All the way from Arizona, folk rock musician Holly Kirsten, has travelled halfway around the world for love. Kirsten was a rising music star on the US southwest music scene before she fell in love with a Central Coast boy. Upon her arrival, she soon discovered Australia had quite a strong country following and was determined to become a household name.
“I have been singing for as long as I could speak,” Kirsten said. “But it wasn’t always easy,” she said. Kirsten was born with a cleft palate and underwent surgery every year until she was six years old. In grade three, she attended speech therapy and joined the school choir which began her musical journey. She also received assistance from her father who goes by the performance alias of Carl Shepherd. He was a band leader for 40 years and has run Shepherd Entertainment Agency since 1975.
“I remember watching him as a child and him teaching me to never sing the melody to a harmony,” she said. “He always said to try and sing the more difficult notes.”
Kirsten said she played in the mould of Jewel and Alanis Morissette and had produced one live album in the US. At college, she majored in vocal performance and began playing lead roles in several American operas. She later conducted voice training and singing lessons.
“My goal is to play music every day of my life,” she said. While trying to build a future at Terrigal, Kirsten has already created a buzz among Central Coast musicians and fans. Country music legend Bill Chambers, father of Kasey and Nash Chambers, was dumbfounded by her talent and invited Kirsten to be part of his showcase at the Tamworth Country Music Festival.
Holly will be performing several gigs in the Hunter region before returning to the United States later this month.