San Holo Speaks On The Creative Process Behind 'album1,' Fan Love, & More

San Holo

Daniel Mendoza/Recording Academy


San Holo Speaks On The Creative Process Behind 'album1,' Fan Love, & More

Backstage at ACL, the Dutch artist gave us his take on the evolution of the music industry, fan reception and more

GRAMMYs/Oct 8, 2018 - 04:13 am

San Holo’s recently released debut album, album1, comes together with a beautiful mix of guitar melodies, emotion, and personal narrative. He is attempting to carve out a space for himself in the musical landscape that incorporates a blend of electronic and organic sounds while always focusing on deeply human emotions. Partnering with Billboard China, Holo is planning to launch a radio station titled after the label he founded, Bitbird. This mix of creative, cultural, and business endeavors makes him as mysterious as he is ambitious.

We spoke with Holo backstage at the Austin City Limits Festival about how he sees the music industry evolving, how fans react to his music, and how he hopes to see his career progress.

How did album1 evolve from what you thought it was going to be when you were starting to the final product?

I wrote album1 in about six months at an Airbnb in L.A. and … I wanted to sound like how I feel right now so I had no idea of how that was going to sound like. I had a small idea of ... what it's going to be, but album1 turned out to be something that, to me, sounds very organic and naturally … I added a lot of natural elements such as guitar and sounds and samps that I'd recorded in those six months and it just turned into something, a hybrid between an EDM and indie kind of album. So, that's what happened.

You're working to promote EDM in the Chinese market. How do you think music and the music industry are going to evolve as demographics and technology change?

There's so many things going on in Asia that we have no ... like we only know half of what's going on in Asia because we don't see any of that on social media, we don't see, like China for example, they don't have Facebook, they don't have Twitter, so they have their own platform going on there, but it doesn't mean that they don't listen to my stuff, to all our stuff. I was shocked the first time I went to China to see how many people were singing along to my songs and to my tracks and how receptive they were of what I'm doing and so we started to also do a radio show there with my label, bitbird, and it's being broadcast there now and people are really receptive of new music. They're really eager as well.

And speaking of that, what is your favorite kind of reception from fans?

Honestly, sometimes people [are] at the show and they are just standing there, listening, and I first start to think "Oh, they're bored" or something, or like, I should be more energetic, I have to jump around, but I still have to realize [that there are some] people that really don't, they just listen, might actually be the biggest [kind of] music fans there are [at] festivals. They just stand there in the back, just listening and I really appreciate those people because they don't care if I really scream, "One, two, three, jump," or something, they don't care about that stuff. They just want to hear me play guitar and like do my thing. But, honestly, actually, everyone at the shows ... whatever you want to do, if you want to jump that's fine, if you want to dance around that's fine, if you want to do nothing that's fine, as long as you feel something.

What have you been listening to these days?

I've been listening to so much. I think actually they're from Austin, Explosions In The Sky, do you know that band? You know it, I think they're pretty big here, actually. They're actually big all over the world. When I first heard their music about 10 years ago, it changed my life, and their way of playing guitar is definitely a big inspiration on what I'm doing right now. So Explosions In The Sky, check that band out, they're incredible.

Where do you want to go from here, what are your career goals?

My career goals [are] to make music that I feel excited about, and I want to make people feel something, whether that's anything. People can hate my album, they can love my album, as long as they feel something and then I'm happy. The worst thing to get when people are talking about your music is, like, "I don't know, it's okay." I want people to hate or love it and that's the goal, to make something that people feel something with. I don't know.

That's my main. It's just to create, I just want to create music and emotions.

How does it feel to be playing at ACL, and what do you think makes this festival special?

I really love Austin in general. I just did another interview and I told them, I wish I could stay here for a month to really breathe in the Austin culture. I feel like everyone here is very open-minded for some reason and you can do whatever you want. Like if you want to do crazy stuff or be this extravagant person, everyone just appreciates you. Is 'extravagant' a word, an English word, extravagant? Is that a word? Sometimes, okay, I'm from Holland so I'm not too good at those words, but I feel people are just really appreciative of who you want to be here and, yeah, I think that's one of the many reasons why I'm happy to be here.

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Allen Hughes' "The Defiant Ones" Wins Best Music Film | 2018 GRAMMY


Allen Hughes' "The Defiant Ones" Wins Best Music Film | 2018 GRAMMY

Director Allen Hughes' four-part documentary takes home Best Music Film honors for its portrayal of the unlikely partnership that changed the music business

GRAMMYs/Jan 29, 2018 - 02:09 am

The team behind The Defiant Ones celebrated a big win for Best Music Film at the 60th GRAMMY Awards. The crew awarded include director Allen Hughes and producers Sarah Anthony, Fritzi Horstman, Broderick Johnson, Gene Kirkwood, Andrew Kosove, Laura Lancaster, Michael Lombardo, Jerry Longarzo, Doug Pray & Steven Williams.

In a year rife with quality music documentaries and series, the bar has been set high for this dynamic category. The Defiant Ones is a four-part HBO documentary telling the story of an unlikely duo taking the music business by storm seems better suited for fantastical pages of a comic book, but for engineer-turned-mogul Jimmy Iovine and super-producer Dr. Dre, it's all truth.The Defiant Ones recounts their histories, their tribulations and their wild success. These include first-hand accounts from those who were there in Iovine's early days, such as Bruce Springsteen and U2's Bono, as well as those on board when Dre and Iovine joined forces, such as Snoop Dogg and Eminem.

The competition was stiff as the category was filled with compelling films such as One More Time With Feeling, Two Trains Runnin', Soundbreaking, and Long Strange Trip. 

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Portugal. The Man To Aida Cuevas: Backstage At The 2018 GRAMMYs



Portugal. The Man To Aida Cuevas: Backstage At The 2018 GRAMMYs

Also see James Fauntleroy, Reba McIntire, Latroit, and more after they stepped off the GRAMMY stage

GRAMMYs/Jan 29, 2018 - 05:39 am

What do artists do the moment they walk off the GRAMMY stage from presenting, accepting an award or performing? Now, you can find out.

Take a peak at Album Of The Year GRAMMY winner Bruno Mars, 60th GRAMMY Awards Host James Cordon, Cardi B minutes before her electrifying performance of "Finesse," and more!

Also see Best Pop Duo/Group Performance GRAMMY winners Portugal. The Man posing with their first career GRAMMY Award, Best Roots Gospel Album GRAMMY winner Reba McIntire right after she walked offstage, Best R&B Song GRAMMY winner James Fauntleroy, Best Remixed Recording GRAMMY winner Latroit, and many more, with these photos from backstage during the 60th GRAMMY Awards.

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Bruno Mars Wins Song Of The Year | 2018 GRAMMYs


Bruno Mars Wins Song Of The Year | 2018 GRAMMYs

The Hawaiian native takes home Song Of The Year for "That's What I Like" at the 60th GRAMMY Awards

GRAMMYs/Jan 29, 2018 - 08:11 am

Feeling the 24K Magic, Bruno Mars' successful progress through the categories he's been nominated in at the 60th GRAMMY Awards picked up another one at Song Of The Year for "That's What I Like."

Christopher Brody Brown and Philip Lawrence co-write with Mars under the name Shampoo Press & Curl. The other winning songwriters for Mars' hit tonight in this category are James Fauntleroy and production team "The Sterotypes" — Ray Charles McCullough II, Jeremy Reeves, Ray Romulus and  Jonathan Yip.

For additional "Finesse" on stage at the 60th GRAMMY Awards, Mars was joined by Cardi B for a reprise of their 148-million-views hit remix.

The Album Of The Year GRAMMY Award wrapped up the night and wrapped up Bruno Mars' complete rampage through his six nominated categories — now six wins.

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Mariah Carey Tells Fans Fire Music Is Coming With New Album 'Caution'

Mariah Carey

Photo: David Crotty/Getty Images


Mariah Carey Tells Fans Fire Music Is Coming With New Album 'Caution'

The sultry R&B/pop superstar has announced she will release her 15th studio album next month – what will she bring us this time around?

GRAMMYs/Oct 17, 2018 - 05:39 am

Never one to do things quietly, the GRAMMY-winning R&B/pop diva with the angelic voice Mariah Carey came boldly onto the scene in 1990 with her GRAMMY-nominated debut self-titled album. At the 33rd GRAMMY Awards she took home her first two wins: Best New Artist and for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female for "Vision Of Love," which she performed on the GRAMMY stage. The song was the album's first single and Carey's first No. 1 song. Since taking center stage at the beginning of the '90s the star hasn't looked back, releasing 13 studio albums and plenty of hits over the years. Four years after the release of her last album, she has announced that her next one is a month away. What will she serve up on her 15th LP?

The star recently shared on Twitter that her latest album is called Caution and will be released on Nov. 16, 2018. We first got a hint of a new album on Sept. 13 when she announced an album was in the works and released the lead single, "GTFO." The album's second single, "With You," followed on Oct. 4.

On "GTFO" she confidently asks a soon-to-be-ex lover "How 'bout you get the f*** out?" in breathy vocals over a slow, melodic beat by GRAMMY-winning producer Nineteen85. "With You" feels like a classic Carey R&B love song with her angelic vocals backed by snapping and a melodic slow jam groove produced by hip-hop beat maker DJ Mustard, who lets her voice shine on an uncharacteristically mellow track for him. These songs hint that her latest release will give us songs that not only showcase her incredible vocal range and versatility, but also give us both nostalgia-inducing tracks as well as radio-ready hits.

"GTFO" gives us a taste of some of the new flavor that she is bringing to her new album, singing the song's coy lyrics completely in more-understated breathy vocals without belting any big high notes, not even during the chorus. It's a catchy, playful breakup song, as she confidently sings "get the f*** out/how 'bout you take your tings and be on your merry way?/Fly off with the wind, bye bye baby/How 'bout you scusami, Mimi'll call you a valet."

The song was co-written and co-produced by Jeff Jefferies aka Nineteen85, who is half of OVO R&B duo dvsn and is responsible for producing some of Drake's biggest hits, including the GRAMMY-winning mega-hit "Hotline Bling." On the Drake's song "Emotionless" from his latest album, Scorpion, he samples Carey's lyrics from remixed classic hit "Emotions." Hopefully Jefferies has some catchy hits up his sleeve for Carey, and maybe even brings in some OVO artist surprises.

Carey has released some great collabs over the years, a majority with R&B and hip-hop artists, including Boyz II Men on heartfelt slow jam "One Sweet Day" from 1995's Daydream and Jay-Z on the upbeat classic belter "Heartbreaker" from 1999's Rainbow. We can only hope that the new album will offer some new, soon-to-be-classic hits with some of our other favorite artists.

Her most recent album, Me. I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse, released in 2014, had more collab tracks than usual for her, which could perhaps point towards some hot features on Caution. The deluxe edition of the 2014 album had six songs with other artists, including rappers Nas, Fabolous, Wale and R. Kelly as well as R&B singers Miguel and Mary J. Blige. The  album's lead single, "Beautiful," has Miguel and Carey singing a soulful, feel-good duet, while "Dedicated" features a bounce-y, electronic-infused hip-hop beat with a verse from Nas. Seeing that she worked with big-time hip-hop producers on the new album's lead singles, we can only hope that they not only offered their production genus to more of the tracks, but perhaps brought some of their friends into the studio as well.

Fans only have to wait a month for the full dose of new music from Carey, but until then we will send our prayers to the music gods that the album will feature all of our dream collabs, perhaps some old and new friends, and offer up some new favorite songs, with some to slow dance to and others to belt out in the shower.

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