Holly Figueroa O'Reilly
Seattle, United States
I am an award winning, twice Grammy© nominated performing songwriter. I am also a pretty good cook.
I have been touring and performing internationally since 1999, and have played over 900+ concerts in that time. In 12 years of writing, recording, and performing, I have have recorded 7 studio records,2 live records, been included on 8 compilations, most notably Remembering Rachel: The Rachel Bissex Tribute Album (also including Dar Williams, Catie Curtis, Patty Larkin, Jennifer Kimball, The Kennedy's, Sloan Wainwright, and many others.). I also do studio/session work, and have performed on 11 other artist's records.
I started my career as a blues singer, and my first tour was with the inimitable Kathi McDonald. (RIP) Kathi was an Ikette with Tina and Ike Turner at 19 years old, was a member of Leon Russell's Shelter People, released her debut record, "Insane Asylum" the year I was born, and has appeared on 72 gold records in her 40 year career, including singing with The Rolling Stones, Joe Cocker, Betty Davis, Big Brother and the Holding Company, and dozens more.
My first record, "Three Chord Plea" was a collection of original blues and blues inflected rock songs, but I moved into the Americana arena with my 2001 release, "Dream in Red"., produced by Evan Brubaker, and featuring Keith Lowe, Jonathan Kingaham, Kym Tuvim, Dan Tyack, and many more.
A few days before the record was released, NPR's "All Things Considered" did an interview with me about the song, which was based on the book "Into the Wild" by Jon Krakauer. The interview is archived, and you can hear it at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1127434I released the record at the Bitter End in New York City on September 9, came home to Seattle and released it at the Tractor Tavern on September 10. The next day, the world changed.
The next studio release, I moved in another direction with the help of Jerry Marotta on drums and Tony Levin on bass. The record was "How it Is", and it got some airplay on major radio stations and was well received by press and fans. While I was touring behind the record, performing at the Bluebird in Nashville, a minor bidding war erupted to sign me between two major labels (that have since combined, imploded, reformed, and would have left me in the dust, no doubt). I declined every offer, and stayed with my indie label run by producer Evan Brubaker. (Cake Records).
I took some time off to have my second child, and released a Iive record (Live in New York City) in the interim. Then I was back in the studio, making "Gifts and Burdens", which I released the same year that I separated and eventually divorced my first husband. The record was the most well received of all of my records to that point, appearing on multiple radio top 40 charts, and nominated for a Grammy award for "Best Contemporary Folk Record", which Bob Dylan won that year. (I voted for him.)
I continued performing, but stopped touring between 2007 and 2009 to hammer out the details of my divorce and make sure my kids were taken care of well during the process. I was singing at the Northwest Folklife Festival in 2009 when I lost my voice. I sang half voice for the rest of the show, and found it very difficult to even walk back to my car. I was diagnosed with RA and AS (inflammatory arthritis disorders). I learned a lot about synovial fluid and joint destruction. There is a joint in our throats that allows our vocal cords to rotate called the cricoarytenoid joint. Mine was inflamed, and regardless of the treatment tried, the swelling would not reduce. My voice would not return for 2 years. My physicians and I finally came up with a regimen of chemotherapy that helps keep the swelling and joint destruction at a minimum, but I still have not gone into remission.
I don't tour very often anymore, but I still record and perform locally, and give voice and music lessons. I am also producing records in my home studio, and at a large Seattle facility, mainly for at risk youth, ranging from R&B to Hip Hop/Rap, to folk and blues.