Holly Walker

by Nathalie Olah

You Know I Live For Your Letters
There’s muscle in the music of Holly Walker, delivered through controlled vocals accented by occasional falsettos; dignity and poise, broken by moments of uncontainable emotion made more evocative by their disparity. Piano chords, played by Walker and gliding one to the other, temper the emotion of this voice—in the style of ’30s jazz—while artful synths bring the drama.

“During my first year at university someone approached me and said I was ‘the singing girl.’” She laughs. “I was always singing, apparently, which I didn’t realize wasn’t normal. I come from a singing family, you see.” Dinnertime, weekends, car journeys, and Christmas: The Walker family was singing. That said, these experiences haven’t made performing live any easier for Walker.

While she admits that selling out Wembley isn’t necessarily one of her goals, Walker stays true to the open mic circle in London—a world she attributes to helping shape her musical vision and reinforce her determination. “It still terrifies me, those few moments before you’re about to sing a new song for the first time and you have no idea how the audience will respond–[that’s] the most frightening thing in the world.”

Of course it is always with unanimous praise that audiences receive her, and it isn’t difficult to see why. Music aside, Walker’s looks are striking—eyes of a Byzantine empress, regal cheekbones—and she resonates a palpable warmth. The Internet has given rise to many self-publicizing artists for whom image is everything, but Walker keeps it simple, throwing on a thrifted sheepskin coat and leather loafers.

Walker notes that she feels comfortable roaming the streets of London. “Especially in the early evening in autumn,” she adds, “when the light is best.” Perhaps one could accuse Walker of being a dreamer, and that might explain why her musical offerings to the world have been so infrequent. While she is working on her debut album—due for release later this year—Walker is keen to not let outside pressures affect her songwriting process.

“I like to evoke feelings,” she explains. “I’ll usually start with a phrase, to which I’ll add other phrases, which begin to tell stories or to explain how I’m feeling at any given time. The audience is obviously important to me, but I’m creating for the sake of articulating my own feelings.” This becomes, in effect, a selfless and beautiful catharsis. Walker draws on every part of her existence as a fiercely intelligent woman living life in all its emotional guises, and articulating it in the only way she knows how: through music.

 

 

Photographer: Franck Sauvaire at francksauvaire.com. Stylist: Maria Serra. Hair: Amiee Hershan at caren.co.uk, London. Makeup: Lyz Marsden at caren.co.uk, London.