Rolling Eyes
Music UK /

A Magpie who refuses to Slow Down 

An unknown just two years ago, Dales starlet, Holly Rees, 25, is suddenly taking the music scene storm with the impending release of her second EP, Slow Down, led by the flighty single, Magpie.
Rees, who grew up in the village of Stanhope, and learned to play the cornet at (primary) school in the early noughties, didn’t really take the sound of the street seriously until recently, in fact it was a chance New Year’s Resolution for 2017 which would see things change, unsurprisingly now, for the better.
Leading to a complete whirlwind of a past twenty months Miss Rees could not have predicted what was to come saying: “My 2017 Resolution was to do things that scared me, so in January last year I went along to my first open mic night and soon realised it was something I loved.
“I was writing songs before that but just for myself really, and I didn’t have any plans to record or release anything.
“A very good friend of mine surprised me with a studio day in May last year and that became the Ilex EP (Holly’s debut offering consisting of four tracks).”
That stunning debut, with a personal inference on its lead, Toast being about her sister; Better looking at the taboo of mental health issues; His Thermos Song spinned about her best friend; and finally, Felt Something, being the customary musicians “plain and simply a sad, little love song.”
It was that good it was featured on Tom Robinson’s BBC Introducing Mixtape, he saying late last year that: “I was listening to a girl from the North East the other day, Holly Rees, and her track ‘Toast’ and it floored me.
”It was so brave and created by someone who was really, truly, being themselves.
“Don’t believe anyone who tells you there is no future in music. There is. All you have to be is good.”
Now residing on the banks of the Tyne, Holly is nowhere near ready to Slow Down and her next offering, due for release on August 11, with a launch party at Newcastle’s Head of Steam sees her partner up with Matt Dunbar, he also releasing an EP, the pair heading out on a nine-date tour.
“I was actually out gigging the first time Toast got played on BBC Radio 6 Music and came home around midnight to find my twitter had blown up – absolutely incredible,” continued Holly.
“I did manage to catch it the second time it played though, which was so fun, and so surreal.
“I’m so grateful to Tom for going out on a limb and playing the track, it gave me a lot of belief in myself and my music that I maybe hadn’t really had before.
“I’m really proud of this new EP, and I’ve worked really hard on it.
“I think Slow Down is definitely a step up from Ilex, my friend Matt has produced it so it’s definitely a tighter sound, and there’s tracks with harmonies and even some drums out so it’s a fuller, more rounded sound which I’m really excited about.
“I do my best to get out there and play live a lot which definitely helped iron out songs to figure out which should make the EP.
“Like with the Ilex EP, I wanted a nice range of tunes and ideas to go into it – Magpie is about home; Arms is a kind of hopeful love song; Timid Heart is more upbeat; Impossible Rules is another one about mental health and the EP finishes off with Missing Out, which came out of just really wanting to write a kind of fun, upbeat break-up song.”
Now, with the sounds flowing smoothly from her guitar, and her insisting on Magpie that she “just want to go home,” she is setting off on the tour with Matt, and enjoying creating some special moments with a few musical friends of theirs.
“I can’t wait; I’m so excited to go on tour” beamed Holly.
“I’ve never played most of these cities so I’m really excited to play to some new people in some new places.
“The Newcastle date is just going to be so much fun, on top of it being the EP launch party (for both my new EP and for Matt Dunbars) we have some of my favourite North-East musicians supporting us – This Little Bird who is just incredible, she’s just like a Northern Joni Mitchell, and PICNIC are one of my all-time favourite live bands so I’m so excited to have them.”
Slow Down, the second EP from Holly Rees, is available on August 11 when she, and Matt Dunbar, perform a special set at Newcastle’s Head of Steam – tickets are available from priced £5.50 (inc. fees) and you can follow her via her website