Extraordinarily, Holly Ebony first played on the legendary Pyramid stage at Glastonbury festival at the tender age of two years old!
This statement refers to her clambering, monkey-like up the wooden exterior of the stages’ original incarnation while her parents’ attention was elsewhere, but that’s merely a detail.
Raised in the Lincolnshire Wolds as a chorister and campfire harmoniser, Holly began writing songs on scraps of paper, bits of card and sometimes the walls of her house at a very young age, devising notation systems to remember melodies and capturing favourite tunes on her yellow Fisher-Price tape recorder.
Music was never treated flippantly in the family household; listening to a great album was a proactive past-time, to be enjoyed through exceptional hi-fi equipment loudly and smokily, with contagious heartfelt participation encouraged during particularly rousing refrains of Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Bonnie Raitt, Frank Zappa, Dire Straits, and Pink Floyd songs among many other classics.
As a crawling babe, she made her favourite known by curling up pressed against the floor speaker anytime Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Little Wing’ poured forth.
It became clear that the child loved to sing and her innocent, bell-like delivery of Madonna’s 80s classic ‘Like a Virgin’ aged 6, elicited mixed emotions of delight and horror from her Granny and wider family.
Fortune’s favour lead Holly to a secondary school with excellent arts provision, and a pedantic music teacher, who spotted her vocal talent and gave it space, discipline and the opportunity to sparkle.
A wider musical community of friends and mentors took her under their wing and guided her onstage at community events and festivals to sing her early compositions with shaking knees and thumping heart, and taught her the art of intuitive harmony around the fire, possibly the greatest gift of human interaction a child could be given.
When she got her own record player at about 13, Holly plucked an Otis Redding vinyl single from her father’s record collection and listened to ‘Dock of The Bay’ on a continuous loop over several days, mesmerised by the warmth of the laidback vocal.
A little too shy to push through to the front, Holly hung out with bands through her later teens, mostly comprised of the less self-conscious boys, and occasionally sang backing vocals. A friend taught her a few chords on a guitar and she had the makings of her own accompaniment, which gradually hatched behind the door of her bedroom at University.
Undertaking her degree at Dartington College of Arts in 2003, brought Holly to the beautiful environs of Dartmoor and she revelled in the inspiration she found there, but it was later when she joined contemporary performing choir, Glorious chorus in 2007 that her distinctive, powerful voice really found its wings and was liberated from her incongruously petite frame through gutsy gospel, soul and blues. Her expansive solo performances over the full-bodied backing of the chorus wowed audiences at Glastonbury Festival, The Isle of White Jazz Festival, Bristol Festival of song and many other venues and events.
A collaboration with Nick Marshall began in 2010, when Holly approached him in his capacity as recording engineer and producer and the two produced her debut E.P. ‘A Memory of Life’ out of his converted grain-store recording studio nestled in a wooded Dartmoor valley.
Marshall brought his multi instrumental talents to the recordings, and there began the germ of their duo act, which they have been bringing to audiences since 2012 to appreciative acclaim.
Holly has beguiled and moved audiences at events such as The Green Gathering, Port Eliot, Acoustica, Dart Music Festival, Totnes Festival and widespread venues.
Holly Ebony is honoured to have had her music graced by wonderful musicians, playing as a band with Nick Marshall on lead and slide guitar, Conrad Singh on Double Bass and Jake Renbourn on percussion.