Holly McNarland is back, and she’s getting closer to her fans than ever.
The independent singer-songwriter with the unique whisper-to-a-scream voice released her first independent album, Run Body Run, in 2012, and she’s choosing to share that music in intimate settings this summer.
These days, McNarland has no shackles to the music industry and is free to make music when she wants, how she wants and with whom she wants. Run Body Run is the result of over a year’s work, in and out of the studio, and for her, it represents a move to become closer to her fans.
“When I was with a label, I felt very far from and separated from my fans outside of playing shows,” she says. “Now there’s no separation — I’m not using an agent, a manager, or a record label. I’m going to my fans directly for support via social networking, and it’s been amazing. Seeing how much people will back something up when they truly believe in it and feel connected has made me want to be a part of the music world again.”
McNarland has decided to celebrate this new album and her independence with an acoustic tour on Vancouver Island this July, and she will be performing in Courtenay on July 4.
Since moving back to Toronto with her family, the mother of two, who has a Juno Award and gold and platinum albums under her belt, has been writing for other artists, as well as composing her own songs.
Through her son’s school, she met other musician parents and began getting encouragement to put together a new band. She booked a show in Toronto, and it sold out.
“I hadn’t played in a band in four years,” she said. “It was a really good feeling to come back to that.”
McNarland first burst on the music scene with her 1995 independent EP, Sour Pie, and her 1997 major label debut, Stuff, which was certified platinum and featured the hit single “Numb.” She won a Juno for Best New Solo Artist in 1998 and toured all across North America, performing for thousands. Home Is Where My Feet Are came out in 2002, followed four years later by the acoustic EP titled The Komrade Sessions, a recording McNarland says she did “Dogma-style and just for me.”Chin Up Buttercup was released in 2007, featuring stand-out tracks “Sad Songs, “Dry As A Bone,” and “Every Single Time.”
Outside of her pop/rock career, McNarland also acknowledged and embraced her Métis roots, performing at some of Canada’s most important Aboriginal events. She headlined the 2004 National Aboriginal Achievement Awards in Calgary and was highlighted, alongside Buffy Sainte-Marie, at the 2008 Celebration of Aboriginal Canadian Women.
Now, between parenting, McNarland writes whenever the mood strikes, triggered by things around her —people, places, film and other media.
“I love the way things have changed,” she says. “I don’t want to be signed. I like calling the shots, and I’m not really comfortable being told what to do, what to wear, what I can and can’t say in the press. I have a book of passwords that connect me directly to my fans. It’s a pretty great place to sit.”
McNarland brings her new music to Courtenay Friday, July 4 when she performs an intimate acoustic performance at The Avalanche Bar, with special guests Brodie Dawson and Robin Mills. The show, presented by Got Pop? Concerts and 98.9 FM The Goat, starts at 8 p.m., and doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 plus surcharges in advance or $25 at the door, and advance tickets are available at Bop City Records and The Avalanche Bar in Courtenay, Red Carpet Boutique in Comox and online at www.ticketzone.com.