Listen: US artist Hollyn joins David "Esky" Esquen on FRESH to chat about her new album 'Holy Rebellion'
Hollyn in 2021 looks and sounds very different than when she first debuted. She is married, with a brand new album out, a baby on the way, and found her reason for existing.
After being discovered by Toby Mac’s record label (Gotee Records), Hollyn released her debut full-length album at 20 years old, at a time when she was at the “very beginning of self discovery”.
Four years later, Hollyn is reintroducing herself to the world with Holy Rebellion, her second LP.
Looking back she questions her authenticity on her 2017 debut, even going so far as to question whether it should have been released at all.
“I wasn’t really confident in my voice as an artist quite yet,” she said.
“I felt like I had this vulnerability in my personality that I really wanted to please people.”
In the back of her mind was a voice telling her “If you believe in Jesus and you’re a Christian then your art has to sound, look, be a certain way [creatively]”.
That tension was something Hollyn wrestled with up until she released the EP Bye Sad Girl following the aftermath of a toxic relationship.
The overwhelming positive response to Hollyn’s raw vulnerability and pop-music sensibilities was eye opening to her.
“I realised, wow, I can use this voice I have even though I’m still figuring things out, and I’m on my own healing journey,” – American singer-songwriter Hollyn
“I realised, wow, I can use this voice I have even though I’m still figuring things out, and I’m on my own healing journey,” she said.
In the last four years, Hollyn has also learnt to give weight and listen to only the few, important voices around her.
“I think there’s a very few amount of people in my life that God has positioned around me,” she said.
“I feel like my whole life has been this ‘holy rebellion’ and with what I’m doing in music, it might not come to fruition for a long time.
“But I know what God’s promised me and what he’s asked me to do, and that’s to be obedient to what nobody else can see, but he and I.”
She’s also learnt to filter out criticism from fans and critics alike, some of whom have misunderstood some of her recent work.
“I think it’s OK that people misunderstand. [But] if you would actually stop and listen to what I’m saying, and watch, without having a filter of ‘because this, this, and this, it must be bad’.
“Some [of the comments] are just downright cruel. I know this is true. I want to fight for those people and those things that I know are innocent, holy and pure, and for me one of those things is my faith.”
“I want to be a bridge for people to communicate to God if they’ve never met Him before,” – American singer-songwriter Hollyn
Ultimately Hollyn wants to bring people together with her art and challenge herself and her audience in the process with her raw honesty, vulnerability and slick alternative pop music.
“I want to be a bridge for people to communicate to God if they’ve never met Him before, or if that’s not what they want to do then they can come and listen to the music and feel seen and heard.”
Holy Rebellion is out now.
Listen: For an in-depth listen about Hollyn’s new album, including the production process with her collaborator Austin Davis, and whether she would ever team up with NF, check out the extended interview.
Feature image: Hollyn Facebook