Christian pop singer Hollyn is definitely a mainstay. The 22-year-old made her presence known with her self-titled debut in 2015. Her hit single, "Alone" put her in the same league as CCM icons Britt Nicole and Lauren Daigle. After Hollyn dropped her first EP, she contributed her efforts to TobyMac's album, This is Not a Test, as a featured artist. She then followed that up with her first full-length release, One-Way Conversations.
Now, Hollyn is back with a new EP, bye, sad girl. And she's in a different headspace. According to a release, "[The EP] is a deep part of Hollyn’s story. [It's] told over the course of six songs, woven together, to portray the emotions of what it looks like to have a broken heart." I had the chance to connect with Hollyn about her new EP, her music, and more.
Catch us up on life and what's been going on with Hollyn since your last album.
Life has been full of twists and turns. The good kind. We've been creating and collaborating together as a team to make these dreams like bye, sad girl. come to life. The response and connection people have had to these songs has blown my mind. It's beautiful to watch what was once crippling for me, become an antidote to so many. It's been such a gift to see the impact the EP has had so far.
Tell us about the inspiration behind your new EP, and your lead single, "I Feel Bad For You?" What are some of the things that led to this EP?
A couple of years ago, my life got flipped upside down in a way I wasn't expecting. I had never faced anxiety or depression head-on. And, all of a sudden, that's exactly where I found myself. For me, it came through spiritual manipulation and a toxic relationship. It was overwhelming to hold all by myself, and I express my emotions through words, so naturally, I turned to songwriting. Most of the songs I wrote at that time were just for my own sanity. And, I remember thinking, "What about the person who has no one? What are they going to do when this hits them and they don't know where to turn?"
So, after I cut ties with what had been so toxic, I began to heal and process through all that had happened. In that time, the six songs from bye, sad girl. were written. And, I knew this was how I could help. This could be the hug and comfort someone needed to know they aren't crazy, and that it's possible to find healing. "i feel bad for you" is a confidence booster, for sure. I wanted to write a song about all the things I would normally be afraid to say. My friend, Cole Walowac, wrote and produced it with me. I couldn't be happier with how it turned out.
Describe the sound on your new EP. How's it different musically and lyrically compared to your last release?
I always try to capsule the emotion throughout the song. Lyrics, melody, and production all have to work together to make you understand the entirety of the situation. So, the music will bend around whatever I'm processing. For this project, it's mainly an R&B, dark pop, songwriter vibe, I think. Music isn't so much about a genre anymore, and I love that and take full advantage. I wanted it to feel like you were living in what I was going through, connect with it, and if you were in a similar situation, have a sense of comfort that you aren't alone.
How did you get your start in Christian music? Why Christian music?
My whole life has been led by the question, "God, where is the grace? Because I will follow." I have always tried my best to do that. And for me, at 15 years old, "CCM" was where the grace was. God had given me an opportunity; He told me to follow His lead, so I did. Saying "yes" to God has changed the trajectory of my life forever.
I think it's not so much about the classification of the genre, but the spirit within what I'm creating. There are no untouched areas of our lives when it comes to walking with God, so that's what I write about. Whatever He puts on my heart and lets me walk through, I write. I think the purest thing we can do, to help each other, and to show the character of God is being honest about where we are in our life. To be the most genuine version of ourselves. My goal is to do the best I can in that regard and point people to the truth.
You're a travel junkie. Where do you like to travel? Also, tell us about your involvement in fashion?
I love traveling with my husband and friends. It's so important, no matter where we go, to have people we love doing life with. For me though, I will travel any distance to be near the water, so I could give you a long list, but that sums it up.
I got more involved in fashion when I started to love my body and care about what I loved to wear, not what I "should" wear. My husband is an expert on all things fashion and we both love to thrift shop, and find things together, so I owe most of my clothing choices to him. As you can imagine, it's quite the adventure digging through piles of old clothes.
Is there a live worship or acoustic album in the future?
Great question. I get this one a lot. I love leading worship and having opportunities to do so. But, at the moment, I'm not sure how that will play out. Being a part of my church and serving there is my main priority, and when God puts that [creating live worship or acoustic album] on my heart, you'll be the first to know.
What's next? How can we be praying for you?
I have plans, but a lot of things are hazy at the moment. Which is a good sign, because it normally means God is working for me. And I love a surprise. Currently, though, I'm finishing an album and working on some side things here and there. My husband is also launching a clothing line in a few months. So, now, we get to flip the script and I get to support his dreams. We're so excited. Overall, we are just enjoying life and taking one day at a time.
Paul Phillips is a Canadian journalist with over 10 years of experience writing and editing digital and print content. He specializes in health, fitness, nutrition, and travel. He loves music, movies, and, of course, living for Jesus.
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