would last, but I was determined to make a living. I sang in the cold, the rain, the wind, even when no one else was around” she recalls, “but that’s how you start to get good.” As her reputation grew, Sony landed sweet gigs at top venues such as Jazz at Pearl's and Yoshi's, with lines out the door. These shows also led to extended overseas gigs in Bangkok and the Park Hyatt in Tokyo (immortalized in the Sofia Coppola film Lost in Translation).

Now Sony herself has been gloriously immortalized with a great national debut CD Swing, Bossas, Ballads & Blues. The project consists of half classic compositions that span the ages and half songs evocatively tailor made for her by her husband. It is being released on the couple's own Van Ness Records label and was engineered by Capitol Records veteran Leslie Ann Jones at George Lucas' state of the art Skywalker Sound Studio. For the sessions, Sony surrounded herself with some of San Francisco's finest players - keyboardists Larry Dunlap and Art Khu, saxophonist Charles McNeal, bassist Seward McCain, drummer David Rokeach, and guitarists Jim Nichols, Dave MacNab and Steve Erquiaga. The overall effect is simply WOW!

Sony brings a relaxed and assured glow to standards such as "The Shadow of Your Smile" and "My Funny Valentine" as well as the gems "Meditation" and "Here's That Rainy Day." "The Great American Songbook standards a


I'll Remember Paris (Original Song)

Written By: Holland

I walk along these streets I’ve come to love
Knowing I must leave today
From the Eiffel Tower down to Montparnasse
Across the Seine to Chatalet
She’ll always be the garden of my dreams, wherever I may be
I’ll remember Paris, but will Paris remember me!?

I hope I bring a smile to my love’s heart
In that café on St. Michel
For all the nights we sat and drank red wine
While the city cast her spell
Tell Joan of Arc to wait for my return on the rue de Rivoli
I’ll remember Paris, but will Paris remember me!?

I’ll be back, I know I will,
So it’s au revoir ‘til then
Next time somebody says "bonjour madame"
I’ll feel right at home again...

I’ll make the rounds and with a warm embrace
I’ll bid my cher amis goodbye
Their eyes will sparkle like a million lights
When I look down from the sky
I’ve gotta fly away to keep my date with Lady Liberty
I’ll remember Paris, but will Paris remember me?
Yes, I’ll remember Paris, but will Paris remember me!?

As You Are (original song)

Written By: Holland

You’re a man of many moods
Sudden silent interludes
Like a summer storm that’s slowly brewing
Morning clouds and midnight sun
Mixed emotions on the run
Don’t y’ see the hurt in what you’re doing?

Sometimes I don’t understand you
Wish I could command you
To let your feelings show through
Heart to heart
Don’t you know
I will always love you
The light and dark sides of you
I’ll take you as you are…

Whisper low in careless rhymes
Like wind blowing through the chimes
Let your blues become as light as laughter
Lose yourself in sweet amour
Lie upon my peaceful shore
What more could you seek forever after?

Sometimes I don’t understand you
I wish I could command you
To let your feelings show through
Deep down I
Wish that I could save you
But I can only love you
And take you as you are

On A San Francisco High (original song)

Written By: Holland

I’ve got a friend in San Francisco
When the whole world lets me down
I can always find some comfort
In this breezy little town
On a hill by the bay
Where the sea meets the sky
All my blues melt away
On a San Francisco high

Through a misty morning sunrise
Distant bridges are surreal
And the sights of Sausalito
Have a mystical appeal
That’s why I long to be
Up where heaven is nigh
Livin’ easy and free
On a San Francisco high

There’s no other city
That can take my breath away
It’s like Paris by the ocean
On a perfect summer day
Tourists sigh with envy
As they stroll through Union Square
And even proud New Yorkers say
There’s magic in the air

The streets are filled with music
And alive with style and light
There’s a sweet nirvana stirring
On a jazzy North Beach night
Love to walk aimless miles
Watchin’ strangers go by
Everyone wearin’ smiles
On a San Francisco high


Swing, Bossas, Ballads & Blues, 2008
Jazz Standards & Originals

Out Of This World, 2006
Jazz Standards

On A San Francisco High, 2004
All Original Songs
winner Just Plain Folks Vocal Jazz CD of the Year
Jazz Song Of The Year

Set List

A mix of everyone's favorite standards, New American Songbook and original material.

A Few Examples:

Just In Time
A Beautiful Friendship
The Autumn Leaves
Come Fly With Me
At Last
I'll Be Seeing You
It Might As Well Be Spring
The Nearness Of You
I Only Have Eyes For You

Honky Cat
The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
You Never Can Tell
Fifty Ways To Leave Your Lover

As You Are
On A San Francisco High
Act Like You're In Love With Me
Chestnut Street