Texas-born country singer Steve Holy enlivened country charts in the early 2000s with a pair of number one hits, "Good Morning Beautiful" (2001) and "Brand New Girlfriend" (2006). Those songs and other Holy releases showcased his muscular vocals, modeled partly on those of the classic singers of the early rock and roll era: Elvis Presley, Charlie Rich, and Roy Orbison, among others. "My heart is really in the '50s music," Holy told Jack Leaver of Michigan's Grand Rapids Press. "I don't know what it is exactly, but I just like it. Music was really heartfelt back then."
Steve Holy was born in Dallas, Texas, on February 23, 1972. He was the youngest of eight siblings in a Catholic family of "five girls and three employees," he recalled to Christina Killion Valdez of the Rochester, Minnesota, Post-Bulletin. Holy's grandfather reportedly invented the first machine for drilling house foundations in 1930, and it was understood that his male children would enter the family's successful construction business. Music was not part of young Holy's life. "We really didn't express ourselves much in our house growing up, especially if you were one of the boys," he told Leaver. "You worked and played sports, but singing … are you kidding? You were a sissy if you did that! We were pretty shy and quiet."
Yet Holy's impulse toward vocal expression could not be kept down, and he was unsatisfied by construction work. As he grew older, he began to amuse classmates with his spot-on imitation of legendary Texas vocalist Conway Twitty, and he auditioned for spots at local country music venues such as the Mesquite Opry. When he was 19 he achieved a step up career-wise when he was hired to sing at the Johnnie High Country Revue in Arlington, outside Dallas. High had nurtured the country careers of several well-known Texas acts, including John Anderson, Garry Morris, Lee Ann Womack, and teen country-pop sensation LeAnn Rimes.
Presenting Holy on stage, High's endorsement was at best lukewarm. "He would introduce me as ‘This next kid is very awkward, he has no idea what he's doing, but he has that ‘it thing’," Holy recalled to Valdez. Holy, unused to performing, was seized by stage fright prior to each show. But his confidence grew, and before long he had a regular weekend slot. At first skeptical, Holy's family was won over by his growing success. One of his sisters became his tour manager, while another signed on as merchandise buyer. Holly began making the drive from Dallas to Nashville on weekends, trying to break into the recording industry.
His breakthrough came when he gained the attention of producer Wilbur Rimes, father of LeAnn, thanks to an Entertainer of the Year honor at the Johnnie High Country Music Revue. Both Wilbur and LeAnn Rimes encouraged Holy's trips to Nashville, and in 1999 he was signed to the Curb label. Holy released the upbeat swing song "Don't Make Me Beg," a traditional country number, as a single, and in 2000 released his debut album, Blue Moon. Wilbur Rimes served as producer.
In a music business increasingly oriented toward instant stardom, the sales patterns of Blue Moon were unusual. Holy toured in support of the album and drew comparisons not only to Presley and Orbison but also to big-voiced country predecessors such as John Conlee and Mickey Gilley. Jonathan Widran of the All Music Guide praised Holy's "rich, sultry vocal tones," although he remarked that Holy "only hits at finding an original voice on occasion." Holy toured with country superstar Toby Keith in the summer of 2001. But Holy singles released to radio hovered at lower chart levels until July of that year, when "Good Morning Beautiful," a ballad that later appeared in the film Angel Eyes, became the album's fourth single. It spent five weeks in the number one spot on Billboard magazine's country singles chart.
Blue Moon was eventually certified platinum (for sales of 1,000,000 copies), and the year 2002 was a busy one for Holy, who told Cathalena E. Burch of the Arizona Star that year that he was "on cloud nine right now. You dream your whole life. Once this crazy thought of becoming a recording artist actually enters your head, from that point on you can't shake it." Holy eagerly entered the recording studio with a group of self-penned songs and newly acquired production skills. Several singles were released but went nowhere, and a Roy Orbison cover, "Just a Kiss," was released in European markets but not in the United States. The stock of songs for an album grew to 30, but it remained untitled and unreleased. In an interview with the German online magazine Country Home, Holy hinted at creative differences as the reason for the unusual six-year delay between his debut and sophomore releases. "About 80 percent of the songs that I recorded were picked by me, but about 90 percent of the singles were picked up by Curb Records, so regarding that point my control is minimal." When the album finally appeared in 2006, production was credited to Lee Thomas Miller and Michael Lloyd.
Finally the new album was given a title, Brand New Girlfriend, and the title track was released as a single in early 2006. The pattern of "Good Morning Beautiful" repeated itself when "Brand New Girlfriend," a humorous song with a mock-sentimental introduction that gave way to a rollicking rock beat, climbed the charts slowly but consistently. By the fall of 2006 the song had become Holy's second number one hit, and his tour of that year made him a familiar presence at concert venues. At one point he whirled through a 30-day stretch with only three days off. A self-described loner who remained something of an enigma to fans, Holy had nevertheless completely outgrown his earlier fear of performing. He told Valdez that "I'm just cutting up the whole time. It's going to be hard for someone in the audience to have a better time than me." With vocal stylists having historically enjoyed the longest runs as country music stars, Holy appeared to be settling in as a major presence in the genre.
Blue Moon, Curb, 2000.
Brand New Girlfriend, Curb, 2006.
For the Record …
Born February 23, 1972, in Dallas, Texas.
Performed at Mesquite Opry, Mesquite, TX; signed to Johnnie High's Country Music Revue, Arlington, TX; signed to Curb label, 1999; released album Blue Moon, 2000; released album Brand New Girlfriend, 2006.
Addresses: Management—Monterey Peninsula Artists, 124 12th Ave. S, Ste. 410, Nashville, TN 37203. Website—Steve Holy Official Website: http://www.steveholy.com.
Arizona Daily Star (Tucson, AZ), April 26, 2002, p. F40.
Grand Rapids Press, July 29, 2001, p. B11.
Post-Bulletin (Rochester, MN), October 6, 2006.
"Interview with Steve Holy," Country Home,http://www.countryhome.de/interviews/interview_eng_2006/steve.holy2006.htm (February 26, 2007).
"Steve Holy," All Music Guide,http://www.allmusic.com (February 26, 2007).
More From encyclopedia.com
Holy , holy sacred (often in Christian phraseology). Holy City Jerusalem; (in Christian tradition) Heaven. Holy Cross Day the day on which the feast of the… Mollie , Mollie •drily, kylie, Riley, shyly, slyly, smiley, Smily, wily, wryly •idly • kindly • wifely • likely • timely •Christly •knightly, nightly, sightly… Soler, Andrés, Domingo, and Fernando , soli •drily, kylie, Riley, shyly, slyly, smiley, Smily, wily, wryly •idly • kindly • wifely • likely • timely •Christly •knightly, nightly, sightly,… Holy Year , HOLY YEAR A year during which a solemn plenary indulgence is granted to the faithful under certain conditions. Holy Years are ordinary when they occu… Holy Week , Holy Week is the week immediately preceding Easter, the principal week of the liturgical year. Besides the name Holy Week, it is also called Major or… Tenebrae , Latin for "darkness." Historically, the traditional name given to the combined Offices of Matins and Lauds on the mornings of Holy Thursday, Good Fri…
About this article
Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article
You Might Also Like