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Holley Maher

August 8, 2013


We’ve noticed something about the people we’ve featured on 12 Questions: none of them are just one thing. Singer-songwriter Holley Maher is no exception. In her Nashville home, she surrounds herself with paintbrushes, self-authored and illustrated storybooks and novels, odd collections of instruments, and stacks of notebooks full of sketches, ideas, and songs in the making. Her vivid artistic vision bleeds into the studio and her songs, manifesting in beautifully textured vocal harmonies and sweeping melodies that seem to pull you in and carry you away. For Holley, making music and making art are part of the same lovely continuum.

For her third EP project entitled “Euphorics,” Holley teamed up with veteran Nashville-based producer Chris Grainger (Wilco, Sixpence None The Richer, Switchfoot) and electro-pop singer/songwriter Kyle Andrews. The collaboration was a “creative rush,” as Maher calls it, resulting in a collection of upbeat songs with Holley’s familiar whimsical flair, but with a pulsating electro-pop undercurrent that makes not dancing nearly impossible.

In addition to being an independent musician and prolifically active songwriter, Holley also owns and operates a freelance graphic design boutique called H. Maher Creative. She is constantly on the move from the design studio to the recording studio, and in between, to the dance studio at The Nashville Ballet where she frequently takes classes. She draws inspiration from one space to the next, in a marvelously productive creative cycle. Listen to “Golden” from Holley’s new EP and take some motivation from this hard-working artist.

1. What is your hometown?

It’s a sleepy little beach town in New Jersey, but I’ve lived in Nashville for 8 or 9 years. If you could replace the Cumberland River with the Pacific Ocean, I’m not sure I’d ever leave Nashville.

2. With what fictional character do you most identify?

Alice, from “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Through The Looking Glass” — the actual books, not the movies. The book Alice had so many seemingly contradictory traits, which I find endearing, and I love the way she speaks.

3. In the movie of your life, cast an actor to play you.

Carey Mulligan. I feel like she’d get my unique brand of weird.

4. What work of art speaks to your soul?

I have an ink drawing of two sea urchins by Yuri Figueroa hanging in my living room. It’s beautiful, and it’s the only piece of art I have that was created for me personally. I think that’s special.

5. What books are you currently reading or recommending?

I found a copy of “Cold Mountain” at a church yard sale. That one is next on my reading list. Also, I really want to read “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” and Shel Silverstein’s collection of poems, “Where The Sidewalk Ends.”

6. What song or album is currently in heavy rotation on your iPod?

The iPhone has been asked to play The Bridges several times recently. They’re a Nashville band that sadly broke up before some of their best stuff got out there. I’m also currently crushing very hard on Phox, and St. Paul and the Broken Bones. The record player has spinned Rod Stewart’s “Every Picture Tells A Story” and J.D. McPherson’s debut album more times that I can count.

7. What’s the last movie that made you cry?

Probably “Hugo.”

8. Cat person or dog person?

Both, but sadly can’t have either in my rented house.

9. What is more important, truth or kindness?

Truth, if by “kindness” you mean lying to spare someone’s feelings. If by “kindness” you mean the genuine version, then they’re equally important.

10. How do you define sin?

I can’t, but I try to avoid it.

11. How do you define virtue?

Something worth striving for.

12. Design your headstone: What does it say? What does it look like?

I won’t have a headstone. I don’t like the idea of something as unimportant as my body taking up space in the earth forever. But if I did, it’d probably say “I told you guys to cremate me.” Or, “Here lies a woman that made a mean whiskey cider punch.”

Bonus Question: Who would you like to see answer these questions?

My grandmother.


Holley Maher
H. Maher Creative

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