Thank you for chatting with us! What’s the story behind your recent debut single release? I wrote Like You Do back on March 22, 2019 with two hit songwriters Jason Matthews and Mike Mobley. I remember we got to chatting about how one of us knew someone who only had an “online relationship,” meaning that they would only interact digitally (even though they lived near each other). We were cracking up at how silly that sounded. That got us thinking about how we could write a song about that same dilemma but twist it in a positive way.
That guided us into writing a song about a guy who misses his girl so much because she’s always on her phone scrolling through social media. He reminds her that the only thing that he cares about is her, and not the extra, materialistic things. To me, Like You Do perfectly describes how social media can pull people apart in their relationships. In times like these though, I think it can also pull us together - balance is key. I’m so proud of this song and I’m grateful to have been able to write it with Jason and Mike!
What was the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given about pursuing a career in music? I think the best piece of advice I was ever given about pursuing a career in music was to max-out every opportunity you have. If something comes your way, max-out that opportunity to make the most of it while it is fresh. Always chase the music and always make decisions in alignment with who you are. Lori McKenna and Tim McGraw say it best — “Let yourself feel the pride but always stay humble and kind."
Where did you grow up and how has that influenced your style of music? I was born in Houston, TX but I was raised just outside Philadelphia, PA for my pretty much my entire childhood! I call Philly home. Something I love about Bucks County, where I am from, is that it is the perfect blend between “city" and “country" life. One minute you could be in the middle of a huge corn field, and the next you could be in a huge, bustling town! It is a very beautiful and diverse area geographically — we have a little bit of everything.
I think my love for country music comes from my parents listening to it in the car in Houston when I was a baby! I always cried at Lonestar and Garth Brooks’ ballads and my first concert was a Toby Keith show in Camden, NJ! Philadelphia is a very large country music market. Superstars sell out all the local stadiums and it’s a great dynamic. I have many buddies whom I also “converted” into liking country music. The genre as a whole just speaks to me — it’s the honesty in the songwriting.
If you could have penned a song in any genre what would it have been? I wish I had penned Dolly Parton’s I Will Always Love You. What a magnificent song. There are many others but that is the first one that comes to mind!
What excites you most about the Nashville music scene right now? This is such an awesome question! What excites me most about the Nashville music scene right now is how it is evolving. Music inherently evolves over time, and I think what’s so great about Nashville right now is how so many younger artists are chasing their dreams right out of the gate. So many of my colleagues in town are incredibly talented, and there’s nothing stopping them from achieving their dreams; they’re going for it with full throttle! I will always champion my friends and I think they’re doing great. Everyone is doing amazing, and this has shown especially during this pandemic with live concerts and the recent ACM® Presents: Our Country television special. There is such a wide and interesting variety of country music now and I think it’s great!
Favorite Nashville restaurant? This is a challenging question since there are so many options! Nashville is filled with unique restaurants. I am a big fan of chicken, and I have been hitting up McDougal’s lately so I will have to say McDougal’s! The sauce variety is awesome and you can select any heat intensity you like! You also can't forget that free mini soft-serve ice cream after your meal!
If you could share a meal with any four individuals, living or dead, who would they be? My four guests to share a meal with would have to be Jesus Christ, Albert Einstein, George Washington, and Nikola Tesla. I would definitely need to bring my notebook!
What's your favorite fast-food chain? Chick-fil-A is my go-to, no doubt!
What's your favorite family recipe? My Aunt Cindy’s homemade meatballs are to die for! During the summertime at the Jersey Shore my family and I usually have them once a week. They are so good!
What is one thing you can tell us that most people don’t know about you and might surprise us? One cool fact about me is that a lot of my family is Australian! My grandmother and her relatives are Australian and about a quarter of my family (probably more than a quarter) live in Melbourne! They are so awesome and I love spending time with them whenever I get the chance! Love you and miss you all!
Finally, if you could be sponsored by one food/drink brand who would it be and why? I think a great brand would be Pure Leaf! They have great sweet tea (which I love), many organic options, and are Rainforest Alliance Certified™.
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Having acquired 16k collective internet-based followers in his first ten months as an artist alone, and claiming the consecutive rank as Philadelphia’s #1 Emerging Regional Country Artist on ReverbNation, and a semi-finalist in Unsigned Only’s 2019 Music Competition for his ballad version of Luke Combs’ hit single She Got the Best of Me, Holdyn Barder’s journey to Music City has been nothing but magical. This Houston-born, Philly-raised country artist is on his way to becoming a household name in Nashville’s next generation of Country Music, and there’s absolutely nothing in his way.
Catching the attention of artist manager Jordyn Elliott (Meghan Patrick, Buck Twenty, Eric Ethridge) in 2018, Holdyn was immediately sent to Nashville for songwriting collaborations, several of which included distinguished hit songwriter Jason Matthews (Luke Bryan, Billy Currington, Chris Young, et al.). One of those initial co-writes led Holdyn to pen his debut single Like You Do with Matthews and hit songwriter Michael Mobley (Rascal Flatts, Kenny Chesney, et al.) - releasing March 27, 2020.
Capitol Records recording artist Dierks Bentley encouraged Holdyn to “plug away” at his craft during a brief meet-and-greet opportunity several years ago in Holdyn’s hometown of Newtown, Pennsylvania, and Holdyn's doing precisely that! “I want my music to be something people can relate to,” says Holdyn. “There’s nothing better than a song that perfectly describes your feelings; I believe Like You Do is one of those songs!” Holdyn’s independently-released debut single Like You Do reached #113 on the iTunes Country Chart on its release day.