Holly Jones is an award-winning classical contemporary solo piano recording artist and composer. Her music is described as reverent, elegant and melody-driven and can be heard on all streaming platforms, Spa XM and many airlines. She has an active monthly Spotify listener base of over 170K and releases a new composition every three to four weeks across all platforms, as well as composing for music libraries.
How did you get started?
I began Suzuki violin at the age of three, along with my two older siblings. I took private violin lessons for 10 years, which gave me a great foundation in theory. This early training gave me a head start when I began piano at the age of eight. I took private piano for 10 years as well, and studied private piano and composition at Indiana University.
A point of interest here is that I never really enjoyed the violin; I never adapted to it, and it just wasn’t my preference of instrument. I clearly remember early on the sensation of relief when I realized I could produce a much bigger sound with two hands on the piano than the violin, and that if the piano was out of tune, it wasn’t my responsibility!
Did you always want a career in the music industry?
No…but I started composing from a very early age (around nine), and that became a way I expressed myself as well as processed life, and it was something that came easy to me and brought great satisfaction. I never thought this was something I would aspire to do as a career. I also knew I did not want to teach piano, and did not want to be a concert pianist. However, I knew early on that my compositions were very important and would make their place, somehow, in this world.
I also had a great ear…someone could hum something and I could pick it up quickly. In my early 20s I began playing regularly in restaurants in Owensboro, KY, and later in Lexington, KY, while attending the University of Kentucky.
At UK, I pursued a career in physical therapy and developed a successful private practice here in Oklahoma City. That was a great decision because it provided a great sustainable career and was also something I love (the art of manual therapy). It also allowed me the ability to purchase first a Steinway baby grand, then trade up to a Steinway B, then trade up to my present forever piano, my Bosendorfer 225. So one could say, it took the pressure off of trying to make a living from music, and to just enjoy the process, which I have been able to do.
I also find that there is a definite blend in the art of working with human tissue and approaching the keyboard. The grounding and the rewards for being present in the moment is acutely similar in both vocations.
So fast forward to 2020 and just prior to Covid, I decided it was time to divest my physical therapy private practice and spend my time on my music. I had just started releasing regularly on Spotify, etc and realized that now was the time. Once Covid hit, I decided to divest my practice in 60 days instead of 12 months. I now see clients in my home for two mornings a week (I’m done with my “work week” by Tuesdays at 1!) and spend the rest of my time on composition and releasing music across all DSPs every 3-4 weeks.
Most Recent Successes / Placements / Accomplishments / Projects? Career highlight?
I have been very blessed the past two years, since seriously releasing music across all DSPs. I have developed a listening base on Spotify of over 250K listeners a month; my music is on Spa XM and many airlines, and I have had multiple editorial successes across Spotify, Apple Music and Pandora. My solo piano album “Art On The Piano” won Best Solo Piano Album in 2019 for UK-based One World Music Radio as well as Enlightened Piano Radio’s 2020 Best New Artist. My latest album, “The Christmas Piano,” (a collection of solo piano arrangements of my favorite Christmas carols) won SoloPiano.com’s 2020 Best Holiday Piano award.
What is your favorite Oklahoma music venue, music store, or recording studio?
I LOVE the UCO Jazz Lab! Clint Rohr there is fantastic to work with and prior to Covid, I did two album release concerts for sold out crowds. I love the intimate setting (I chose the blue light scene) and their Steinway D is kept in top notch shape by master piano technician Caleb Bendull, who also takes care of my Bosendorfer at home. OKC is very fortunate to have the Jazz Lab, as well as Clint and Caleb!
Networking and connecting with others who share your dream or vision is a vital aspect to the music industry. Can you share which Oklahoma organizations (if any) have contributed to your success and are there Oklahoma organization you would recommend other connect with? To help further their craft or promotion?
I cannot say enough about Ted Curtis of Upstairs Productions and Craig Alvin (multi- Grammy mix engineer: Kacey Musgraves “Golden Hour”), who engineered and produced my last three albums, in my home studio. It is amazing how you can work around a room with windows with huge foam pieces and great mic placement (we took the lid off the piano the for the Christmas album session and used Neumann U87s.)
How can we follow you? Best place to purchase and listen to your music (if applicable)?
Advice for someone interested in working in the music industry.
Stay true to yourself and follow the open doors. It took me a long time to psychologically grow into my music because it can be a vulnerable thing to put your compositions out there to the world. But following the path of my life, I’ve been able to see where there’s an open door, and have enjoyed the challenge of working my hardest toward a goal. Successfully doing that creates more open doors.
If there is an artist that inspires you, learn from them but find yourself and your identity in your own music. Authenticity is key.
Also, I find it is important to protect oneself from identifying too much from social media. As necessary as it is for success on streaming platforms, my music is better the more I come from a place that is internal, as opposed to external.
Know and embrace that you will always be learning. There are no “failures”; just learning opportunities to guide you more toward your life purpose.
What are some of the benefits of having a music career in Oklahoma?
The quality of people here. People are open and friendly and hard working. I love living here and consider this home.
Favorite quote (if applicable)
“Nobody else can live the life you live.” Fred Rogers
Each featured individual or business is given the provided questions to answer in their own voice. Other than formatting and grammar, the answers are personal to each featured voice, and are not provided by the Oklahoma Film + Music Office.