Self-proclaimed “idea-ist” Holland Greco loves a romantic dancefloor fantasy and a groovy baseline. An artist who finds many of her inspirations in Top 40 hits and a classic radio sound, Holland is our dream “modern throwback” artist. We spoke with Holland to get an inside look at her music, her “musically omnivorous” tastes and inspirations, and her new single “Flashback.”
“I’ve been doing music for a long time. I guess it’s just sort of a call that you feel in your soul, and then you start building your ability to do it.” Holland remembers singing a lot as a teen, especially when she was home alone “just having visions of using [her] voice and [her] perspective and sharing that with the world.” It was also around this time that she started auditioning for bands. Putting herself out there for everything from rock & roll bands to girl groups, Holland said she was “definitely finding [herself].”
This wasn’t an accident either. Holland was looking to take her love of music to the next level. “I thought, ‘This is how I’m turning this into something professional. This is the path for the rest of my life.’ I wanted to basically meet people who I could be successful with and make music with. Since I’m sort of multi-faceted genre-wise, I just didn’t know what the right fit was gonna be.”
Holland would eventually hit it off with a group of people that would become her first band, and The Peak Show signed to Atlantic Records with Holland as its lead singer. “I think that’s the time when my music career really took off, and [I] kind of got my first big break.”
This first step into being a professional vocalist was just the beginning for Holland. The Peak Show performed in support slots for bands such as Maroon 5, The B-52s, and Black Eyed Peas; and had songs appear in film and television. But eventually, the band would break up and she would step into the solo career she has now. In fact, it is that transition from lead singer to solo artist that Holland is flashing back to in her new single.
“There are kind of cauldrons of ideas kind of bubbling inside, and things that I want to manifest and bring to life. Visions of songs when I’m sitting down to write with a blank canvas, those ideas are flowing through me…That and when we do visual work, for example music videos or photographs or things like that, I love to work with others—or even with myself if I’m shooting myself— [and] create little worlds to be in. I’m a lateral thinker and a problem solver, so when it comes to any problems or administration, I feel like often times I’ll have a good idea for how to solve a problem. Add on from there. I think that’s that wellspring of ideas…”
— Holland on what she means when she calls herself an “idea-ist.”
“‘Flashback’ is really a true story,” Holland shared. When the band broke up, Holland left for New York—”which is hilarious…I went to New York for a change of scenery and almost to like catch my breath, but New York is one of the most active cities in the world”—and ended up spending a lot of time thinking over the changes in her life from the band to the lost relationships that came with it. It’s this heartbreak and reflection that turns into lyrics like “It’s all heaven how we used to be. Can you flashback to me?”
There’s a lot of heartbreak in “Flashback,” but there’s also love in its groovy beat, and the incredible accompaniment of a full band and horn line is a big part of what makes it sound so full and dreamy. “It’s so amazing. I certainly could not have created what we all end up hearing on that record alone,” Holland said of the song’s instrumentation. “[‘Flashback’] is like a combination of a collection of excellent musicians bringing their own skills and feelings to the parts that they’re meant to play, the parts that they’re given the freedom to play…Every part is great. There are a lot of people involved with this recording that make it as beautiful as it is.”
But why a retro sound? “Musically omnivorous,” Holland sees genre play as a big part of how she creates music and part of why “Flashback” has a retro-pop sound. “I like all kinds of things, so I react to tone and music,” she told us. When she hears something or is working on a piece of music, she lets it carry her away to see what happens. This isn’t her first song with a classic sound. Tracks like her recent release “S.E.X.Y.” or her songs “I Found Fun” and “Real Love” also show how Holland brings her musical experiences (and she has listened to A LOT of music) together in an original song.
Holland also cited artists like Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Carol King, and Missy Elliott as her inspirations. “I love Top 40 songs that show craftsmanship, and I think I’m always kind of leaning in that direction and chasing those ideas and hoping to bring the experience that I’ve had with pop music to others, something timeless.”
We asked Holland what she’s most excited for with the song’s release. “I really hope that when people hear [“Flashback”] that they see themselves in it,” she said. “I hope that it means something to them personally. That’s the best part. I hope that they’ll hear it and it’ll catch their attention and that they’ll be emotionally moved. It really is from the heart. It really is my own true story and means something to me, and I also think it can be universal, so I’m hoping that people will share in the emotional resonance of it.”
She also shared that she’s excited for people to see the “Flashback” music video which will be out shortly after the single is released. Holland teased some cool features of the music video including projections of photos she took when she lived in New York and using hourglasses to show the passage of time in the video.
“Flashback” is out Friday, June 17. You can presave it now on Spotify, Apple Music, and other major streaming services.