Bijou Holiday: Locally Famous

The Feel It album cover, designed and created by the album’s composer, Bijou Holiday. Illustration by Bijou Holiday.

Bijou Holiday began her life as an ordinary, musically disinclined child. It wasn’t until middle school that her creativity and musical ability truly began to come into fruition. Holiday had already found her voice — she loved to sing. However, she hadn’t yet tried her luck with playing any sort of instrument. During her eighth grade year she boldly decided to build upon the familiar vocal expression she had grown up with and taught herself how to play guitar. She was inspired by her Harvey Scott Elementary School friends Chloe Huskey and Max Culp, who encouraged Holiday to broaden her musical horizons. Huskey’s influences on this budding Portland artist continue to grow both in number and in the weight of her effects. The pair taught each other how to be assertive; each thought they learned the skill from the other when in fact they developed it together. “Chloe is my important people,” says Holiday, now age 17, her smile as radiant as her love for her best friend.

When Holiday was young, she had an incredibly streamlined idea of what her ideal future would look like. However, she has had 10 years to grow into a more creative and independent version of herself. Being a happily married teacher no longer sounds like the best life in her eyes. She would much rather spend her distant days living in a big house filled with friends, doing all kinds of art, and traveling often. Holiday hopes that her music will be known and appreciated; however she’d only like to be locally famous— significant enough that she’s known around her city, but not to the point that she runs the risk of losing her privacy and freedom. Although her ambitions have drastically changed over the past decade, her unique and sometimes random personality has developed into a more complex version of one original story. The various chapters of her life highlight unexplored aspects of her character,  such as the “sad girl with a ukelele phase” and her elementary school tradition of singing a Beatles song (accompanied by Huskey’s piano) every year at the annual talent show.

Holiday’s first album, Feel It, is gentle, fierce, and everything in between. Each of the fourteen original tracks has an enticingly individual story, and a beautiful blend of musical influences. When listening to the different songs of her latest creation, Holiday says she can hear all the artists that she likes influencing her own music, each from seperate musical phases of her life. “‘Feel It’ has some strong 2009 Miley in it,” Huskey firmly states, referring to the song “Feel It,” and not the entire album. The second song of Feel It is soothing, yet Holiday’s voice and emotions resonate throughout the listener’s body, causing you to really feel it as you listen. The majority of the album was recorded during Holiday’s three hour breaks while working at YMCA Camp Collins as a summer camp counselor. At camp she goes by the chosen ‘camp name’ of Yam. Much as the name Yam represents Holiday’s camp persona, the color pink has a similar relationship with her music. She describes herself as loud, creative, and pink. “That’s kind of my musical persona. I have to wear pink at all times.”

Despite how flawlessly the newly released album flows through the listener’s ears, the process of bringing the project to life did not flow quite as smoothly as Holiday would’ve liked it to. Not only was it difficult to find places at camp that were quiet enough to record songs in, but her microphone stopped working while she was recording the final album track. She was forced to mix the song herself on her laptop. Since Holiday spent the week leading up to the Feel It release party working at camp rather than being home, the preparations for the release party proved to be difficult to say the least. Living forty minutes from home, average errands such as replacing a broken microphone simply were not possible.

Those around her are drawn in by her charmingly intuitive energy, an aura that is constantly improved by the countless connections Holiday creates with others. Be it children at summer camp, or her best friend of nine years, the people in her life influence Holiday and her music immensely. She loves camp enough that she was there almost all summer even though she had an album to produce, and she keeps going back because of  the “connections [counselors] have with the kids there.” As she went from a musically intrigued camper to an influential counselor and talented musician, Holiday developed a beautifully unique performance style which you can experience for yourself on Spotify, iTunes, Google or Amazon Music, and over twenty other platforms. Holiday says that Chloe showed her the world. Listen to her album Feel It to let her share her world with you.

 

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