Interview by Scott Preston
Raised in Chi-town and born into a musical family, singer/songwriter Holly Long needled her parents into piano lessons on her Great-Grandmother’s upright Hamilton at age 7. As a young child she was exposed to the sounds of Stevie Wonder, Carole King, Elton John, Beethoven and the Beatles, sprinkled with daily doses of Free To Be You and Me via her Dad’s HiFi stereo headphones. Diversely influenced, spent her youth and early adult years performing in various musicals, piano recitals and plays.
Holly Long has recorded her third full length album, Leaving Kansas, under the astute musical direction of her producer and dear friend, Anthony JW Benson. This latest sweeping effort- two years in the making- was officially released world-wide in April, 2008. Copies are available on hollylong.com or on itunes, Rhapsody, emusic, CDBaby, Napster and many other online outlets. (from hollylong.com)
Cincy Groove: I understand you made an appearance on a radio show there in Knoxville, TN earlier today?
Holly Long: Yes it was WDVX, and I didn’t realize it until I got there, but it was a live format show. They had a cool little stage and people would come off the street to listen. There ended up being 50 – 60 people in this room.
Cincy Groove: Your latest cd “Leaving Kansas” was just released a few months ago correct?
Holly Long: It officially dropped on April 15. I had it for a few months before that, just selling it to friends, but thats when it was officially released. I had the cd release show in Minneapolis, MN where I recorded it. A lot of the musicians who were on the record came out and played with me at the show.
Cincy Groove: I noticed that compared to your previous albums, the recording process was a little more intense for your latest cd “Leaving Kansas”.
Holly Long: Well, my first two records were done locally, just 15-20 minutes from my house. I used L.A. engineers and producers on the first 2. Nothing against any of those people I worked with, I love them all, I just felt I had to branch out and learn more. In order to do that I felt I had to take on a different team, because I wanted to try a different style and sound.
I ended up partnering with my manager who has produced records in the past, and has a lot of connections in Minneapolis where he got his start. It was an incredibly long process. I ended up recording two thirds of the album in June 2006 and ended up just sitting on it. It took me a year to realize I had to record 3 new songs and remove a few of the ones that were already on the cd. It made it a much stronger record and at that point I said it was finished and was ready to put the record out.
Cincy Groove: Was there a moment when you decided you were going to become a touring musician?
Holly Long: Actually I still haven’t decided yet (laughing). I love making music, I love performing, and I hate being away from my family. I try to get out on the road as much as I can. I try to do some long weekends in Minneapolis or Chicago, Knoxville. A week is probably the longest I have been away from my family. I skipped the years when I should have jumped in the van and toured around the country. I don’t think I was really ready when was in my 20’s. By the time the material was ready, my life was in a totally different place.
Cincy Groove: What were you listening to when you were growing up?
Holly Long: I remember my dad listening to Stevie Wonder a lot. There was also classical music playing in my house. I started learning music by playing piano, Bach, Beethoven, Chopin. There was also Carole King, Joni Mitchell, that whole California pop scene.
Holly Long’s website – http://www.hollylong.com
Holly Long’s latest release “Leaving Kansas” is available here.