🎧 Local Music Lowdown: Hollis

I am super excited to introduce you all to this week’s local musician. You may not recognize her name but you might recognize her voice singing the hook for this track from another Seattle artist. 

Not only is she a Grammy-nominated artist, but Hollis has also mentored youth poets, been the tour manager for Blue Scholars, and been on the Seattle Music Commission and several other local boards. This past February she released her debut solo EP “half-life.”

Name: Hollis
Bands/musical affiliations: The Flavr Blue
Website: https://holliswongwear.com/
Socials: @holliswongwear
Song to know: Sedative

You’re a Bay Area native but you went to college in Seattle—what drew you to Seattle in the first place?
Seattle had always captured my imagination when I was younger; I dreamt of writing poetry on a rainy day in a coffee shop. I was drawn by how artistic, eclectic, and moody Seattle seemed; it matched how I felt! 

And what has kept you tied to Seattle, given you still split your time between here and LA?
I feel like LA and Seattle are perfectly complementary for me; LA is where my career growth is, but my creative and activist community and the people I love in Seattle are what keep me connected and invested. 

How would you describe the Seattle music scene?
Legendary, inventive, experimental! 

Favorite local venue you’ve played in Seattle? Favorite local venue to see a show at? Neumos became The Flavr Blue’s home court and I will always be so thankful for that because it was the first place I saw a concert in 2005 when I first moved to Seattle. The venue I miss most this summer is The Station Cafe’s Beacon Hill Block Party! 

How did you get into music?
I sang in choir from the age of 5 on and always loved big ballads from Whitney Houston and Celine Dion growing up. High drama! 

How would you describe your sound? Who are some of your influences?
My solo music is what I call “sadgirl jams” — not pinned by a genre but fueled by existentialism and heart! I have so many influences, but a few that come to mind are Lauryn Hill, Joni Mitchell, Burt Bacharach, and Brandy. 

You released your debut solo EP right in the middle of a pandemic and you had this big tour planned where you partnered with local chefs, but then COVID hit. What has it been like to release an EP in a pandemic and how was it having to totally shift this thing you planned to be online-only?
Like everyone else, COVID has had me questioning everything. Something I determined early on was that live performance is going to be the last thing to come back — I’m just assuming 2022 until further notice — and that I as an artist am completely motivated to create *in order to* perform live; that’s my ideal result. The EP itself is full of existential feels so I do hope that it provides solace to folks since we’re all in the throes of it. Adapting to online programming hasn’t been natural or easy for me to do — and it’s often hard to find enthusiasm when we’re all so burnt out on being on our screens — but it’s been able to provide new connections and authentic community support, and while it’ll never be as satisfying as being IRL with people, I’m thankful for the space. 

Any plans for the near future considering all live music has stopped for the time being?
I have a lot of things percolating, but a few are that I’m executive producing a digital series spotlighting creatives navigating COVID with Take Creative Control, figuring out how I can best lend my skill set to local activism, and gearing up to release a new The Flavr Blue single in September! I’ll also be co-hosting the YWCA’s virtual Inspire Luncheon on September 10th, and I’m excited to support their work in empowering women and eliminating racism. 

Where can people find your music? How can they support you and other local musicians during this pandemic?
The best way to support local artists is to buy their work: Bandcamp, merch, or even just a Paypal/Venmo/Cashapp. For me, you can hit my website to find my music on streaming and sale, and join my Patreon to support my brunch series, which has raised $20K+ to date for community causes! 

Favorite song from a Seattle-area artist OR about Seattle/the PNW?
No Rest For The Weary” – Blue Scholars