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Q&A: Greg Holden

Greg Holden

When we think of singer-songwriters, the most common image that comes to mind is a hipster-esque man or woman with a hat, plenty of scarves, and guitar on their back. Enter Greg Holden. The New York-based, Scottish-born singer-songwriter is breaking down all of the stereotypes, one record at a time. You may recall Greg as one of the minds behind Phillip Phillips’ breakout single, “Home,” or even for his own song “She’s Got Something” being featured on a Target commercial. However, Greg Holden is set to be a household name, with charming, clever new tracks on his upcoming album, Chase The Sun, which is set for release on April 14th, as well as a spring tour with Delta Rae and a summer run with Ingrid Michaelson.

Amidst the madness, Greg Holden sat down with Planet Stereo to talk about the new album, touring, and breaking stereotypes.

 

Planet Stereo: Chase the Sun is Warner Bros. debut. One week until release.

Greg Holden: Yeah, less than a week. Six days.

PS: Are you excited?

GH: Yeah, very.

PS: How do you think that this is going to different than your other albums, other than, of course, record label involvement?

GH: Well, this album is a lot more positive, so I hope more people will be able to pull something from it. The last one was very self-involved and a lot of finger pointing. This one is more open and kind of open to interpretation for the listener and I’m excited to see how people react to it. I’m nervous too.

PS: I can’t blame you. It must be nerve wracking to put out such personal material. Do you find that you’re a very personal songwriter?

GH: Absolutely. You know, I draw a lot of my influences from songwriters who are very personal, like Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, all those guys are very personal songwriters and you know, that’s definitely influenced my music. I almost find it more difficult — in fact, I do find it more difficult to write songs that aren’t personal.

PS: Do you find that, at shows, people come up a lot and say, “Oh, I can relate to that,” or just that they’ve been through similar experiences?

GH: Definitely. Especially with the new songs, I’m getting more reactions from people in terms of people telling me their personal experiences. One of the most profound ones was when I was in Florida. I played one of my new songs, “Boys In The Street,” and a kid came up to me and said he didn’t kill himself because of that song, which was the most…I mean, I didn’t know what to say, you know? When someone says something like that to you, it’s…you don’t know how to handle that.

PS: Yeah, I would imagine you just kind of freeze.

GH: Yeah…you’re like, “Okay, well, I’m very glad you’re alive! [laughs] And I’m very glad I wrote this song.”

 

 

PS: You said the album was heavily influenced by your travels…

GH: Yeah, I took a trip to India like, two years ago, because I needed something to reignite my songwriting process, because it had kind of fallen into a hole. I knew that going somewhere extreme like India or the Himalayas would do something to me, and I didn’t know what that would be. But what it did do was give me a whole new perspective on my life, and my opportunities, and how fortunate I am to be doing what I’m doing, so the album was heavily influenced by that experience.

PS: Speaking of traveling, I am curious, as you’ve toured all over, what crowd do you find to be the most extreme/the wildest?

GH: The wildest? I think the American crowds. In Europe, everyone’s kind of well-behaved, they’ll sit and listen, and clap accordingly, but in America, they’re a bit more wild, especially when getting down to New Orleans and Texas. It’s awesome.

PS: I’m based in Florida, so I totally get that, especially when you go to House of Blues. The people are already hopped up because they’re in Disney!

GH: Yeah, right, especially if you’re there on like, a weekend in Florida, when everybody’s drinking. They go nuts. Then you’re really in for it.

PS: So you were originally born in Scotland, but you moved from England to New York?

GH: Yeah, I’ve been in New York for six years now.

PS: And how are you finding it in comparison to your British roots?

GH: Well, it’s been so long now, it’s like, this is my life. It’s hard to remember what my old life was like in England. When I was living there, I had a job and worked everyday, and wasn’t making money from music, and then, I moved to New York kind of to give myself that element of fear that I thought would push me to make music my living. When I moved here, I quit everything in England, and when I got here, my only choice was to make money on music, so, it’s a whole different life here.

PS: It obviously worked.

GH: Yeah, I guess it did [laughs]. You know, you’ve got to jump if you want to learn how to fly.

PS: Has being with a big label like Warner Bros. changed how your perspective of the music industry, or are you still looking at it the same way?

GH: I’m still looking at it the same way. I’m seeing a bigger picture, certainly, but I spent a lot of time being independent through choice because I was waiting for the right label, and I had my choices, but I looked at my options. I found that when I spoke to the people at Warner, they just seemed to believe in what I was trying to do, so nothing has really changed in terms of how much freedom I have or what kind of music I want to put in. I still have the control I had before, I just have more support, which is very fortunate.

PS: A lot of artists really fear big labels, because they’re scared of that loss of control. What would you say to the artists that feel that way?

GH: They’re scared for a reason, and I don’t disagree with them. I mean, I was very fortunate to fall into the hands of Warner Brothers, but not all labels are like they are. The only thing I would probably say is, and it’s easier said than done, but try and control as much as you can going in. I mean, you know, I actually made Chase The Sun before I signed with Warner Brothers, so I’d already made the record, I’d already written the songs, and recorded everything, so it was easy for me to go in, and be like, “Do you wanna do this?” [laughs] A lot of bands aren’t in that boat or that position of power, so they are told what songs to put on the album, or pushed to go in a certain direction. I just feel very lucky that I was in the situation that I was when I signed with Warner Brothers.

PS: And you’re also about to go on tour, which I assume will be crazy.

GH: I can’t wait. I love touring. That’s the whole reason I wanted to be a musician, to play music for people. I love it. I’m so excited to go out with Delta Rae and I’m excited to go out with Ingrid Michaelson in June.

PS: What dates are you looking forward to the most? Is there a place that you haven’t been that you’re excited to visit?

GH: Well, we’re playing with Ingrid Michaelson in June at The Greek Theatre in LA, which is kind of one of the like life goals. It’s one of the most beautiful venues in the world. I wake up every morning and think about what it’s gonna be like to play that show [laughs].

PS: Just kind of imagine it all, right? [laughs]

GH: Yeah, that places holds like 5 or 6,000 people I think. I’m just kind of like, ‘Oh my god. That’s gonna be so amazing.’

PS: With such a busy schedule, I mean, you’re touring, you’re writing, life gets in the way, etc., how do you find the time to write?

GH: [laughs] Good question! Honestly, because I’ve never had a label behind me post-album release, I don’t know yet. Because, you know, the label’s going to make sure I’m busy, and then they’ll want another album, and I don’t know when that’s going to happen, because it’s never happened this way before. But you know, I’m one of those people that don’t really write while I’m on the move. Once I stop moving, I need to take some time to clear my head, and write more music. Hopefully, my label will be kind enough to understand that once this album cycle’s done, I’ll disappear somewhere [laughs].

PS: Go to like, a cabin in the woods?

GH: Yeah, or like, India again. Go to a cabin or something, and like hideaway to write an album. Only time will tell, I guess.

PS: I’m just going to be curious as to “Where did he go?” [laughs]

GH: Yeah, I’ll just be that illusive guy that disappears after every album. [laughs]

PS: When you’re looking at the music industry now, especially with social media, which I know you utilize and talk to your fans, which do you find to be more important: quality or like-ability?

GH: Quality, absolutely. For me, I’ve always been about less is more, quality versus quantity, you know, all those cliche` statements. I think there is something to be said about being selective about what you put out there musically and in terms of content. I always have people telling me, “Oh, you need to put out more content, we need more content,” and I don’t agree [laughs]. I really don’t. I mean, I think that putting something out there for the sake of it is going to be damaging. It’s more important to really be aware of what you’re putting out there, and putting out less of it. I put out YouTube video after YouTube video of song after song, and it’s a learning process, because I regret that now, because I put out crap [laughs]. For me, it’s all about learning throughout your career to do a good job with what you’re doing.

PS: Speaking of content, and what’s being put out there, I’m genuinely curious, what was the first album that you every bought?

GH: Dookie by Green Day.

PS: Really?

GH: Yeah, the first song I ever learnt on guitar was “Time of Your Life,” by Green Day. I’m an absolutely massive Green Day fan.

PS: Oh my gosh, I am genuinely surprised. I pegged you as like a Beatles guy or something.

GH: Don’t get me wrong, I started listening to Bob Dylan and The Beatles, and all that stuff, but for me, I was more into punk and metal in the beginning, and I still am. I still listen to punk and metal. The Bronx is one of my favorite bands. I have this singer-songwriter vibe, but I listen to a lot of heavier stuff.

PS: I’m sorry, I’m just genuinely surprised [laughs].

GH: [laughs] That’s funny. I bet you expected me to be like, “Oh yeah, you know, I’m a big Damien Rice fan, and I love him…”

PS: Yeah, I did, truthfully.

GH: And them I’m just like, “Yeah, you know, I’m more into, like, Every Time I Die, and The Bronx.” [laughs]

PS: Now that you’ve rendered me completely speechless, I only have one question left for you.

GH: That’s really funny. Go ahead.

PS: If this was your last interview, your last words ever spoken to another human being, what would you want them to be?

GH: Oh my God…

PS: I’m not threatening to kill you, by the way, just so that we’re clear.

GH: [laughs] I know, I was like, “Did you plant a bomb in my apartment? Is that what this is?”

PS: [laughs] Oh, God. That’s horrible.

GH: Um…my last words…[sighs]. Be kind to others. Yeah, I mean, that’s it. Be kind to others. Fuck it, they’re my last words!

Greg Holden’s new album, Chase The Sun, is out on April 14th. You can find more from him HERE, or buy a CD or tickets to an upcoming show HERE.

You should also be sure to share this interview, with the #NicestHumanAwards.

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Greg Holden Announces June Tour w/ Ingrid Michaelson

Greg Holden

Singer/songwriter Greg Holden has just announced a string of shows in June alongside Ingrid Michaelson. Prior to that, the Nw York-based Holden will tour with Delta Rae, kicking off in Philadelphia in April 9th, continuing on through early May.

Fresh off of his SXSW shows, and being names one of the top 10 Breakout Performers by Austin Monthly, he also just performed a sold-out show at the Hotel Café in Los Angeles. Please see below for all upcoming tour dates. 

Greg Holden’s upcoming tour dates are as follows:

With Delta Rae:

04/09  Philadelphia, PA      Theatre of Living Arts

04/10  Washington, DC      9:30 Club

04/14  New York, NY          Webster Hall

04/17  Burlington, VT         Higher Ground

04/18  Boston, MA             Royale

04/23  Royal Oak, MI         Royal Oak Music Theatre

04/24  Chicago, IL             Metro

04/25  Madison, WI           Majestic Theatre

04/28  Minneapolis, MN     First Avenue

04/30  Indianapolis, IN      Deluxe @ Old National Centre

05/01  Nashville, TN          City Winery

05/07  Charlotte, NC         Neighborhood Theatre

05/09  Raleigh, NC            The Ritz

With Ingrid Michaelson: 

06/11  Los Angeles, CA      The Greek Theatre

06/12  San Diego, CA        Humphreys By The Bay

06/13  Oakland, CA           Fox Theater

06/15  Boise, ID                Knitting Factory Boise

06/16  Troutdale, OR         Edgefield

06/17  Seattle, WA            Paramount Theatre

06/19  Salt Lake City, UT   The Complex

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Greg Holden Announces Tour W/ Delta Rae

greg holden

Hot on the heels of his sold-out show at New York’s Le Poisson Rouge, singer-songwriter Greg Holden has announced a series of upcoming shows, including a spring tour with Sire recording artists Delta Rae, that launches on April 9th in Philadelphia, PA. Prior to that, Holden will perform at this year’s SXSW festival (including at the Warner Bros. Records showcase), and a show at the Hotel Café in Los Angeles on March 24th

 

Holden is touring in support of Chase The Sun, his upcoming debut for Warner Bros. Records, which will be released on April 14th. Produced by Greg Wells (Adele, OneRepublic), Chase The Sun is filled with Holden’s passionate, purpose-driven rock songs, which brim with tough, vibrant energy and showcase his lean, literate songwriting. Watch the Chase The Sun album trailer below:

 

 

Greg Holden’s upcoming tour dates are as follows:

 

3/20    Austin, TX                 Victorian Room at The Driskill (SXSW)

3/20    Austin, TX                 Quantum Collective Southwest Invasion at

Whole Foods Rooftop Plaza (SXSW)

3/21    Austin, TX                 WBR Showcase at Cedar Street Courtyard (SXSW)

3/24    Los Angeles, CA         Hotel Café

With Delta Rae:

4/09    Philadelphia, PA         Theatre of Living Arts

4/10    Washington, DC         9:30 Club

4/14    New York, NY             Webster Hall

4/17    Burlington, VT            Higher Ground

4/18    Boston, MA                Royale

4/23    Royal Oak, MI            Royal Oak Music Theatre

4/24    Chicago, IL                Metro

4/25    Madison, WI              Majestic Theatre

4/28    Minneapolis, MN         First Avenue

4/30    Indianapolis, IN          Deluxe @ Old National Centre

5/01    Nashville, TN              City Winery

5/07    Charlotte, NC             Neighborhood Theatre

5/09    Raleigh, NC                The Ritz

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15 Songs From January ’15 You HAVE To Hear

Can you believe the first month of 2015 is already over? Feels like it was only last week we were kissing Christmas goodbye and ringing in the New Year with our favorite Must Hear Artists.

Planet Stereo’s rounded up the top 15 of January 2015. You’ve gotta check these out:

 

1. All Time Low – “Something’s Gotta Give”

The band’s first single from their upcoming album, Future Hearts. It’s catchy, full of fun, and the video has a plot twist.

2. Sleeping With Sirens – “Go Go Go”

Electrifying, energetic track, with a funny as Hell video. Let this be a reminder to wave at the people who spin the signs or have to wear silly costumes on streets as advertising.

3. Alec Chambers – “Whole Again”

The 19-year-old’s single has been making waves all month with a ridiculously catchy chorus and pure pop style.

4. Enter Shikari – “Anaethetist”

Entrancing in sound, as well as visually. Stemming from the band’s album, Mindsweep, which came out earlier this month.

5. Kids – “Second Star On The Right”

Who doesn’t love a good Peter Pan reference? This track will certainly make you want to return to Neverland to become a Lost Boy.

6. Hannah Gill – “I Feel Awake”

Finding out that Hannah Gill is seventeen makes your jaw drop when you hear her soulful vocals.

7. Fall Out Boy – “The Kids Aren’t Alright”

My favorite track from their latest album, American Beauty / American Psycho. It’s got an incredibly sophisticated sound, while still maintaining the lovable pop-punk style of FOB.

8. As It Is – “Dial Tones”

The band’s label debut, and it sounds awesome. With pure emotion in every line, As It Is prove that they are definitely one to watch by showcasing their immense talent.

9. The Rocketboys – “Viva Voce”

The incredible single that you heard on the final season premiere of Glee. Yes, you read that right, on Glee.

10. Real Friends – “Summer”

For those of us who are so sick of the winter weather and want the blistering heat of the summer back, listen to this tune, and dream of sunnier days ahead.

11. Gerard Way – “Don’t Try”

Ah, the relief of hearing Gerard Way singing through your speakers once again. Is there no greater joy?

12. The Downtown Fiction – “Don’t Count Me Out”

Rhythmic, catchy new single from The Downtown Fiction’s album, Losers & Kings, which is out now. Bonus points for the intro begin filmed in Orlando!

13. Nathan Angelo – “Carolina Save Me”

Stemming from the singer-songwriter’s upcoming Carolina EP, there is a country twang to this single that will make you melt….and maybe miss summer even more.

14. Greg Holden – “Hold On Tight”

A beautiful new track from the singer/songwriter…But am I the only one to notice the play on words here? (Holden – Hold On)

15. Wild Party – “Outright”

If you’re looking for a new indie-rock tune to dance to for the rest of the year, this may have to be it.

 

Honorable Mentions:

Martin Callingham – “Knots”

Wildhart – “Stuck In a Second”

Kelly Clarkson – “Heartbeat Song”

Summer Scouts – “Facepaint”

Spencer Sutherland – “Nothing Can Hurt Me”

The Heydaze – “Don Juan”

The National Parks – “Helsinki”

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Greg Holden Announces Warner Bros. Debut

greg holden

 

New York-based singer/songwriter Greg Holden announced that he will be releasing his debut album for Warner Bros. Record, entitled Chase The Sun, on April 14th, 2015. The album, produced by Greg Wells (Adele, OneRepublic), is said to be filled with passionate, vibrant tracks. You can view the album trailer below.

 

 

Holden claims that the majority of Chase The Sun was inspired by his seven-week trip to India and Nepal that the Scottish-born, English-bred artist took in February of 2013. “I saw a lot of poverty in India,” Holden says. “I traveled through the northern State of Bihar, which is the poorest region of the country. It was devastating, but incredibly inspiring. I cam back home with such a different view on life and a reminder that the fact that I can make music for a living is a miracle.”

Upon his return, Holden began to write the songs on the album, including the first single, “Hold On Tight.” “It was the first song where I felt like I finally knew where the record was going. It’s about looking at life as something we should feel grateful for, not be complaining about.” The single will become available from all digital retailers on January 27th.

 

The track-listing for Chase The Sun is as follows:

  1. Hold On Tight
  2. Save Yourself
  3. Bulletproof
  4. Boys In The Street
  5. Give It Away
  6. Go Chase The Sun
  7. Free Again
  8. A Wonderful World
  9. It’ll All Come Out
  10. I Won’t Forget
  11. The Next Life

Catch Greg Holden on tour with Ingrid Michaelson (all shows except NY): 

01/31  Richmond, VA           The National

02/03  Charlottesville, VA    Jefferson Theatre

02/04  Durham, NC             Carolina Theatre

02/06  Charlotte, NC           The Fillmore

02/07  Atlanta, GA              Center Stage

02/09  Charleston, SC         Charleston Music Hall

 02/10  Jacksonville, FL        Ponte Vedra Concert Hall

02/11  Clearwater, FL         Capitol Theatre

02/12  Ft. Lauderdale, FL    Culture Room

02/18  New York, NY           Le Poisson Rouge (Showcase)

http://www.gregholdenonline.com/

https://www.facebook.com/gregholden

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PLAYLIST: 19 Songs For Turning 19

On February 28th, I turned nineteen years old. Many things have changed over the years, but my love of music hasn’t, and nor has my insane desire to create a playlist every year. It’s the only way I really allow myself to fuss over my birthday. Anyway, here are nineteen songs I thought were right to ring in my nineteenth birthday. Enjoy!

1. “Like It’s Her Birthday” by Good Charlotte (2010)

 

2. “Ocean Avenue” by Yellowcard (2003)

 

3. “Birthday In Los Angeles” by The Maine (2013)

 

4. “I’m Not Okay (I Promise)” by My Chemical Romance (2004)

 

5. “Run Don’t Walk” by Hey Monday (2008)

 

6. “Chocolate” by The 1975 (2012) (Yes, I am aware what this song is supposed to be about, but it’s catchy!)

 

7. “Brave” by Sara Bareilles (2013)

 

8. “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” by Simple Minds (1987)

 

9. “It’s My Birthday” by Pixie Lott (2011)

 

10. “Happy Birthday” by The Click Five (2007)

 

11. “She’s Got Something” by Greg Holden (2009)

 

12. “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen (1975)

 

13. “She’s So High” by Tal Bachman (1999)

 

14. “High School Never Ends” by Bowling For Soup (2006)

 

15. “Alone Together” by Fall Out Boy (2013)

 

16. “This Car” by Cassadee Pope (2013)

 

17. “First Time” by Boys Like Girls (2012)

 

18. “Poppin’ Champagne” by All Time Low (2008)

 

19. “The Very Last Country Song” by Sugarland (2008)

 

*BONUS: “Weightless” by All Time Low (2009), because this year is mine.

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