Get To Know: Holly Humberstone
From touring with Lewis Capaldi to performing on Jimmy Kimmel, Holly Humberstone has already achieved so much and she’s only at the beginning of her career! We spoke to her to see what’s up next…
Holly Humberstone’s dark and intense sound pairs effortlessly with her raw and honest lyrics. The 20-year old brilliantly-distorted pop singer has gained over 65 million streams in just a few months, and has since gone onto selling out her first three headline shows and received countless support from industry giants including NME and Billboard.
Haunting and captivating with her sound, there is something quite mesmerising to Holly’s music. Her debut EP Falling Asleep At The Wheel was highly anticipated after performing on Jimmy Kimmel and Glastonbury last year, and it was this Glastonbury performance that led to her being asked to support Lewis Capaldi on tour. She says the EP is like a coming-of-age project for her, with her lyrics documenting subjects including mental health and first loves so openly. For fans of HAIM, Phoebe Bridgers and Lorde, you should definitely check out Holly Humberstone...
1) For those who don’t know about you and your music, tell us a little bit about who you are and where you’re from…
I’m Holly, a singer-songwriter from Grantham, Lincolnshire. Our house is a bit in the middle of nowhere but it was pretty amazing growing up here with my three sisters because there’s so much space to be creative. We were really encouraged by our parents to do art and music, so there was never really a dull moment. I found comfort in music like Damien Rice when I was growing up and I think my music is deeply personal because of that.
2) Describe your sound in three words…
Dark, wonky, intimate.
3) Who inspired you to start a career in music?
I grew up in a really creative household where my parents were always really encouraging for my sisters and I to be creative. They had a sick music taste and we were always listening to something in the car or around the house. I started making little tunes up on the piano and writing songs when I was probably about seven and they were so encouraging so I guess I never really stopped!
4) Who are your biggest musical influences?
I grew up listening to anything and everything from Radiohead to Damien Rice really so I feel like I’ve been influenced by so many genres. Throughout my teenage years I got really into electronic/experimental stuff like Bon Iver and Frank Ocean and I’ve realised that the music I connect to most is the stuff with really personal lyrics. I’m obsessed with artists like Lorde and Phoebe Bridgers just because the lyrics are so deeply intimate and personal and sort of feel like a train of thought.
5) Tell us about the writing and recording process for your new single/album…
Before my EP came out in August it took a long time to write songs and experiment and really discover who I was sonically. I probably started writing specifically for the EP about two years ago but was doing lots of writing sessions and not really connecting with the tunes I was making. I then met a guy called Rob and we just clicked and began writing and creating together and we wrote 'Falling Asleep At The Wheel'. Writing that song was a bit of a lightbulb moment for me and was the first time I remember really knowing who I was within the music I was making. The rest of the writing for the EP seemed to emerge from the same kind of world as 'Falling Asleep At The Wheel'.
6) What can we expect from your live shows?
I think I’d like to keep them pretty intimate and personal. I usually play my sets solo so the songs sound pretty different to how they sound on the records but I honestly really like playing different versions of the tunes. I’m also really looking forward to bringing my Fifth Sister Swap Shop to the shows, which is a system I’ve set up where I can swap my old clothes with someone else’s old item and it saves us both having to buy a brand new item which is pretty cool. The idea of putting on shows has been something that’s really got me through this year, I really just can’t wait to meet the people who have been supporting me and connect with them.
7) What has been your biggest career highlight so far?
Probably getting to play support for Lewis Capaldi in Europe. The shows were on a whole different scale to anything I’d played before and it was of course terrifying but at the same time so exciting. Also I played my sets solo so my manager and I interrailed the whole tour and we got to see so much of Europe and it was such a lovely experience.
8) Have you met anyone and been totally starstruck?
I’ve had a few sessions with people that I really look up to with writing which has been pretty cool. I’ve also been pretty starstruck meeting people like Lewis and a few others but you realise that they’re just human and pretty normal and non scary after a while!
9) What’s on your playlists that people wouldn’t expect?
At the moment I’m quite obsessed with The National. I’m also very into atmospheric 80s synth pop stuff like The Cars and Tears for Fears etc which has inspired lots of my recent writing!
10) When can we see you live?
I’m SO excited to say that I’ve just put a little UK tour on sale for June 2021. I’m going to be playing four London shows at Omeara and then visiting lots of my favourite cities in the UK. I’m not sure when it’ll happen yet because of Covid but the prospect of touring Europe and the US is so exciting to me too!