Even with two back-to-back hit singles, “Ladies Night” and “Countdown,” Hollywood Holland is still a midwestern girl in a big city. Holland earned the nickname “Hollywood Holland” after packing up everything she owned in her Mercury Cougar and road tripping to California to chase her dreams.
Her lyrics are positive, self-empowering and fun-focused with a touch of sarcasm and humor, like Holland herself. She mixes energetic Pop with hints of Country, a nod to the music that influenced her while growing up in Minnesota. Holland’s latest single, “Journey Alone,” drops in time for Pride Month, in June 2020 as a tribute to her LGBTQIA+ fans.
I chatted with Hollywood Holland on the phone during this global pandemic to see how she is doing, how she is coping with the COVID-19 crisis, about her work and what she is looking forward to after the coronavirus.
Modesty aside, how would you describe yourself?
I’m down to earth. Someone that could be considered everyone’s best friend as I’m very friendly, easy to talk to, and welcoming. I’m kind, empathetic, and generous. I’m sweet but can also be sassy. I’m sarcastic, quick witted, and like to joke around a lot. When you get to know me, you’ll find I’m very silly, and crazy, but the good kind of crazy always reliable for a good laugh. People joke that I’m a mixture of Carrie Underwood and Cardi B (Holly B).
Before we get in too deep, I want to know how COVID-19 has impacted you personally and professionally.
COVID-19 has taken an economic hit on me like most people. I feel like it has put me in a feeling of a standstill with my music as I’ve felt an internal loss of motivation to be promoting my music when there is such tragedy going on. However, on the other hand it inspires me to try to be a source of hope and positivity for others to stay strong through my writing and songs. It has forced me to slow down as I’m constantly on the go and traveling. It is giving me time and space to look within and take care of myself even more so internally and externally creating an optimum state of health as much as possible. I’m trying to reach out more often to my friends and family which is really nice because a lot of them are so far away from me and it can be hard to reach each other on the phone when we are all normally so busy. It really reiterates what is truly important in life which to me are the connections and bonds you have with your loved ones.
Tell me a bit about your background growing up in Minnesota.
I grew up in the middle-class suburbs, the youngest of three children. I was very athleticly involved in many sports such as gymnastics, soccer, basketball, cross country running and competition cheerleading (I was the one they threw up in the air).
My mom suffered from many medical problems including horrible arthritis which caused her to be unable to work. I had my first job with my siblings having our own paper route as well as working at a local car wash. I really learned the essence of hard work and appreciation at a young age.
My dad was in a band as a singer and guitarist when he was younger and my Grandma was a professional organist, and I inherited their musical genes. I was in choir, musicals and voice lessons. At six years old I told my dad I’m going to be a famous singer and move to LA when I turn 18 and kept that belief. I was voted in my graduating high school class of 2,000 students [most likely] to never return to Minnesota. They all knew that I had bigger dreams than staying in town, getting a 9-5 and starting a family which was the typical Minnesota lifestyle.
My dad told me just like his parents told him “I don’t want you to be a starving artist,” so I had to pursue a college degree first. So, I went to college at San Diego State for two years where I would drive every week to take voice lessons in LA, then I transferred to Chicago and completed my four-year degree in three years. They had a program called Semester in LA where I was selected along 12 others to study on Raleigh Studios lot in Movie Marketing whereupon completion I graduated and stayed in LA to pursue my entertainment endeavors. I was quickly distracted with acting and on-camera hosting as many people told me “you would be so good at it, you’re so personable.” However, after pursuing that route for a while I realized that this isn’t my passion and got burned out. I then went on sort of an eat, pray, love route, went to Bali and received my yoga certification and with some soul searching fell back into music, my true love and passion. Now after losing my way and getting back to what makes me come alive, I’m ready to share my music with the world and inspire them as well to stay true to themselves.
Your last two singles, “Ladies Night” and “Countdown” were both big hits. How would you describe your music?
My music is upbeat, fun, positive, and the lyrics are centered on motivating and inspiring others.
What’s new on your play list?
Some of my favorite new recent downloads include:
“Never Seen The Rain” — Tones And I
“I Love Me” —Demi Lovato
“Brave” — Don Diablo and Jessie J
“So Small” — Carrie Underwood
You are very popular with the queer community. Tell me about that.
I have a lot of gay friends, and I’ve always just connected with them. I tend to refer [to] myself as just a fun-crazy gay guy trapped in a straight girl’s body. I tend to find most gay guys I meet to share similar qualities to myself such as sarcasm, sassiness, a love for song and dance and not afraid to break out into it at any time, and also to stay true to yourself regardless of the opinions of others. Not afraid to be so extra!
What is your favorite charity or cause?
My favorite cause is anything supporting mental health. I’ve had my own battles with feelings of anxiety/depression that I’ve overcome and know how important it is to learn the tools to take care of your inner world and live a happy life through self-love and self-care. I also used to work as a yoga therapist at an outpatient rehab center and really feel for those that are struggling with inner demons.
You are about to drop a single inspired by this global pandemic. Can you share any details?
My single is called “Journey Alone.” The song was created at the end of 2019, but it also relates so perfectly in my opinion during this hard time where we are all sitting in quarantine and practicing social distancing.
The song is about self-care. It’s about removing toxic people from your life and spending some time alone to look within and discover how to create a healthy internal environment for yourself which then carries itself out with you into the external world. Sometimes we love and care about people in our lives, but due to their own self-destruction, trying to help them causes chaos in our own lives.
It’s about creating boundaries. Happiness is an internal job and we are the only person who can heal ourselves and make ourselves feel whole and complete. And sometimes it really takes a lot of time alone to be able to get quiet aside from outside noise, hold a mirror up to ourselves, heal and grow. During this quarantine where we are literally forced to spend a lot of alone time, it’s a great time to learn how to be alone, self-reflect and think about healthy ways we want to spend our lives and who we want to be in this world when this is all over.
What would you like to share with your fans and others as we go through this crisis?
Through going through hard times in the past I’ve learned that tough times don’t last forever, but tough people do! Never give up hope that there will be a brighter future. Although this time is difficult, try to find the positives in this situation such as more time to make connections with those you love, even if most of that time is spent talking on the phone.
If you aren’t working, use this time to find or work on a hobby, maybe even creating your own business, or on self-improvement including getting in great shape. There’s so many home workouts, and you won’t be tempted to go out eating and drinking excess calories with your friends.
Every time you feel like complaining or feeling sorry for yourself, think of what you do have to be grateful for. There is always something to be grateful for— it can be even the smallest simplest thing. And when you’re also having negative thoughts think about what you can do to help someone else. This too shall pass.
Tell me a secret — a good one!
If I told you then it would no longer be a secret ;) I’m the type of friend that you can always count on to keep a secret. What everyone doesn’t know about me is I sleep topless with a baby blanket and one foot out of the covers.
Follow Hollywood Holland on Instagram: Vic Gerami is a journalist, media contributor and the editor and publisher of The Blunt Post. He spent six years at Frontiers Magazine, followed by LA Weekly and Voice Media Group. His syndicated celebrity “Q&A column, 10 Questions with Vic,” is a LA Press Club’s National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Award finalist. Gerami is a contributor for qnotes, Montrose Star, DC Life Magazine, Out & About Nashville, Q Virginia, GNI MAG, Windy City Times, WeHo Times, GoWeHo, Los Angeles Blade, Asbarez, California Courier, Desert Daily Guide, Armenian Weekly, GED, The Pride LA, IN Magazine and The Advocate Magazine.