Louder Than The Music caught up with acclaimed singer/songwriter Holly Starr to talk about her highly-anticipated new album Human, released this week. The album is her first recording in two years and explores God’s faithfulness amidst the complexities of earthly relationships.
Tell us a little bit about this new album of yours 'Human'?
Human. It's what I am, it's what you are. We all go through ups and downs, seasons of great joy and seasons we wish we could erase, right? Writing songs from all of these moments has been the heartbeat behind my music from the very beginning, so Human naturally fit as the title track of this project. If I'm real with you, you might be real with me, and it's in that tender place of vulnerability that relationship happens, where loneliness is cast aside even for a moment and where unity and mutual understanding can be found, regardless of external experience. This is the heartbeat behind Human.
What is your favourite track off the new album?
My favorite song from the project is the title track, “Human.” It speaks to the pressure I tend to put on myself. But I also wrote it for those who subconsciously or consciously live like they have to earn their salvation through doing "good things," being a "good person," "going to church enough," etc. It's just not true. We aren't saved by those things. Jesus died on the cross to give salvation to all who would believe--through faith in Him alone. The production of “Human” is particularly fun as well. It kind of makes me feel unsettled in a good way, reminding me to stop long enough in my day to day life to think about the reason why I do the things I do instead of just doing them out of impulse.
If you could work with any songwriter, who would it be and why?
I had quite an incredible experience co-writing with Matthew Parker and David Thulin for this album. I've written with a lot of people over the years--some have worked well and some haven't. I say this is my favorite project yet for two reasons: First, because the music is so fun. Second, because I thoroughly enjoyed the writing process from start to finish. I can't always say that! So I don't spend a ton of time dreaming about who else I would want to write with, but thinking about finding writers (whoever they are doesn't matter) who I write well with-- who I gel with. That happened for me with this project and I can't wait to write more with these guys!
Do you prefer playing live or working in the studio?
I love playing live! The studio is fun too, but there is nothing quite like getting to see all the behind-the-scenes work come to life in ministry.
How would you describe your style of music and what are your influences?
I would describe my music as relatable pop music. I love writing fun songs with serious content that people can relate to. Ironically, I'm not a heavy music listener. I think I like the silence more sometimes because I'm around so much sound all the time. I do enjoy a good worship album, however. Hillsong, Bethel, etc.
How would you define success in your career?
I feel like I'm succeeding if I'm keeping Jesus the center of my life. Doesn't matter where or what I'm doing - if He is the center of my affections then I'm succeeding. And to be honest, doing that is the hardest part sometimes. It's much easier to stay busy and get caught up in the noise-making.
What is your favourite album of all time?
Right now, it is Steffany Gretzinger's The Undoing. It's a powerful, intimate worship album.
You're stuck on an island, it's hot, you only have enough battery life left to listen to one song on your mp3 player. What track is it?
Probably one of Steffany's songs or a worship song like "Ever Be" by Bethel. If I'm gonna be stuck I might as well listen to something that reminds me I'm not truly stuck anywhere when Jesus is with me!
What does the next year hold for Holly Starr?
This next year will be full of touring! I'll be on tour with Jaci Velasquez in September and October, then a Christmas Tour in December. I’m looking forward to sharing this new music as much as possible.