Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Soul and Sound Series | Holly.

Holly Terrens is a singer, songwriter and pianist from the Gold Coast. When I first met Holly for this shoot, I got along with her instantly. Her friendly, upbeat manner made our afternoon incredibly enjoyable and I found myself talking a lot more than shooting. Despite being softly spoken, she was totally at ease as we exchanged stories, her positive demeanour contagious, her manner sincere.

It's no surprise that Holly feels most at home telling her stories through song. With music as her true voice, she wants to keep her songs honest to herself and her personal story—integrity in her work is something Holly holds high.

I, like Holly, believe that your emotions and personal experience are the best resource for creative inspiration, and that the best (and most fulfilling) work will have come from somewhere that really tugged at the heartstrings. As you grow and evolve as a person, your work changes with you, reflecting your present desires and fears, revealing all that is buried beneath. Holly writes:

Music is part of my life journey which means it always changes. Sometimes, it is an escape—if I'm sad or lonely I reach for my piano to write quietly and alone. Other times it is social, whether that be playing folk music on my flute with other acoustic musicians at a party or dancing with friends to loud music at a bar. I feel like being a musician is the reason I am on Earth. It is my purpose, so I can't run away from that. 

But Holly's journey towards music wasn't always so definite. Quite contrary to her current life philosophies, Holly originally started playing the flute to try and fit in—not at all because she was drawn to the instrument to begin with.

...I started playing the flute when I was a kid for all the wrong reasons. I wanted to fit in with some girls that also played. It backfired because I ended up loving to play and practicing so much that I quickly became first flute in the school band. This didn't make me so popular.  
It was while I was learning to play the flute when I realized music was my passion. I used to practice for hours, before school and after school. I was only really listening to classical music at this time, it wasn't until I was a couple of years older that I really started listening to mainstream music and writing songs myself. And with the piano, it was simply that I had access to one at the good family friend's house who used to look after me, so I taught myself. These instruments chose me, not the other way around!

Since discovering her hidden penchant for music, Holly has never looked back. It's been a journey of exploration and new discoveries from that point on, expanding her musical palate in order to learn and be inspired. Whilst others might seek inspiration from the creative styles of people working in a similar style or genre, Holly likes to remain open-minded, and doesn't want to let just one thing define her or influence her style:

I don't feel defined by the music I listen to, especially because my tastes in music are so eclectic. I mean, at the moment, I'm listening to a lot of lyrical/rap music because I want to expand my lyric writing skills and am feeling inspired to do so. 
Lately I'm becoming more interested in layering of sounds; I want to experiment and try new things and incorporate my flute playing into my live show.   

Musical, creative or not, we can all take a cue from Holly. Self-discovery involves far more external exploration than meets the eye: we need adventures and new things; stimuli unique to anything we have experienced before, in order to become more learned and become a better version of ourselves. Music is one such stimulus—it is one of the most diverse, vibrant and creative parts of our everyday life. It enriches our lives by hearing it, but it is equally as strong in giving us a voice and expressing that which is typically inexpressible.

A lot of people chase happiness, but I see the world as a struggle for freedom—and music for me has always provided that freedom of speech and emotion, a way to articulate exactly how I'm feeling while at the same time kind of hiding behind my piano.  

For the third and final post (for now) for this series, return to the blog next week or like my Facebook page for updates.

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