The Latest Musical Moods of Holly Conlan

Holly Conlan is my kind of person.  “From the time I was a little kid, I was always worried about having the right shoe and the right necklace… I’m...

Holly Conlan is my kind of person.  “From the time I was a little kid, I was always worried about having the right shoe and the right necklace… I’m in love with fashion and if I weren’t in music, I’d probably be doing that,” the Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter tells me in a recent interview.  However, I can’t say that I’m disappointed that she chose the route that she did.  Over the past few years the classically trained composer (yes, she is a legit “composer”) has been making quite a name for herself, as a standout star of LA’s Hotel Café crowd, in addition to having her music featured on the likes of 90210, One Tree Hill, and Don Roos’ The Other Woman (starring Natalie Portman), and touring alongside people like Butch Walker, Sara Bareilles, and Katy Perry.  Tomorrow, October 22nd, marks the release of Holly Conlan’s latest album, The Sirens, which could be said to represent a slightly new route for Conlan.  The album follows up her Bird EP and Fascinator LP, but not only offers a new sound, but also has her stepping up as a producer for the first time: “I think, in terms of sound and the production side of it, it’s more eclectic.  It’s less singer/songwriter and has more indie pop elements: more hooks and different kinds of rhythms.  I was getting away from the sound of the piano so much.”  Conlan tells me that a lot of this change in aesthetic can be chalked up to her own recent listening habits: “Before I did the album I listened a lot more to different kinds of music than I had in the past.  For a long time I was a music snob and I opened myself up to listening to more mainstream music: more pop and more hip-hop.”  Although The Sirens does contain the piano sounds Conlan has become known for, it’s quite a bit more playful (and certainly sassier) than her previous work, with her piano existing amidst a circus of popular whimsy and Holly leading you on a majestic musical parade of sorts.  Conlan’s currently nearing the end of a residency at LA’s Hotel Café, with an October 24th record release show and, although there are no dates currently on the books, she tells me that she plans to spend most of 2014 on the road: “I hope to be on tour and let the rest of the country get to know me and my music better.”  And when I ask Conlan to characterize the current state of her live show, she tells me that it manages to cover quite a few moods and sentiments.

“I think our show has become more visually entertaining.  I meant, we’re having a lot of fun and moving around a lot.  It’s easily as entertaining as it is moving.  I think it runs the whole spectrum.  I mean, it’ll be very emotionally charged and about heartbreak and then it will be very fun.”


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During the day Izzy Cihak teaches transgression, subversion, and revolution at Temple University. At night he haunts Philthy's best venues to cover worthwhile acts for Philthy Mag. Morrissey is everything to him and, in their own heads, all of his friends see themselves as Zooey Deschanel.