Creating meaningful and selfless works of musical art is the name of the game for Singer/Songwriter, Greg Holden, who creates sparks of light in the dark through compiling the scraps of his heart. Having just released his new single, “On The Run”, Greg opens up his musical range to accept, recollect and optimistically turn the page on the past as he takes the lessons he has learned into brighter days ahead. I caught up with man to discuss the new track, his strong philanthropic bonds, tattoos and more.
Congrats on the recent release of your new track, “On The Run”. As music is subjective, tell us about your intention behind the track and the message that you wanted to convey through this release.
Thank you very much. Well, for this release I simply wanted to come out of the gates with something I loved the feeling of. My previous releases have always tended to be so lyrically/topically heavy, and I’m fine with that, and will continue to do for as long as people listen, but I thought I’d give myself and my listeners a break from the darkness and just put something out that was a little easier on the ear. It’s still a deep apology, to all the people I have hurt or abandoned in the process of traveling, drinking, moving, and following my dreams. But for me, that’s a pretty optimistic concept!
Is there a full-length album release or EP in the works that you can fill us in about?
Honestly, that’s still something I am figuring out. I’ve been locked away in my home studio for the past year, working on my production chops. I have a collection of songs I’m really proud of. Now it’s just about getting over my insecurities and putting that shit out. I should just tell you yes so I have to do it…
You participate in a variety of philanthropic causes and events. Tell us about some organizations and foundations that are close to your heart that we can spread awareness about.
Well, I’ve always felt pretty close to the Valentino Achak Deng Foundation because it was the first charity that I was able to successfully raise some money for or at least awareness for with the use of my music. I wrote a song called “The Lost Boy”, which was inspired by a Dave Eggers novel about the life of a Sudanese refugee called ‘Valentino Achak Deng’. The song reached a lot of people, and through that, I was actually fortunate enough to meet Dave Eggers and Valentino and talk to them about the song, their work, and life in general. It was pretty mind-blowing that that happened actually. I also wrote a song called “Boys In The Street” for some friends of mine that run an organisation called Everyone is Gay that helps the LGBTQ community. They wrote an incredible book called This is a Book for the Parents of Gay Kids, which guides parents in understanding their children rather than alienating or trying to change them.
Let’s talk tattoos. Tell us about some of your favorite personal pieces and the tattoo artists that you have worked with to bring the pieces to life.
Most of my tattoos are from my buddy Dan Santoro at Smith St Tattoo in Brooklyn. I met Dan at a wedding and he told me he was a tattoo artist, so I checked him out and realised he was fucking amazing, so I kept giving him my money. He’s a super decent guy, and a great artist. My favourite one he’s done is probably the pocket watch and rose on my right forearm, or the old ship right next to it. I’ll also never forget calling him freaking out about an hour after he tattooed a sea turtle on my elbow, I thought my arm was going to fall off. #swellbow
You are gearing up to head to Europe for a variety of tour dates which include a few festival dates. What are your thoughts on the differences between crowds in the states vs. overseas?
For the most part, crowds are crowds. But what I’ve noticed is European crowds are slightly more courteous, which I have a love/hate relationship with. On one hand, I appreciate polite crowds that sit and listen, because you at least know you’ve got their attention, but sometimes you’re like, “are they into this or do they hate me?” Whereas the U.S. crowds — particularly in the North-East and the South — are super rowdy, and I usually love that. It’s kind of a party, and you can banter with the crowd, tempting them to heckle, and being from the North of England, I thrive on heckling and abuse. However, on a bad day, if people are talking and shouting, it can have the same effect as silence, in that I convince myself they hate me. What I’ve learned from answering this question is that it sounds like a personal problem.
If you could sit under the table and listen to any two people have a conversation to draw inspiration, who would you choose and why?
That’s an awesome question. I’m going to say David Byrne and Tom Waits. Why? Because it’s David Byrne & Tom Waits! An intellectual, musical genius and a complete balls to the wall badass. I would kill to hear that conversation.
What is your idea of a life of happiness?
That’s a loaded question. I’m still trying to figure out the answer to that one. But if I’m ever feeling like shit, I imagine me and my wife sitting in a restaurant on the west coast of Italy shoving pizza and wine into our faces. I started learning Italian recently, so I can be prepared for that eventuality. Property is cheaper over there so who knows.
Last but certainly not least, any closing messages for your fans?!
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