Music hasn’t always been an integral part of Greg Holden’s life, but you’d never know it. "I started [playing guitar] when I was eighteen actually," says Holden, who recently stopped by our N.Y.C. office for a visit and an impressive mini acoustic jam session. But if his musical talent seems natural, Holden contests otherwise. “I didn’t have a musical family or anything like that,” he says. Instead, his introduction to music came from watching one of his friends perform at a bar in his hometown in Lancashire, England. “I saw the way everyone was looking at him, and I was like, I need to figure out how to do that!” he continues. “I just started writing songs immediately and left my hometown. For me it was always my escape. “
Now a Brooklyn, New York native, he’s been busy making a name for himself. His fifth album Chase the Sun came out this March, and he’s already seen a lot of success—his catchy single “Hold on Tight” continues to rise up the Billboard charts. With a tour with Ingrid Michaelson on the horizon, we caught up with him before his busy summer. Here’s an excerpt from our chat:
Your album Chase the Sun recently dropped, how does this sound differ from your earlier stuff? I think the more I do it, the more I figure out what I’m trying to say and what I’m trying to create. So I think my albums have gotten less crap every time. This is the least crap of them all!
What was your inspiration behind your song “Hold on Tight”? That was just me trying to say something positive that might make people feel good. I think we spend a lot of time clinging on to the idea of things that we don’t have and dwelling on mistakes that we made and stuff like that. So for me that was just a way of saying try and live in the moment.
Have you heard your song randomly on the radio? I have! It’s a weird feeling. The first time that it happened I was in Portland or something and it came on the radio, and it’s such a bizarre out of body experience. It’s hard for me to think about me coming more known or anything like that. It’s nice to see people supporting me.
Your song “Boys In the Street” is getting a lot of buzz, too: Yeah, that story is about a son and a father and the father having a difficult time accepting his son’s sexuality. I was asked to write a song by my friends who are in this organization called Everyone Is Gay for a compilation album, so that’s where the inspiration came from.
Many people might not know this, but you co-wrote Phillip Phillip’s song “Home,” how did that help your career? In the industry it helped get my music out there, but in terms of the general public, I don’t think it raised my profile all that much.
Do you ever play “Home”? Yeah I play it! People ask me why I cover it all the time.
You were just on tour with Delta Rae, how was that? It was amazing. We had a lot of fun. Tour is always hard because you make such intense friendships with the people you’re on the road with and then you’ll probably never see them again. The end of tour is like the end of a relationship. It’s so weird.
What’s next? Just constant touring and hoping this single keeps on doing as well as it is doing and continues to rise up the Billboard charts. I’m taking it one day at a time and living in the moment.