Save The City artist Holly Starr, was kind enough to answer some email questions by Christian Music Zine’s Joshua Andre! Below are her responses:
Thank you for taking some time out to talk with CMZ.
Q1: You’ve had quite a career already, and the fact that you’re only 21, and yet such an accomplished and brilliant singer-songwriter is astounding and remarkable. Can you tell us about how you came into music, from being a country farm girl?
I was very involved with the youth band at my church growing up. Through leading worship I discovered a desire to try writing songs! Those first songs found their way to MySpace, which were then discovered by my first producer, Brandon Bee. My story until today is one of God opening door after door in places I would least expect it, making a way were there seemed to be none again and again. If there is one thing I know, it is that I haven’t been in charge from the very beginning, and I like it that way!
Q2: How were you signed to Save The City Records? I heard it was through an online video, and Brandon Bee saw your youth group’s performance…
Actually Derek Hoeim, who met me through my friendship with Brandon, has watched me from the very beginning. Derek owns Save the City records. As I grew into songwriting and touring more and more, I think he just saw something that God was doing through my ministry that he wanted to support! Because of Derek, my cd’s are able to be distributed into Christian bookstores around the country. What a blessing.
Q3: Can you describe your sound for someone who hasn’t heard it? For me it’s sounds and feels like piano pop, with vocals similar to Britt Nicole, Dara Maclean and Kari Jobe!
I would definitely say pop, with more of an acoustic-lean. Tapestry was more pop-rock, but my new album is more pop for sure!
Q4: You’ve worked with many high profile producers, including Chris Stevens, Ian Eskelin, David Garcia, Chuck Butler and Rusty Varenkamp. How was the recording on your album Focus different to Tapestry or Embraced?
Many things were different, but a few key things were the fact that there are three producers on this project (Stevens, Garcia, Butler), as opposed to only one on my previous two albums. Also I would say that this time around I was a lot more confident in the studio as it wasn’t a new environment like the last two were. Embraced was my first project, and Tapestry was my first project in Nashville, with more co-writing with strangers. Good, but scary! Focus was less “new”, so I was probably more comfortable all the way around when it came to discussing the songs, and even writing them.
Q5: You’ve had two singles already for your new album- “Let Go” and “Don’t Have Love”. Can you give us the stories behind these songs and what inspired them?
Don’t Have Love was written as a reflection of realizing that even if God gave me the measure of faith to move a mountain (like I would pray for daily), but didn’t have LOVE, that I truly had nothing. I was beginning to realize that my prayer life needed to change – to pray for more Love, more of God (the Source from where all faith, hope, joy, etc flows from) first!
Let Go was written as kind of a prophetic song. It wasn’t intended to be that way, but it ended up being a song that spoke to me right away. I was entering a season of multiple huge changes in my life, and Let Go was written right before it all hit. While I was writing it, however, it was written as a cry for me to trust God more. I have always struggled with trusting, so naturally this song fell from my heart.
Q6: My favourite songs are “Let Go”, “Don’t Have Love”, “Me and You”, “Constant” and “I Believe”. Which song has been your favourite to write, or sing, on this album? Were there any songs that were difficult to write?
“Focus” is definitely one of my favorites because of its message and where it puts you as you listen to it. The music really ushers the lyric well. Lyrically it really does express the season I have been in, so it means a lot to me. There is nothing I want to do more than direct my listeners’ attention to God in the midst of whatever season!
I would say writing “Through My Father’s Eyes” was the most difficult – not because of the music or the length of time it took, but because the lyrics leave me in a vulnerable place. It’s me admitting that I have struggled with body image, and that’s not always an easy thing to say. However, writing the song was well worth it. I want other girls to know they aren’t alone in there struggle, but more than that that God IS able to heal us from what seems like a disease. He did it for me, and He can do it for them too.
Q7: In the next few months, you have a very busy schedule; touring churches and schools, and a major festival in Disney’s Night of Joy! Are there any tours, countries and places you are looking forward to visit in the near future? What should people expect from your live shows?
I will be going to Israel on Christmas day with my Grandma Starr for a few weeks to introduce her (after being separated for 60 years) to her siblings, nieces and nephews that I was blessed to find and meet back in 2010 when I went there. Although it isn’t a tour, I’m sure I will bust out the guitar to share some Jesus with my Jewish relatives. I can’t WAIT! Other than that, I will be touring the west coast this fall for the release in October and then over the next year doing the same throughout the US.
Q8: Who are the artists you listened to, and admired when growing up? Which artists would you love to work with in the future? Are there any albums you are listening to right now that have helped you, and strengthened your walk with God?
Tobymac, Nicole C. Mullen, Bethany Dillon, Chris Tomlin, Jaci Velasquez, Rebecca St. James, Shawn McDonald…and so many more.
I would love to do a song with Chris Tomlin someday. He has inspired me to direct all praise and honor to Christ.
I love the modern-day “In Christ Alone” hymn album by Bethany Dillon and Matt Hammitt. That record is probably my favorite of all. I think I will take that album to the grave with me, haha.
Q9: As a relatively new face in the Christian music industry, what is the most important take home message for listeners of your music? What is the most exciting thing you do every day that makes writing and performing music satisfying?
I want people to know that the hope of my life lived is to direct people to who God is. He is the most satisfying, the most interesting, the most awesome, the most life-changing thing we can ever think upon or spend time with. It’s just all about HIM. All I want is for people to taste and see that HE is good. That HE is all any one person could need. That this is reality and not just something we say as Christians. It is the very thing that inspires me to do what I do – to get up in the morning and sing more songs, write more songs.. I just want people to know Him, how GOOD He is!!
Q10: Is there anything else that you’d like to add that we haven’t covered? What is God teaching you lately? Is there a particular Bible verse that has resonated with you?
I am on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and my website: hollystarrmusic.com
Proverbs 3:5,6 is my favorite!
God bless you Holly! Have an awesome 2012 and 2013 with Jesus!
Holly Starr’s third album Focus releases via Save The City Records on iTunes, Amazon mp3, and other digital media outlets October 2nd 2012. Check out her music video for “Don’t Have Love” below: