Holly Huntoon, who envisions herself as a country singer with a microphone in hand and a sea of adoring fans, is a step closer to the dream with “Reaching,” her first professional album.
Holly recorded herself singing covers and sent them down to numerous producers in Nashville to start getting some exposure. Not long after, Shay Watson contacted her. Watson has worked with numerous singers, most notably the country star Miranda Lambert. Watson was impressed and sent Holly’s demo recordings of songs he had composed. For a year Holly learned the music and worked to “make it personal,” to have the songs be her own. Shayna Eisemann, who is Holly’s vocal coach, helped her prepare the songs for “Reaching.”
In January, Holly and her father traveled to Nashville, Tenn. to record “Reaching.” On the plane Holly met Alyssa Shouse, a YouTube singing star. The studio band on the background of her album is also featured on songs with artists like Rascal Flatts and Carrie Underwood, who is Holly’s role model and inspiration.
“The hardest part is that it may not work,” Holly said.
At first she was a little wary, but after hearing her own recordings her self-esteem rose incredulously.
“This is my voice,” she said proudly.
The LaSalle senior said that every time a teacher wants to hear her sing or a classmate compliments her voice, it is a confidence boost and keeps Holly striving toward her dream.
She plans to begin her higher education at Roger Williams University this fall. She will be studying psychology. She has always wanted to help people, listen to them and try to make them feel better with the best advice possible.
Holly said, “I think I can do that with music, too. There is so much emotion built into songs. With songs, you can feel their sadness or happiness and it is a way to cope with problems. Even if I am having a bad day, I can just sing for a while and I’ll feel better.”
Although Holly will be attending university this fall, she would prefer to focus on her music career if it starts to skyrocket.
“I can go to school anytime I want. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Holly said.
Her next step is writing her own songs, and re-recording acoustic versions of the singles on “Reaching” with her promoter Joseph Rainone. She is also waiting to hear from her producer about television show opportunities. Watson sent her singles to the producers of “True Blood” to see if they would use one of Holly’s songs for the show. The singles were also sent to the show “Nashville,” which is about the lives of fictional country stars. If there is positive feedback from the show, “Nashville” may use Holly as not only a vocal artist, but also an actress.
Holly said her best friend, Melissa Bizer, and her parents, Maria and David Huntoon, are her biggest fans. She says that her dad has provided endless support in her dreams by helping to get her name out there and get her noticed. Previously in a local band himself, David has tried to help Holly in the right direction with her music career.
“My dad went to Nashville with me and he reaches out to find me the right connections. He listens and sings to my album all the time,” Holly said.
“Reaching” is a pop country influenced album featuring Holly’s soprano voice. The songs talk about relationships, as any good country song does, as well as doing what it takes to reach your goals, something Holly can relate well to.
The album was officially released in early April and since then there have been 100 downloads of her songs and 50 downloads of the whole album.
“Reaching” is available on both iTunes and Amazon.com for $5.94, but each song is only 99 cents. Holly should have her own website up soon as well, where the album can be purchased.