Taking a Holiday

9.12.2004

By Jeffrey Epstein

Debby Holiday may not be a household name just yet, but the odds are if you've 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.

You're 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 award'winning 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 excited'so I said, 'Damn, let's 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: 'Dive'Chris 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?
Wow'I don't 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.

What's 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, well'who wouldn't want to play at 'The Happiest Place On Earth'? It just seemed like the easiest thing in the world'a park full of joy'I'm 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?
'It's a Small World' because the sheer insanity of it'is mesmerizing. You just don't 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?
Honestly'what I hear the most is 'Wow, you're 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 don't think that communication should end when you step off the stage. I mean, that's the whole point of life: exchange with others, affirmation of our existence. And that's not easy to do if you're 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?
I've 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 tick'not someone else's vision of me. Otherwise, I'll be perfectly happy to keep on doing it my way, with or without a major nod.

What's up next for you?
Well, I've been so busy with 'Dive.' I'm 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! It's 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] I'm such a hippie. And, I'll be singing 'Dive' and the next track around the country'and beyond'in the coming months while also promoting Half a Mile Away. Guess there's not a lot of TV couch time in my immediate future. And that's damn cool with me.

For more about Debby, go to DebbyHoliday.com. And to get tickets to Kingdom, visit GayDay2.com.

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