Debby Holiday may not be a household name just yet, but the odds are if youve been to a club this summer, you have heard her single Dive played on a regular basis. Holiday, the daughter of musician Jimmy Holiday (who cowrote songs like Put a Little Love in Your Heart), has a deep soulful voice that resonates on her tuneful rock album Half A Mile Away, and in the dance version of Dive, which shot to #5 on the Billboard dance charts. We sat down with Debby, who performs October 2 as part of the Kingdom party during the Gay Days at Disneyland, for a chat about her transition from rock clubs to discos.
Youre a really soulful rocker. What (or who) inspired you to make the transition to dance diva?
Well, I have to say it was a group effort. I spent the better part of 2003 portraying The Blues Singer in the awardwinning play The Trials and Tribulations of a Trailer Trash Housewife, written by the undeniably talented Del Shores. He called me up one day looking for music for his new movie. He wanted a dance track. I went looking through my songs and came up with Dive, which I had written about a year earlier. I emailed an MP3 to him and to my PR guru, Andrew Briskin. Andrew all but insisted that it needed to be a dance remix. Next thing I knew, it was in the hands of Chris Cox, Scotty K, and Scott Anderson of Solar City. They all were very excitedso I said, Damn, lets do this thang!
Did you ever think ahead of time that Dive would turn into a big, summer anthem?
[Laughs] The only indication I had was the title that Chris Cox chose: DiveChris Cox Club Anthem. The fact that he deemed it Anthem gave me a great feeling. But, honestly, I have been amazed, thrilled, and, yes, even a bit surprised by the overwhelming response to it.
Did you have a lot of gay fans before?
WowI dont really know if I had a lot. I have several gay friends who turn up at my rock/soul shows, so I guess I never really made the distinction when looking into the audience.
Whats the difference between playing a regular gig and playing a gay club or event?
Well, for me the only difference is I have the pleasure of witnessing a beautiful display of sweaty, shirtless men singing along with me and reaching up to grab my hands. Love that! [Laughs]
What made you want to perform during the Gay Days at Disneyland?
Oh, wellwho wouldnt want to play at The Happiest Place On Earth? It just seemed like the easiest thing in the worlda park full of joyIm in! I, like most folks, still get a thrill when I think of the wacky world of Walt and all the fun and fantasy he created so many years ago.
What's your favorite Disneyland ride?
Its a Small World because the sheer insanity of itis mesmerizing. You just dont get more Disneyland than that.
Who is your favorite Disney character?
Easy: Goofy. I relate to him. That should give you some insight to my nature. [Laughs]
What do you think surprises people most when they meet you?
Honestlywhat I hear the most is Wow, youre so nice and uh... normal. I suppose a lot of singers feel the need to separate themselves from others. I am just the opposite. To me, the whole idea of doing a show or singing a song is to communicate, and I dont think that communication should end when you step off the stage. I mean, thats the whole point of life: exchange with others, affirmation of our existence. And thats not easy to do if youre not open and accessible to those around you.
Would you want to sign with a major label or do you prefer doing your own thing?
Ive been thinking about that lately. If the major deal was right, I would think about it. Right, meaning, musical freedom to be who I am, sing about what turns me on and makes me ticknot someone elses vision of me. Otherwise, Ill be perfectly happy to keep on doing it my way, with or without a major nod.
Whats up next for you?
Well, Ive been so busy with Dive. Im not complaining! I would like to get back to a little more writing over the holiday season, but, most importantly, the next dance single is on the way! Its in the works as we speak. I can only hope to be equally blessed with a little bit of love from the universe on the next release as well. [Laughs] Im such a hippie. And, Ill be singing Dive and the next track around the countryand beyondin the coming months while also promoting Half a Mile Away. Guess theres not a lot of TV couch time in my immediate future. And thats damn cool with me.