PHOENIX — While Journey and Def Leppard were “on fire” at Talking Stick Resort Arena, Butch Walker and opener Greg Holden ignited their own explosive show at Crescent Ballroom just a little more than a mile away. As is often the case, Phoenix was the tour kickoff location of Walker and Holden’s tour, and they would thereafter embark on the 17-date “The Last Days of Summer Tour” (2018). While some dedicated fans had even flown in from out of state to see the show, no one was prepared for just how hype this show would get; apparently not even Walker himself, who likened coming out to perform again like getting back into your old prom clothes.
Greg Holden, who recently interviewed with us prior to the concert date, performed at acoustic set, which as you would expect, was chill and low-key. But while Holden generally presents a fairly serious demeanor overall, he cracked a number of smiles while engaging with the vocal crowd, and joking during stage banter.
Of course, many fans recognized his “claim to fame”; the infectious hit song “Home”, written by Holden and chosen by American Idol finalist Phillip Phillips. Solidarity and warmth were felt with a strong cheer from the audience as he reached the end of the heart-wrenching song “Boys in the Street”, about the strained relationship between a father and his gay son, and finally growing to acceptance.
Anyone unfamiliar with Butch Walker was in for quite a surprise when he and his live band took the stage, as the shift in energy was immediate and palpable. Walker is not a country artist. Despite a name that might suggest as much, and Butch Walker’s charming southern roots poking through his stage presence, the more dominant and effortless image and energy he exhibited conveyed his background of a music career in glam metal (SouthGang) and pop punk/post-grunge (Marvelous 3). Walker has 8 studio albums under his belt — the most recent being Stay Gold, which was released in August of 2016.
The 48-year-old, who shared his age with the crowd himself, seemed almost surprised, and definitely pumped, that as the night went on, his solid and seasoned musical prowess had no problem kicking into high gear. Not to be taken for granted or uncredited, Walker’s live band matched his enthusiasm and skill perfectly as they danced and jammed with a fury.
As his set was coming to a close, his performance climaxed after a medley of magnificent covers of David Bowie that couldn’t have felt like more of a worthy tribute, which segued into Walker’s “Hot Girls in Good Moods”. With his shining sense of humor, he began a drawn-out activity amidst the crowd that built anticipation and inspired nearly all, save for the wallflowers on the bleachers in the back of the venue, to participate and, “GO CRAZY!” Confetti and streamers popped out over the thrilled concertgoers.
The duality between Walker and Holden’s performances indeed complemented each other perfectly, and the show was unforgettably dynamic and downright mind-blowing. We highly recommend picking yourself up and heading out to this show in a city near you, because it is so worth it.
Greg Holden is a British singer-songwriter based in the United States. He is best known for his hit charity single “The Lost Boy”, and for co-writing “Home” — the 2012 debut single for American Idol-winner Phillip Phillips.
Genre: Rock, Singer-Songwriter Hometown: Born in Aberdeen, Scotland and raised in England Record Label: BMG Twitter | Facebook | Instagram
“With a fresh Mumford and Sons style, this New York based British singer-songwriter sings it straight from the heart.” – AXS
Q & A with Greg Holden, Singer-Songwriter
During the small break from his fall tour, between his August 2 performance in London and the following tour date in Phoenix on September 7, Holden took the time to share his thoughts with journalist Emily Rudolph of Burning Hot Events:
Thank you for talking with us! According to your interview with People, you’ve had no intention of leaving New York. I’m curious… Are you currently living in LA after all? If so, can you tell us a bit about how you came to call Los Angeles home?
Yes, it’s all very ironic I know. I came to LA two years ago with my tail between my legs. My reasoning was that 99% of the people I know and work with were already in Los Angeles, and I really was cutting off my nose to spite my face by not relocating. So I did. I don’t regret it, but I sure do miss New York. I’m not sure that Los Angeles is the right place for me, but I’ve been told by other ex-New Yorkers that it takes 3 years… So I’ll give it another year and then see what happens…
What inspired you to relocate from England to Brooklyn, NY?
Music essentially. All the artists that inspired me had all lived in New York in their 20’s, so I wanted to as well. Strangely it didn’t even feel like a crazy thing, quitting my job in London, selling all my shit, and moving to a different continent during a recession. I was just going with my gut, and I’m glad I did. Nearly ten years later I don’t regret a thing.
I’ve heard that it all started when you first picked up a guitar at age 18. I’d love for you to tell me more about that journey. What was your musical experience like growing up? What compelled you to begin writing your own music?
I wrote from the moment I started playing guitar. In the beginning I just wanted to write songs so I could get my repressed feelings out in the open. Naturally I started playing in punk and metal bands in my home town, which I did for a few years, before realising that I actually had a half decent voice, and a talent for lyrics too. I was wasting my time in bands. This was at the time when Damien Rice, John Mayer and Ray Lamontagne were the chart toppers, and so the logical next step was to become a solo singer-songwriter. So I decided to move to Brighton, one of the big cities in the UK that was known for its music scene. After a couple of years I moved to London to really focus on getting “discovered,” and once I wasn’t discovered, I thought fuck it, I’m going to New York, I’ll get discovered there…
Could you share with our readers the events that led up to the forming of “Home”? What was the inspiration behind the concept?
The short version is, I had a friend that was going through a very difficult time and was chronically depressed. I was thrown into a co-writing session in Los Angeles on one of my first times there with a guy named Drew Pearson. We decided to write a song about my friend, and that song was “Home”. We wrote it in a couple our hours, easy peasy, and I walked out of the session completely unaware that I’d just written a song that would change my life, and for 6 months I didn’t really even think about it. Then, I got the call from American Idol and the rest is history I guess.
Do you feel your experiences with sophomore album, I Don’t Believe You (2011), influenced your later work on massive success, “Home”?
Not really, no. I mean I guess you could say that “Home” is just a more commercially accessible version of songs I’d written in the past, but I Don’t Believe You was quite a dark record, with very little hope. Whereas “Home” is quite the opposite.
Your sound has been described as “folk”, “rock”, and even “a fresh Mumford and Sons style”.’ How would you describe your sound to our readers?
I really have no idea to be honest. What even is a genre anymore?
What do you feel is the best track that you have produced so far? What does it mean to you?
Probably “The Lost Boy”, just because I recorded in my bedroom in Brooklyn, with one mic, and had no intention of anyone other than my manager hearing it. Somehow that version took on a life of its own and has now been heard by millions of people, a song that I poured my guts into. Since its release it has raised tens of thousands of dollars for charity, has been in the Billboard Charts, been a #1 single in Europe and been featured on major TV shows in the U.S. Still the same, shitty original version, mixed on Apple Headphones at my kitchen counter back in 2011. Despite its simplicity, I’m still more proud of that than anything else I’ve done.
Are there any parts of your story that you’d like to share on low points you’ve experienced and how you overcame them?
I am always experiencing low points. Constantly. Somehow I always find a way out of the hole, but it never stops. That’s the problem when something you love so much, and something that is so reliant on your raw emotions becomes your day job. When I was younger, if I hated my day job, I just got a new one. I can’t do that now, I can’t just apply for new emotions, or new creative skills. The only way to overcome the negative sides of this journey, is to constantly remind myself of the positives, because there are a lot.
What do you do to handle doubts or frustrations when they come up?
I drink wine. Or, I look through my Instagram feed to remind myself that my life is absolutely unreal and I am incredibly fortunate. That doesn’t really handle the doubts, or frustrations, but it certainly puts things into perspective, which helps.
What advice would you give to someone in the industry who is struggling to move forward?
Don’t give up. The one thing I can guarantee is that if you do, you won’t make it. But, if you stay in the fight, there’s always a chance, even if it’s only a small one.
What have you been working on in 2018? What are you most looking forward to?
I’ve been working on my mental state mostly, because without that I’m fucked. Musically though, I’ve been trying to refocus my attention on making something I love, and not on what I think other people want. That’s a difficult balance these days, but it’s important to give yourself what you need first, otherwise you can’t offer anything helpful or inspiring to anyone. I’m most looking forward to the last quarter of this year as I’m headed out on tour in the US in September with Butch Walker, then I’m headed down to South America in December to play some shows with my buddy Joshua Radin. Can’t complain about any of that.
If you had to summarize your journey to produce your latest single, ‘The Power Shift’ how would you describe it?
An existential crisis.
Beyond 2018, what is on the radar for Greg Holden?
Staying happy, and staying inspired. The rest will come naturally.
Is there anything specific you’d like to mention about your upcoming performance in Phoenix?
I’m going to be stripping it all back to just me and my guitar, the way it began. Get your voices warmed up, as you’re going to be singing.
What can our readers do to support your music?
Listen, hopefully enjoy, and share.
Greg Holden is coming to Crescent Ballroom in Phoenix with Butch Walker on Friday, September 7, 2018: Get Tickets
If you’re wondering why there’s finally a picture of me smiling, it’s because on top of getting married in a month, I’m closing out my year with all this craziness! 🇺🇸 🇦🇷 🇧🇷 pic.twitter.com/VbTsSEha3I
Los Angeles, CA – Critically acclaimed singer/songwriter, Greg Holden, is proud to unveil his new single, “The Power Shift,” a political, call-to-action earworm and arguably, one of his most important efforts to date. Although there was no singular event or figure who inspired Holden to write “The Power Shift,” he uses the song to call out the widespread inequality many Americans endure at the hands of those in power. Listen HERE, and download and stream the track HERE.
“I was trying to manifest a collective call on the, for lack of a better word, bullshit. I think it’s important that when someone is lying to you, you call them out,” says Holden, who often uses his inherently rebellious spirit to push back against the status quo. “I was getting tired of screaming into the social media echo chamber and really wanted to put my frustrations into a song that wasn’t so toxic. I’m under no illusion that this is just a song, but it’s better than a tweet,” he adds.
While “The Power Shift” draws inspiration from the current divisive climate in the U.S., it doesn’t harp on pessimism; rather, it has an inspiring message for people to rise up, come together, and shift the power to better leaders. Ultimately, the track demands fair treatment for all, no matter their race, gender, sexuality, or socioeconomic status. It’s upbeat and catchy, yet meaningful and relevant, and an example of how the intersection of music and politics can be an impactful tool to incite change. It’s bound to be a significant song this year, given the tentative political landscape.
New Video for “On the Run” Out Now
In May, Holden returned to the music scene after nearly three years with “On The Run,” an anthemic, 80s-inspired single produced by the legendary Butch Walker (Katy Perry, Panic! At The Disco, Weezer), who also performs the song with Holden in the accompanying music video. It’s a stellar performance between the two artists, and fans can watch it HERE.
Confirmed to Support Butch Walker on Fall U.S. Tour
Holden is currently on his European headline tour, which hits notable stops in Amsterdam, Berlin, and London. This fall, he’ll head back to the states and join forces once again with Butch Walker, providing direct support on his fall U.S. run. The trek kicks off on Sept. 7th in Phoenix, AZ and concludes on Sept. 23rd in New York, NY. At the end of the year, Holden will also open for Josh Radin for a quick tour across Brazil.
A full list of live dates can be found below, and tickets are available for purchase HERE.
Greg Holden Tour Dates:
July 20th – Frankfurt, DE @ Special Event ^
July 21st – Cologne, DE @ The Nomad Music Festival ^
July 24th – Amsterdam, NL @ Paradiso ^
July 25th – Hannover, DE @ Faust ^
July 26th – Berlin, DE @ Frannz ^
July 27th – Munich, DE @ Zehner Club ^
July 28th – Tettnang, DE @ Schlossgarten Open Air #
August 1st – London, UK @ Special Event ^
August 2nd – London, UK @ St. Pancras Old Church ^
Today, critically acclaimed singer/songwriter and BMG’s latest signing, Greg Holden, is excited to share his new single, “On The Run,” his first release in three years.
The track was produced by the iconic Butch Walker (Katy Perry, Panic! At The Disco, Weezer) and serves as a follow up to his third full-length studio album, Chase the Sun (2015). “On The Run” is an uplifting, stadium-ready anthem complete with catchy, summery hooks that perfectly mesh with Holden’s strong, heartfelt vocals. The song is available to stream and purchase HERE.
“ ‘On The Run’ is one of a few songs that was bouncing around in my head when it came to the question of what to lead with after three years on the dark side of the moon,” says Holden. “Ultimately, this song felt like the most authentic, whilst at the same time not being so typically subject heavy that I would scare my listeners away. I’ll save that for the second single…”
“ ‘On The Run’ is an apology, obviously. But it’s an apology to a number of people, for a number of things,” he adds. “For years I’ve been on the road, either emotionally or physically absent, and at times probably a nightmare for partners, friends, and family. I wanted to write something that in a way, said sorry for all that. A way to relinquish some of the guilt perhaps. I recorded it last winter with Butch Walker, along with some incredibly talented friends. It took a morning, it was a blast, and then we were done. It feels right to lead with this one as it came out so naturally.”
The Scottish-born, English-raised musician has garnered recognition as an independent artist for the past several years and is best known for writing Phillip Phillips’ hit single, “Home,” which sold over five million copies in the U.S. and earned him an ASCAP Pop Award. He’s also earned praise from industry staples such as Cher, Josh Groban, Sara Bareilles, Michael Bublé, Zane Lowe, TIME, NPR, and more.
Despite his early accolades, Holden has not taken his success for granted and has worked tirelessly to establish his profile as a socially conscious artist. Standout track, “The Lost Boy” (from his sophomore album, I Don’t Believe You ), inspired by a Dave Eggers’ novel about a Sudanese refugee, raised over $50,000 for the Red Cross. His hit single from Chase the Sun,“Boys In The Street,” an acceptance anthem that discusses a gay son’s strained relationship with his father, directly benefited LGBTQ youth by raising money for the Everyone Is Gay organization. It’s an emotional, poignant song that Tom Hanks called “perfect.”
This summer, Holden will head back out on tour, headlining shows across Europe including notable stops in Amsterdam, Berlin, and Munich. All tickets can be purchased HERE, and a full list of shows can be found below.
“Rare is a singer-songwriter who can actually touch the lives of another person with raw, emotional lyrical poetry.” –Nylon
“Soaring, purpose-filled songs that carry real emotional weight.” –BuzzFeed
“Holden’s clear vocals give an even greater weight to his expressive lyrics when the songs are performed live.” –Paste
Greg Holden Tour Dates
July 18th – Hamburg, DE @ Nochtspeicher
July 20th – Frankfurt, DE @ Venue TBA
July 21st – Cologne, DE @ The Nomad Music Festival
July 24th – Amsterdam, NL @ Paradiso
July 25th – Hannover, DE @ Faust
July 26th – Berlin, DE @ Frannz
July 27th – Munich, DE @ Zehner Club
July 28th – Tettnang, DE @ Schlossgarten Open Air #