ListN Up: Holland Andrews (December 2, 2022)

ListN Up is a series of artist-curated playlists that offer an intimate sonic portrait of contemporary artists by showcasing the diverse and stylistically varied music that influences their creative practice. 

Holland Andrews is a vocalist, composer, and performance artist whose work focuses on the abstraction of operatic and extended-technique voice to build soundscapes that encompass both catharsis and dissonance. Frequently highlighting themes surrounding vulnerability and healing, Andrews arranges music for voice, clarinet, and electronics.

Hi. My name is Holland Andrews, and I’m a composer, performer, and vocalist based in Brooklyn. I made this playlist to highlight some music that I listen to by composers who have been really deep in their practice for a couple of decades. Also, some music that has been with me and inspired me since childhood. I hope you get to listen and enjoy, and maybe feel inspired too.

“Promises, movement 2” by Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders & the London Symphony Orchestra

When I first heard this album, I was visited by a sea of ancestors. Or rather, an ocean. I could see them all in rapturous applause for my presence, where, in that moment, I was sharing space with other artists, and we all cried together.

“Love Song Of Urfa” by Midori Takada

I’m inspired by the elemental quality of Midori Takada’s music. I am often drawn to sounds and composers that draw from a sensation of pre-thought and who are deep in a flow with something greater than the awareness of themselves. This hypnotic music makes me feel drawn into that flow.

“Ever New” by Beverly Glenn-Copeland

Beverly Glenn-Copeland inspires me so much because of her dynamic and profoundly unique pathway into her music and compositional practice. When I listen, I hear the thin and iridescent layer of expansive waves that are just a mirror of her. She articulates them in her music so masterfully. I work to learn to be this way and I’m so grateful for her example and gift of saying yes to her creativity every day.

“Beau Soir” by Claude Debussy, performed by Barbra Streisand

This song comes from an album of Barbra Streisand singing classical music, and although it wasn’t popular when it came out, it is by far one of my favorite of her albums. For someone like Barbra Streisand, known for her big voice and incredible control, the contrast of that, singing Debussy, turns out to be stunning and exciting to listen to. Her approach to delicacy and restraint is inspiring to me as a vocalist.

“Formations” by Disasterpeace

The Disasterpace album that Richard Vreeland made for the video game Fez has been in rotation in my life for the better part of 10 years. It’s virtuosic in its use of synthesis to create a cohesive, creative, and brilliant score for this game. Honestly, one of my favorite albums of all time, and this track is one I look forward to listening to. The music is emotional but not forcing you into a state. I keep saying to myself “wow, this is so beautiful.”

“The Dharma at Big Sur, Pt. II: Sri Moonshine” by John Adams, performed by Tracy Silverman and the BBC Symphony Orchestra

I came across this album when I was a teenager in the early 2000s. At the time I had never heard classical music that created a blissful catharsis that felt like a mirror of my own experience of spiritual catharsis. The elements are simple, mounting, fluid, and hypnotic, and it has inspired so much of how I want to flow into writing and feeling when composing.

“Home” by Charlie Smalls, performed by Stephanie Mills

I grew up watching the movie The Wiz with my family ever since I was a child. I’m so grateful to have been immersed in this music by master jazz composer Charlie Smalls. This particular song, “Home,” uses tender nostalgic melodies that take your home from feeling like a small and intimate place and expand it out into being wherever you happen to be. Grounded, rooted, free.


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