Holly Brook was born on February 23rd, 1986, and grew up in Mazomanie, Wisconsin, a small town of about 1500 people. She was singing as long as she can remember. One of her earliest memories is of harmonizing on “Happy Birthday” with her mother, Candace, when Holly was only two years old.
At age five, Holly first entered a recording studio to do background vocals on children’s songs. The next year, she was singing with her mother as part of a children’s duo called Generations. Holly released three independent albums with her mother, featuring songs with such whimsical names as “We Are the Colors of the Rainbow” and “Grandma Slid Down the Mountain.”
After being weaned on the music of Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan, Holly started writing her own music around the age of 14. Her attendance at school became erratic and Holly eventually dropped out altogether to pursue music fulltime. Luckily, Holly’s mother was understanding. Meanwhile, Holly had begun sneaking into jazz clubs in Madison, Wisconsin, and learned all she could. After befriending bassist Jeff Eckels, Holly had him help put together her own band, which started playing locally when she was only 15.
There was only so much career advancement to be had in the Midwest. In 2003, Holly made the move to Los Angeles by herself, and had to struggle at first to get established. She slept on friends’ couches, and at one point lived in the back of a drug-addicted rocker’s house in Venice Beach with prostitutes coming and going at all hours. She soon met and connected with writer/producer Jon Ingoldsby, who has worked with Madonna and Elton John and started her on the path to success.
Ingoldsby helped Holly produce a demo that caused her to be noticed within the music industry. Among those who were suitably impressed by her demo was Brad Delson, guitarist for Linkin Park. As a result, in the fall of 2004, Holly was signed to Machine Shop Recordings, Linkin Park’s label under Warner Bros. Work soon began on Holly’s debut album, Like Blood Like Honey, which was finished in August 2005. It was decided to wait until the “time was right” to release it and it wasn’t distributed right away.
Holly, in the meantime, continued building up her experience by performing with other artists. During her time in Los Angeles, she opened for John Oates (of Hall & Oates), British jazzman Jamie Cullum, and one of Holly’s idols, Wisconsin folk singer Willy Porter. Holly also collaborated with Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda on his solo project, Fort Minor, singing on “Where’d You Go” from The Rising Tied. She toured with Fort Minor during this time, too, traveling as far as Australia.
In early 2006, Holly’s songs, such as “Like Blood Like Honey” and “Still Love” were heard on the short-lived Dick Wolf-produced TV drama Conviction (2006). Finally, in June 2006 Holly’s debut album, Like Blood Like Honey, was released with positive reviews. Holly determinedly and happily toured and promoted her new album, despite the long hours, to bring her music to the world — and to not have to hold a real job.