I looked at this and all I could get excited about what Jamie xx! AMAZING!
Also, I think I had the opportunity to see TV On The Radio and The Kills at CHBP a couple years ago, but great to hear that they’ll be back again.
I looked at this and all I could get excited about what Jamie xx! AMAZING!
Also, I think I had the opportunity to see TV On The Radio and The Kills at CHBP a couple years ago, but great to hear that they’ll be back again.
It pains me to have to miss Capitol Hill Block Party this year – the first in many years! It used to be the event that I looked forward to the most every summer not only because it was just so much fun, but because it took place in my neighborhood. I’m missing it this year (for a while I thought I was actually going to fly back for it) and while I’m disappointed I won’t be there, I know that the festival won’t disappoint. They’ve got such a great lineup and I wish I were there! My friend from back home, Lucas, sent this photo over to me last week from the Girl Talk set last summer on a flier promoting Capitol Hill Block Party.
We recently released the partial lineup for this year’s Capitol Hill Block Party featuring the headliners, but earlier this week the full lineup was announced and we’re still just as excited about the whole event.
A$AP Rocky // Spoon // Chromeo // Matt and Kim // The War on Drugs // ODESZA // Budos Band // A$AP Ferg // Dum Dum Girls // RAC // Beat Connection // The Julie Ruin // Star Slinger // Sol // Robert Delong // Tanlines // xxyyxx // Man or Astro-man? // Angel Olsen // Poolside // EMA // Cymbals // Slow Magic // Small Black // HOLYCHILD // Shy Girls // Hundred Waters // Pillar Point // Raz Simone // Iska Dhaaf // The Chain Gang of 1974 // Wild Ones // Kithkin // Cataldo // Weed // Special Explosion // Childbirth // Katie Kate // Tangerine // Sandrider // Otieno Terry // Lemolo // Natasha Kimeto // Pollens // Ayron Jones & The Way // Constant Lovers // Shaprece // Gaytheist // Country Lips // Fox and the Law // Ricky and Mark // Dub Thompson // Audacity // Manatee Commune // Hand of the Hills // Tennis Pro // Dude York // Tom Eddy // Wimps // Pony Time // The Pharmacy // Vox Mod // Deadkill // Eternal Bad // Trash Fire // Grave Babies // Cabana // Tacos! // MonogamyParty // Theories // Sex Blister // Great Goddamn // Bad Motivators // The Beach Boy // Sashay // Blood Drugs // Power Bottom // Wolfgang Fuck // So Pitted // Stickers // Haunted Horses // The Dip // Paralyzer // Murmurs
Whoo! Those in bold are the acts I recommend checking out if you have the time!
When I learned that the partial lineup would be released this morning, I had my laptop in… lap at 8:55 AM ready to go and not willing to miss a thing. The partial lineup isn’t the entirety, but it’s enough to hold us over and give us a tease of what’s to come. By the looks of it, if these are the names they are releasing now, then the rest of the lineup will surely not disappoint. I saw both Chromeo and Matt and Kim at the former Street Scene San Diego Festival years ago and have been itching to catch a performance of theirs ever since. I also was able to catch Beat Connection at Bumbershoot this year as a last minute filler to their lineup and am so excited about all of their new material.
Not bad Capitol Hill… but don’t make us wait too much longer for the rest. We’ll be waiting.
Wowowow. What a year it has been for Yow Yow!
I’m not all that sad to see 2013 go because I am so looking forward to what 2014 has in store for us. 2013 was a big transition year for Yow Yow! Postings became a little bit more consistent because I was no longer in school and it started to become predictable that I would just log on right after work. It’s nice to be able to have a set schedule to be honest. When I was in school, I would post any free moment I had, which was great because maybe sometimes I would be inclined to write a post about something because it was convenient. However, I appreciate now, that I get to wait until the end of the day to sort out my thoughts and to spend some time thinking a little bit more about what I am writing. Yow Yow! has turned 5-years old! It’s hard to believe that this blog has been with me for that long and that some of you have watched me transition, grow, and hopefully write better content in that time. Thank you x 23984298 to everyone who has supported the blog during this time. If I didn’t have that, I may not still be writing today. We know for sure though that Jennie and Ashley have at least helped me keep Wedding Mondays alive.
Stats from 2012 will be on the left and italicized while stats from 2013 will be right and bold.
1,130,911 total visits to Yow Yow! – – – – – – – – – – – 1,294,886 total visits to Yow Yow!
*In just 2013, there were 163,975 visits to Yow Yow!
7,067 Posts, 2,187 Comments 10,229 Tags – – – – – 9,167 Posts 3,152 Comments 12,122Tags (cumulative)
Top Post of 2013 – “Hipster Disney Princesses In Real Life” – 15,726 views (written in 2012)
Top Post Written in 2013 – “Meet: Hollis Wong-Wear” – 2,071 views
Busiest Month in Terms of Views – October 2012 (49,821 views) – – – – – January 2013 (24,905 views)
Highest Average Visits Per Day – October 2012 (1,607 views) – – – – – – January 2013 (803 views)
*Busiest Day – October 5, 2010 (4,239 views)
Credits + References
“Women Who Are Making It” Series:
Top Referring Sites in 2013 Were:
Most of My Visitors Came From:
Music Festivals Covered:
*We started a new series on Fridays called “Take Me There” and “Truth and Words” Sundays
*We ended the series “Thought Catalog Roundup.”
*New graphics and headers by Leanna Robb! [Facebook, Twitter, Blog]
* We made a Facebook page! Like us.
*We packed up and moved to the Bay area! [Seattle, forever <3 – I promise]
*Veronica became an official part of Yow Yow!
*We received our very first press passes for Yow Yow!
*We started “Conversations From 20-Somethings.”
*We hit 1,000+ subscribers!
*We followed-up with some of our previous guest writers from a year ago:
*We made some videos! Like this unveiling video below:
and one last hoo-rah with Space Girl
*We had a memorable Twitter interaction:
Favorite Style Icon: Alexa Chung
This should really come as no surprise. Since Alexa Chung came into my life, I have always been a fan of her outfit choices. I noticed last year, I selected Taylor Swift, but really – Alexa blew her and everyone else out of the water in 2013. With her new book that we are dying to read and collections of hers popping up all over the place, we are looking forward to what she’ll be bringing to the table in 2014.
Runner up: Kiernan Shipka
Out of all of the photos that I have seen so far of Capitol Hill Block Party this year, this one is definitely my favorite! This was the crowd of thousands during Girl Talk’s Friday evening performance. From the stage, you can probably see about 50ft in front of you, but this is massive. I love this festival.
It has been quite the weekend celebrating Capitol Hill Block Party ’13 this year, but I don’t think I would have wanted it any other way! Friday was completely sold out by about 6PM, but that’s no surprise considering that Dillon Francis, STRFKR, and Girl Talk being the major players of the night. I remember standing in line for my press pass that night when a young bro decided to swoop in front of me to ask the person behind the counter if there were “seriously no tickets left?” Um… yeah, that’s what sold out means. It amazes me that people still think it’s like some sort of a joke and that the girl behind the counter was magically going to say, “JUST KIDDING! I’ve got some extra tickets for you right here!”
Not real life bros.
On Friday night, I was able to check out the three popular main stage acts listed above and had a fantastic time with my friends! Earlier that week, Hannah and I debated as to whether or not we would try to get on stage for Girl Talk again after our stint at Showbox Sodo several years back, but by Friday – we had officially decided. Our game faces were on. My Keds were tied. And I was ready for just about anything.
Challenge accepted. Mission accomplished. Round two did, indeed, happen and it was so much better the second time around only because I was less dehydrated and knew exactly what to expect. I really couldn’t have asked for a better night.
We had an absolute blast dancing along to STRFKR Friday night and loved their costumes! Was this a shoutout to Space Girl? Probably not, but I do like the fact that we both own the same helmet.
After an exciting Friday night, I was relieved to find that Saturday had calmed down a bit. The two acts that I had wanted to see were The Flavr Blue – the group of our Yow Yow interviewee, Hollis, and Pickwick – a band that I have previously booked for! Because of my ties to both groups, Saturday was more personal for me and I wasn’t going to end the night without seeing the both of them.
Though I’ve listened to The Flavr Blue many times before, I had never actually seen them live and after witnessing their performance – they were probably my favorite from the entire weekend. Everyone in the audience was engaged and energized with their enlarged glow sticks and the group made sure they did their part on involving the crowd. Hollis blew me away. Not only is she incredibly gorgeous and owning with her stage presence, she is also super talented. I think for someone that has collaborated with Macklemore, it can be easy to ride on the coattails of another artist, but Hollis has dispersed her attention evenly to all of her projects no matter how big or small the recognition for them is.
Pickwick will always be a band that is near and dear to my heart. It was amazing to see them work their way up from festival to festival and then to taking the Main Stage! That is such a huge accomplishment for the group – for any group. With their Seattle fan base behind them and probably a few others, Pickwick was in good company yesterday evening. They played songs from their latest album and had everyone on their feet bobbing along to the songs and singing. Our dreamboat of a frontman Galen even referenced to the fact that Pickwick has been named a Seattle hipster band, but it didn’t seem like they minded. With songs that were versatile for just about anyone, Pickwick put on a solid show and I was pretty happy with ending my night with them.
Unfortunately, I was unable to make it to Sunday’s Capitol Hill Block Party, but I don’t think I would have survived if I did. I certainly don’t have the stamina that I used to in attending all three days of a festival! It was another great year, but as always, the music festival has taught me a few things that I thought I would share with you:
Traffic is about to be a hot mess tonight – and the parking? Even worse, I’m sure. To avoid any incidents involving drinking and driving or the stress of finding parking on the hill tonight for the music festival, Uber is teaming up with Fiat of Kirkland to provide free rides to AND from the Block Party. Have we ever heard of such a thing? The only concern would be how many people will be using the service all weekend, but if you’re lucky to be selecting a ride at the right time, then why wouldn’t you take it?
To read up on the full details of how you can snag a free right all weekend long, click here.
Trails and Ways – 3:15-3:45PM – Neumos
I think I fell in love with Trails and Ways last year because they reminded me so much of one of my favorite bands here in Seattle. Their upbeat sounds and catchy tunes are enough to make anyone like them. Even though I started listening to them last year, I’ve always been interested in seeing them live and now …I was going to say that I get to, but unfortunately, I have to miss this set due to another commitment. Worst. News. Ever. However, Sunday is always one of my favorite days because it’s a great end to the festival, but also everyone is just winding down. The high schoolers are burnt out from the weekend and everyone can just relax. We’ll see you there.
Hey Marseilles – 3:45-4:30PM – Main Stage
This local band from Seattle has come such a long way! I am so lucky to have been able to work alongside their lead singer Matt Bishop and am even more proud to see him and his band thriving right now. Even though they’ve played in Seattle more than a few times, I have never had the chance to see them live! Good for them for being selected to perform on the main stage though. Their latest album, “Lines We Trace” is one of my favorites from the year and as we all know, the real thing in person is always 10x better.
Cults – 5:00-5:45PM – Main Stage
Seeing Cults two years ago was one of my favorite moments from the Capitol Hill Block Party. I had the chance to see them up front (which I never do anymore) with my two friends Max and Mathew who ended up surprising me with their autographs after the show. It was such a treat and a memory (like all my memories from this fest) that I’ll always hold near and dear to my heart especially because I also had a chance to review them back then. The members of this band seem like such a sweet bunch of people and I am thrilled to hear their new album Static when it is released this fall. Two years ago, I watched them inside of Neumos and I am excited that this time around they’ll be playing for the masses on the Main Stage! UPGRADE!
The Flaming Lips – 8:15-10 – Main Stage
I have never seen The Flaming Lips live, but I’ve heard that they put on quite a show. Kevin says that we can’t miss it so I guess we’re going!
The Flavr Blue – 9-9:45PM – Neumos
Sorry y’all I dropped the ball yesterday on posting this preview post as we were with Dry Soda on Tuesday evening! As some of you know, I conducted an interview earlier this month with Hollis Wong-Wear and her group The Flavr Blue will be performing. They’ve been hard at work producing new tracks – one of which was a Song of the Day this week – but we can only imagine that the performance will be 10x better. Hollis is a talented young woman who has had many projects under her belt. This is a huge performance for the group and will transition well for them as they hit the stage at Bumbershoot over Labor Day Weekend.
Wild Cub – 9:45-10:30PM – Vera Stage
I’m not sure when or how I stumbled upon Wild Cub, but I found them on my Spotify playlist the other day and have been listening to them on rotation with all of my other tracks. If you’re looking for the soundtrack to your summer, Wild Cub is the answer. Their tracks are easy to listen to, catchy, and will have the audience bobbing their heads along to the beat. The track I’ve featured above is just a sample to get you started, but I’m confident that by the end of their set Saturday, you’ll be a fan.
Pickwick – 10:30-12AM – Main Stage
It is a proud moment when you can see a local band that you’ve previously booked make it to the Main Stage of a music festival. I’ve enjoyed listening to Pickwick since I learned about them and with the release of their album “Can’t Talk Medicine” earlier this year and their local fan base, it makes complete sense to have them close out Saturday night at Block Party. Seeing them perform live for the first time at Bumbershoot was an experience I’ll never forget and booking them at the music festival that I helped organize and hearing my own mother tell me she was a converted fan meant some serious stuff. Pickwick is truly a Seattle “Hipster” band (catch the Mariners reference?) and a band with a sound that can be enjoyed by everyone.
The one event that I look forward to every summer is Capitol Hill Block Party! Having attended since high school and all throughout college, this music festival has sort of defined my life in the neighborhood and growing up there for four years. This year, more than ever, is an important one. When I first attended the festival, I was still a little high school student that couldn’t wait to see Girl Talk and Vampire Weekend and now it feels like we’re coming around full circle because Girl Talk is back for round two. This year is also the first time that Yow Yow! has its own press pass. In years prior, I’ve always had one for other publications that I’ve written for, but it means so much more to have Yow Yow! recognized. So to prepare for the big event, we’re having preview posts for each day and which acts you should be seeing!
Telekinesis – 5:15-6PM – Main Stage
When I first discovered their single, “Please Ask For Help” a couple years ago, I must have listened to it on repeat for an entire season. My music tastes have vastly changed over the years, but Telekinesis was kind of a throwback to my indie rock days. It’s funny because when you look at a band name like that, you’re expecting something a little bit psychedelic, but that just isn’t the case with this band. I am so very excited to be seeing them this Friday and while I am currently unfamiliar with the rest of their albums, I feel like knowing that they have one single that I love is a pretty good sign.
This year, our series of “Women That Are Making It” is something that I am most proud of because we are featuring strong, ambitious ladies that are running the world with their wit, talents, and knowledge. When I first heard Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ latest track “White Walls” on the radio for the first time, I had to know – who was that girl singing the catchy hook? After doing some digging, I quickly found out that not only was Hollis Wong-Wear living in Seattle, but she was also an alumni of Seattle University who was a senior when I was just a freshman! From that point on, there was no question. We needed to get Hollis on Yow Yow!
Q: I heard that you first got started in music and the arts by writing poetry. How did this come about for you and what was your inspiration behind it?
Hollis: Literature and reading have always been central to my life. I started reading at a freakishly early age and was always the girl that was posted up at the library after school. The librarian in the children’s section at the Larkspur Library by my elementary school was my homie; she saved the best and latest books for me to check out first and tear through. I was the first one in the county to check out Walk Two Moons when I was in 2nd grade, an accomplishment I have clearly not forgotten! Because I honestly felt a closer affinity to books and reading than I did to most of my peers, I have always identified as a writer first and foremost. The necessary solitude of a writer mirrored the isolation I felt as a kid.
I grew up in the Bay Area and my life was fundamentally changed by an organization called Youth Speaks, which organized poetry slams and spoken word performances and showcased immensely powerful young poets and famous poets on the same stage. It ignited me. I felt empowered to write my own story and perform it in a raw way – I had always been theatrical. I left the theater behind to pursue performing my own words, and because of it, grew into a performer and writer who saw community and social justice as my catalysts and centers. Performing spoken word poetry as a young person is the foundation of my identity and work as a writer.
Q: From poetry, how did that lead you into music? Is this the direction you always thought you would head in? Did you have any other career aspirations that you saw for yourself?
Hollis: I sang a lot in choirs growing up and have always loved music, but didn’t feel like I had a true talent for it. My mom attempted to cultivate me as a pianist and failed miserably; I didn’t have the passion or the discipline to be anything better than a competent beginner.
I only started doing my own music when a girl I had met through Youth Speaks in Seattle, Madeleine Clifford, and I became fast friends, bonded by our shared biracial experience, love of hip hop, and ferocious politics. We looked around and saw an absence of women like us making music we wanted to listen to. So we decided to do it ourselves. We parlayed our poetry into rap fluidly, and performed as Canary Sing for five years. We were bold, political, lyrically deft and a lot of fun. Performing with my best friend made the plunge into music much more manageable as we learned how to make music and navigate the music scene together. Both of us are unsure of whether we would have ever made that leap without our friendship to enable it.
I still have tons of other career aspirations that I still entertain: professor, novelist, education policy specialist, music video producer, public radio producer… I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to be, but I knew I wanted to be creative and make a difference. I still hope that, even as I continue to place more and more of my eggs in the music basket.
Q: You graduated from Seattle University when I was just a freshman. Being in a music-centered city like Seattle and even more so a neighborhood like Capitol Hill, did that help your involvement with music at all? Did you spend your weekends frequenting Neumos or the Showbox? On a typically weekend at college, where would we have found you?
Hollis: Going to school straddled between Capitol Hill and the Central District was a huge part of my education – learning the history and the culture and the tension of Seattle, growing a rich network of artists and community members, and being in an urban environment. I went to see hip-hop shows at Neumos and Chop Suey regularly, and wrote in writing circles and read at open mics at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center. I was a serious student during college so you could find me in the library quite frequently, but I was also always off campus: freestyling in the back seat of a friend’s car driving through Lake City or on Maddy’s back porch in the Central District; eating late night treats in the International District; studying at cafes on the Ave.
Q: You’re producing music videos for Macklemore, running operations for Blue Scholars, and at the same time are recording music, yourself. What does a typical day look like for you?
Hollis: There’s no such thing as a typical day for me! I am a nomad. I typically wake up at 9 AM and start immediately with e-mails, then will go off to do a variety of things: meetings, recording sessions, work sessions, poetry meet-ups. I also tutor high school students for SAT/ACT test prep and general enrichment, so there’s some of those sessions sprinkled in there. I’m anywhere from Beacon Hill to Capitol Hill to Greenlake to West Seattle. Over the last couple of months, I have made sure that I am in the studio working both on my solo material and The Flavr Blue’s new music every week for a significant amount of time.
Q: How did you get hooked up with Macklemore and the Blue Scholars?
Hollis: I met Blue Scholars through an Isangmahal poetry open mic where Geo and I were the featured performers. I was so nervous; I knew every syllable of their self-titled LP and was hugely inspired by their music. Geo was hella nice and I felt so cool that he remembered who I was a week later when they headlined Quadstock. We ended up hanging out two summers later in New York City and I was friends with Geo and Saba ever since. When they changed up their management to handle it themselves, they hired me to do coordination and communications, which allowed me to quit my non-profit communications job and essentially freelance full-time. It’s been 3 years since that happened.
I met Macklemore through my friend Gabriel Teodros and Khingz, who were huge early supporters of Canary Sing. Canary Sing actually opened for Macklemore at a show at Chop Suey in 2007 or 2008 (we’d then open for him again at Showbox in 2011). But I didn’t really get to know him until he, Ryan Lewis, Zia Mohajerjasbi and I worked tirelessly for months on the “WING$” song and video. It was such a huge process and learning experience for all of us, and I became really close with all of the guys through that. It was great in particular to grow a friendship and a creative relationship with Ben, who I consider one of my closest friends.
Q: At 25, not many people can say that they’ve performed on stage with mainstream acts like Macklemore and Ryan Lewis in front of thousands? What is that like? Is it something that felt natural to you or did it take some getting used to?
Hollis: I feel grateful that in my young life as a performer I’ve gotten to perform on some pretty impressive stages that have made it so that performing, say, on the main stage of the Gorge for Sasquatch isn’t a harrowing experience. At 19, Maddy and I performed at the Apollo Theater in Harlem for Brave New Voices, the national youth poetry slam; we performed in front of over a thousand opening for Saul Williams two years later. Performance has always felt natural to me, and more than anything, it’s confidence and comfort on-stage that makes a performance truly great. As long as I know exactly what I’m doing on stage, I feel good. If anything, I need to combat my overly analytical, totally lucid mind, and appreciate and take in the experience that so many performers wish they had. It’s a crazy lucky thing that I’ve been able to perform on the stages that I have and hopefully will continue to in the future.
Q: Tell us about The Flavr Blue. How did you guys get together? How long have you been performing with each other? This summer, fans can catch you at Capitol Hill Block Party and Bumbershoot. How does it feel to be performing at two of Seattle’s major music festivals?
Hollis: The Flavr Blue was originally a duo—my bandmates Lace and Parker—and they invited me into the studio to sing on the last song of their debut EP. The studio happens to be in the house where my boyfriend lives, so I was frequently on the couch right outside. We made that song, “In My Dream,” and suddenly the debut EP of a duo became the first half of a debut LP from a trio. Right away there was a natural chemistry between the three of us: they were heavy into production and experimenting with vocals, and I was interested in writing solid, fun pop music after having recorded hip-hop and acoustic R&B for years. It was a musical departure for all of us, and we realized that the three of us had a great synergy to make The Flavr Blue a thing. That was two years ago. And we’re still growing and learning so much.
It feels like a great accomplishment and a huge challenge to perform at Block Party and Bumbershoot. It’s my first time performing on music stages at both festivals, and they’re the big ones for local bands: Neumos stage and Fischer Green. We are determined to put on a spectacular show and it’s definitely pushing the limits of what we’ve done in the past. I’ve learned a lot about live show production in the last half-year and look forward to growing the experience of The Flavr Blue as more performance opportunities emerge.
Q: Should the audience expect any surprises from your set at all?
Hollis: We’re performing four completely new songs with surprising instrumentation, and we’re working on a really stunning visual show. Hopefully it all translates! We’ve felt so grateful for the support we’ve received thus far.
Q: I hear you are originally from the Bay Area. San Francisco is becoming a fast favorite for me after Seattle of course. Can you let us in on some of your favorite spots?
Hollis: Oh man! Too many awesome places in the Bay Area; hard to say what my favorite spots are. I’d say one of the most underrated neighborhoods and one that shaped my teenage years was the inner Richmond and Clement Street. Burma Superstar, Genki crepes, Green Apple Books, and King of Thai Noodle II were all regular haunts of mine. My favorite venue in the Bay is probably the New Parish in Oakland.
Q: How does your family feel about the career path? Are you all a musically talented bunch as well?
Hollis: My family is very supportive of now, although it was definitely an adjustment for my parents during college that their academically motivated, for-sure-headed-for-grad-school daughter was making hip-hop music. My mom in particular has always wanted for me to go to grad school and be educated and successful, but over the last year both of my parents have recognized that the work I’m doing is groundwork for a veritable career; that I’m not a drugged up deadbeat just because I’m pursuing music as a vocation. It was a gratifying moment to invite them to see me perform with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis at the Fillmore in SF, then invite them again two weeks later while I was tour managing the Blue Scholars for their winter tour.
We are not a particularly musical family honestly. I’m the only person in my immediate and extended family on both sides that’s pursuing music as a career.
Q: You mentioned to me that you are currently based in Seattle (since you’re not touring) what are you most looking forward to this summer in the city?
Hollis: Sun and work! I am so busy. But this nice weather has been really great and allowed me to relax in between tasks much better :) It will be really cool to be at Seattle’s two biggest festivals as a performer and a fan.
Q: 2013 has been an incredible year for you and we’re only halfway done! If there is one accomplishment that you are most proud of so far, what has it been?
Hollis: Thanks so much. It’s hard to pinpoint. My bandmates frequently make fun of me for being “unimpressed” and “uninterested” while I move through my life. Sometimes I think I overcompensate for the potentially overwhelming amount of things going on by being super level-headed and not getting particularly excited about what’s going on in my sphere. But weird things will pop out at me sometimes. Like when I saw that the Billboard Awards had nominated “Thrift Shop” as a video of the year, and I was like… “I produced that! Holy shit!” Or when I was going on about how intense and stressful my summer was going to be, a friend of mine said, “So, you’re basically performing in every major music festival in the Seattle region this summer.” And I was like, “Oh shit. Yes. This is basically my dream come true I think.”
I’m actually extremely proud that “Same Love” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring my friend Mary Lambert is on the verge of going platinum and has become a watermark for the year of progress on gay rights that we’ve had. It was a gorgeous union for me of my musical spheres and my poetic past, as I met Mary as a youth poet in Youth Speaks and was able to introduce her for her feature on that song. I am immensely gratified by that collaboration and the fact that a young queer musician and spoken word artist whose work has touched me greatly has broken into the mainstream. So dope.
Q: Hollis, this year on Yow Yow! we are focusing on the life of a 20-something and being a recent post grad transitioning out of college. What advice do you have for young adults our age and moving into the adult world? /// In a city like Seattle, teenagers are always trying to break into the music industry whether it is on the performing or the booking side. I started booking when I was still in high school for the Kirkland Teen Center and I wouldn’t have gotten there if it weren’t for the adults already involved in music helping me get my foot in the door. What advice do you have for people who aspire to work in the industry?
Hollis: I think we’re in an amazing time to be a young person. More than growing a career in one path, it’s more about growing your capacity, particularly in the creative sectors. In music, success is equal parts artistry and entrepreneurship, which means we have to be original, inspired, and savvy in order to prevail. It’s a great challenge. I also encourage all young people to have purpose in their work – a drive and a passion, but also a motivation larger than self. No matter what your focus is professionally, there is always a way to connect it to a larger cause, to be aware of how what you do in the world can either silence or empower people with less opportunity. All people are capable of teaching and of learning constantly. It’s easy for us to be isolated in the age of social media even though there is an illusion of immediate connectedness, and to be instantaneous experts because we have the latest technology or we can Wiki really fast. Truly great work takes time to cultivate, and humility, and thoughtfulness, and exertion. There’s no replacement for it.
There’s also no need to rush. Working with intention is way better than hurrying down a road you didn’t want to go down. I used to think that I was too old at 22, 24, even 26 to be an emerging artist; if it was supposed to happen for me to be well-known or successful, it would have happened already. Not true. I’m so glad that I’m the age I am now, with the self-knowledge that I possess, where I can really focus on the work I have to do. It took me those years out of college to try new things and struggle financially and fail gloriously and build the relationships that now have proved fruitful for me as an artist and a human being.
I facilitated a panel conversation and Jake One, arguably Seattle’s most renowned hip hop producer, had an amazing insight that spoke to me greatly. He attributes the success to the relationships he forged in his early years as an artist with people who were just as earnest and ambitious as he was. As his career grew, their careers grew; they grew together, probably exponentially so. We are nobody without our people, our networks, and the genuine relationships we form with our peers that aspire and inspire to new levels of greatness. It’s better to not look so high into the stratosphere and get disheartened by the gulf between where you are and where and who you want to be ideally, and instead look at ground level at who is doing the work and has the passion and fire you have, and let those people push you up.
Q: At this point, what is next for you? You’ve accomplished so much coming out of college already with your multiple projects. Are there any solo projects in the works or things going on outside of music that you are pursuing?
Hollis: I appreciate that even though I feel like I’m really at the beginning of what I hope to do. I am working on a solo EP and honing what my individual sound is like. I am grateful to be working with my friend Budo, an amazing producer, on that end. The Flavr Blue’s new EP is something I’m also really excited to release to the public. It will be kind of crazy to see what happens when the video for “White Walls” is released to the masses. I’m not really sure what’s in the cards for me, but I definitely feel like it’s now or never, ya know? I’m working hard to be ready for whatever comes my way.