American singer/songwriter Holander released her new single “Smoke” on July 20th.
The Los Angeles based artist started her career playing with various bands in LA and then revealed herself as a solo artist with the debut single “Satellite” released in 2017.
After reaching over 35k plays on Spotify with the single “Something Real”, the 21 year old singer/songwriter is now offering the electro-pop record entitled “Smoke”, produced by Steve Pagano.
“When you’re overtaken by someone, it’s like smoke in your lungs. I believe when two people love each other, they start to tap in to the universal love— this love that is bigger, and connects us all,” says Holander.
“Smoke” is now available on all major streaming platforms.
My name is Holander: pink eyebrows, pink hair and neon sounds.
What’s your story?
Born and raised in the LA Valley and fed classic rock from a young age. I’ve been in performing, one way or another, for most of my life; musical theatre major in middle school, theatre major in high school, USC social change major. I started a band and was a frontwoman/guitarist with them for a while but then I started falling for electropop. I actually saw Halsey at the Shrine and my sister leaned over to me and said “I know we play instruments, but wouldn’t it be cool to be able to just run around onstage?” And I was just like ‘um, why the fuck not!’ I fell head over heels for electopop and started songwriting and artist-ing under the moniker Holander.
When did you know music was more than just a hobby?
I actually got knee deep in an acting career when I started an indie pop band, Seek, for fun. We played my original music all over LA. I became addicted to writing my own material and showcasing it, a different kind of passion and expression than I had for acting.
I was doing so much work for the band and pouring so much of myself into it. I was scared to take complete ownership of the project— but doing things that scare me is a tendency of mine. I decided to go solo and use my own name. It was a sort of rebellion for me— you either like my music or you don’t, but it’s my music.
At this point I started recording my new electropop songs in a studio. I was still working on my acting, but I became infatuated with music. Acting will always be my first love, and I fully intend to return to it, but I decided that at this point in my life I want to give all of my love and energy to music.
When did you start making music?
I’ve had a music room in my house since I was young— my parents were always playing guitar and singing. I started playing piano at a young age and guitar around 8 years old. I wrote my first original song in 6th grade and I think it was called “Just Believe” (haha!).
At what point did you decide to become an artist?
Fairly recently actually— I kind of never thought I had a good enough voice. And then I was like fuck that, I write kick ass songs and this is what I want to do so I’m gonna do it. I started an indie pop band about 2 years ago and then dropped that and started my solo project “Holander” about 10 months ago. I come from an acting background but I’ve always been quite obsessive about music and writing.
What gave you the confidence to release your original music?
There comes a point where you, the artist, have to like it enough to release it. It was a little bit of that, a little bit of “fuck it” and a little bit of feeling like people could relate to it and feel understood by it.
How would you define Holander, the artist?
Holander is a party girl who has a lot of feelings.
Tell us about your last single "Smoke”. What’s the story behind it? Who wrote/produced it?
“Smoke” was cowritten and produced by Steve Pagano. He’s a genius. We started with the title/concept of “Smoke” which I snagged from a song I had written before that I had a voice memo of on my phone. I liked the song but wanted to write something fresh— and I really liked the idea of smoke filling your lungs. I didn’t want it to be cliche though.
I started with this moment I had with my boyfriend at the time: we were on a balcony, overlooking the city lights in downtown LA, and we were with some friends passing a joint in a circle. When it got to him, he leaned over and blew the smoke into my mouth. It was a cool moment that sticks out in my mind.
I used that analogy and made up the phrase “smoking me out” which actually means giving someone weed! But I was using it like “blowing smoke in my mouth.” The song morphed into an anthem about young love— another thing at the time was that I wasn’t opening myself up to love. I was scared to let go for fear of being hurt. And at one point, I just gave in. And I think it’s always better to give in. It’s cliche or whatever, but I think we regret the things we don’t do/don’t experience vs the things we do. That’s where I got the line “tried to play it cool… I think I’ve had enough.”
What message do you want to deliver through your music?
I write from a place of power; my music helps me manifest self-empowerment. Now, more than ever, people could use a soundtrack of strength. I want to give people that. I want people to listen to my music, regardless of their situation, and feel the confidence to do whatever they want to do, and to trust their heart when it comes to difficult decisions.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
My life. Other people’s lives. Other artists’ music.
I’ve become a bit obsessed with writing about nighttime and parties because I think people act very differently than during the day. They’re like animals. They’re sex crazed or depressed or doing drugs or acting stupid. I really like writing about the emotions and motivations underneath all of that, while having the music be something that could be played at a party like that.
How would you define pop music?
Pop gets a lot of flack for being ‘mainstream,’ ‘fake,’ or ’not real.’ I get it. Pop is familiar, it’s ear candy, it’s made to please. But it’s still real. There are so many artists out there who are pop musicians who put just as much emotion and love into their music as obscure bands or classic artists. It’s the sugar coated pill genre. Yes, it’s sweet to go down but at its core, it can still have a message. It still matters. It’s fans still matter.
What advices would you give to anyone who’d like to work in the music industry?
One of the first pieces of advice that I got entering into the industry is one that I absolutely stick by. I remember the moment very clearly sipping Philz coffee with my now “music big sister” Disco Shrine said to me “meet everyone.”
That’s when everything started taking off. I began going to shows, DMing artists for coffee, getting involved. You can learn something from everyone. Plus, those are the people who are going to help you out, and pick you up when you’re down. They’re your friends, and other musicians are the people who get musicians the most. I threw out the term “networking” a long time ago— I meet people to hear their stories. The more people you know, the more worldly you are, and the more opportunities tend to appear.
What does it mean to be an artist?
Artists are people who create music to give a voice to something; whether that’s a voice for the lonely summer nights exhaling your ex into the humid air or a voice for womxn to feel empowered and like the beings of agency they are.
What do you like the most about living in Los Angeles?
I love how everyone you meet is doing something really interesting. Everybody has a cool story; it’s a city of so many cultures and so many passions that it’s like an electric hub of creativity and energy.
In your opinion, what would make the world a better place?
Making an effort to understand differences. A super small scale example is that I started learning Russian from my ex-boyfriend (it feels funny to mention Russian now with all of the stuff going on in this country lol!) about two years ago and it opened up a whole new world to me. I actually understand the accent Russians have when they speak English— they don’t have articles like “a” or “the” so the phrase “make me sandwich” actually makes perfect sense in Russian. How can you make fun of the accent when you know something like that?! PLUS they are speaking a second language! What are you doing?! Pay attention, listen, don’t fucking judge because what the fuck do you know.
Any upcoming project?
I’ve got a couple releases in the works and some shows lined up, definitely keep an eye on my announcements. Also shhhhh but we’ve got a “Smoke” music video coming soon so keep your eyes peeled and SHHHH!
What’s your purpose?
I hope you let go of a little bit of fear when you listen to my songs. I hope you have a “fuck it” moment and kiss that person you wanna kiss or do that thing you were scared to do.
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