Breaking Into The Industry: Holly Rey

With a rich musical history behind her, growing up with a music reviewer uncle, Holly Rey has been exposed to a myriad of music genres from an early age. Having signed a publishing deal with Sony ATV at the age of 13, Holly worked in the industry for years trying to find the space she wanted to occupy. In the process, she experimented with many genres and even released an album Strawberry Skies in 2010.

“It took about 10 years for me to find the space I wanted to occupy as an artist. The space where I felt most comfortable in and able to express myself best in and that was through House Music,” the singer shared.

Growing up in Durban, Holly gravitated towards “House culture”. “House music is not just a genre, it is a culture. That’s what I fell in love with and that’s when I started going to Shisa Nyamas,” the singer added. She had experimented with Afro-pop around the age of 16 and has since then been introduced to many producers who have taught her about the industry. Holly expressed her gratitude of not making it overnight, as she now feels prepared by the experiences she has gone through.

As she honed her craft, her musical influences ranged from the greats: Hugh Masekela and Miriam Makeba to crossover artists like Lira and Freshlyground, which is what she always wanted for her own music.

We asked her of musicians on her collabo radar and producers, Dr Duda and Prince Kaybee (whom she has since worked with on his production, ‘Yes You Do’) came out tops. As far as producers go, a very important one to Holly, is Mondli Ngcobo who produced her first ever house song when she dabbled in the genre and also produced ‘Deeper’, which became her biggest song yet, with over 6 million views on Youtube, has gone platinum and won Song of The Year at the 2019 South African Music Awards.

We asked Holly of any accompanying pressure from the success of ‘Deeper’. “Initially, I could not write after ‘Deeper’ but now I aim to make beautiful music which the masses can appreciate. I don’t want my music competing with each other,” she concluded.

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