Holly Brook

Holly Brook Biography

Holly now goes profesionally by the name Skylar Grey.

At a time when most toddlers are speaking their first words, Holly Brook was singing hers - harmonizing on "Happy Birthday" with her mother at the tender age of two. It was an auspicious beginning for this affecting young singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist from Mazomanie, Wisconsin. But it was only the beginning.

At age six, Holly began to perform professionally with her mother, Candace. By 15, she had recorded three independent albums of folk and family music with her mother under the name Generations. With the money earned from gigging, she bought a rebuilt 1913 Baldwin baby grand piano. By the time she reached high school, Holly was sneaking into nightclubs and befriending jazz musicians. She says "the musicianship was absolutely mind-blowing." With the help of a friend, jazz bassist Jeff Eckels, Holly put together her first band and they played their first show at the Concourse Hotel Bar in Madison. Holly was 15.

A move to Los Angeles in 2003 yielded several music-making partners, including Grammy Award-winning producer, Jon Ingoldsby, who has worked with Madonna and Elton John. "Jon and I instantly clicked," Holly says. The two have become writing partners.

Holly is single-minded and steadfast when it comes to her music. Think Fiona Apple if she underwent anger management, or an edgier, darker Sarah MacLachlan. Both women are artists that Brook admires, but her main influence is Joni Mitchell. "I love her poetry and her chords, and her depth," she says. Indeed Holly's own lyrics rely more on abstract images than literal story-telling. Holly also adores Mitchell's willingness to explore musical territory outside the accepted confines of pop music, a trait that Holly shares. Who says a girl who can strum a heartrending ballad on a lap dulcimer can't be a pop star?

In the song "Curious" Holly plaintively sings, "I'm so damn curious to know / And there are too many unanswered questions / that we hold onto" over a stark piano and string arrangement. The song signals Holly's relentless search for answers.

It's not a musical approach one might expect from the first artists signed by hard rock kingpins Linkin Park. The band's guitarist, Brad Delson, loved Holly's demo and offered her a deal with the group's label Machine Shop Recordings, which will release her album LIKE BLOOD LIKE HONEY in early 2006. Now Holly Brook is fulfilling her dream. "Music and performing are what I love," she says. "If I can do that for the rest of my life, I'll be happy."

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