Songbird flies home


With a new album release just weeks away, folk songbird Holly Arrowsmith has returned from the big smoke to share her songs.

The Queenstown singer songwriter, 21, moved to Auckland earlier this year with her back-up guitarist husband, Michael Gilling, to be closer to the national music scene.

But tomorrow night, she’ll play revamped venue The Sherwood showcasing some of the tracks from the 10-song album.

“We’re in the final stages of recording the album,” she says.

“It’s actually such a long process. We’re down in Queenstown to record the vocals, then it’ll be mixed and sent to New York to be mastered.

“I’m really happy with how it’s come together. A lot of my writing is influenced by the South Island – about the natural environment, nature, and the lessons held within it.

“So I wanted to bring some of the songs down here before the album is released.

“There’s a lot more opportunities up there, more venues and more people to play to, but I definitely miss the mountains and it’s great to be back.”

The Sherwood gig is the third in a mini-South Island tour which has seen her play packed venues in Christchurch and Dunedin.

Arrowsmith’s career was launched by winning Queenstown contest Songstars aged 18, with original track Wolves and Moons, followed by debut EP The River.

Recently, she played for thousands on New Years Eve mega festival Rhythm & Vines, near Gisborne, following supporting legendary Searching for Sugarman American musician Rodriguez.

“R&A was good but Rodriguez was definitely my favourite – it was a seated audience of 3000 in Auckland and 2500 in Wellington and his fans just love him.

“So they were all so excited to be there and gave me such a warm welcome. They were listening audiences which is what folk artists generally want.

“The gigs in Christchurch and Dunedin were the same, both really good intimate listening venues, really fun, and I’ve heard great things about The Sherwood since its transformation.”

Arrowsmith has her eyes set on the USA later this year, but first there’s the album release and pre-release single Voices of Youth.

“It’s about how as we get older we lose that childlike faith and innocence. I think everyone’s on a journey through their lives trying to find their youth again.

“We filmed a video for it in remote Canterbury last week – at place called Lake Emma, this barren landscape with an amazing lake. I’m excited to get it all out there.”

The as-yet-untitled album, recorded by Tom Tom Production’s Tom Lynch and Steve Robertson and remastered by Sterling Sound, is expected to be released in late March.

Catch Holly Arrowsmith at The Sherwood, Frankton Road, tomorrow, 8.30pm, with support from Jesse Brand. Tickets $5, door sales only