Today, Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter/producer Hollis (full name Hollis Wong-Wear) announces ‘Subliminal,’ her debut solo album out this fall. The forthcoming record was recorded during the pandemic shutdown, with artistic collaborations held over Zoom.
“The album is a document of the highs and lows, all of the self-consciousness and soul-seeking, cracking myself open to find hope within all of the unknowns,” says Hollis. “It was also a period of growth for me as a music creator, a lyricist, and a singer, and an opportunity to work with dear friends.”
New single “Less Like,” produced by producer/recording artist Sweater Beats (Lizzo, Panic! At the Disco) is out today. The slick alt-pop track, reminiscent of a Clairio song, showcases Hollis’ “hypnotic” (Billboard) vocals.
The video for “Less Like” sees Hollis sporting eccentric 70s style dresses and jumpsuits as she traverses through flamboyantly colorful shape-shifting scenes. Shot and directed by Hollis’ close friend, frequent collaborator, and recording artist KO aka Koala, the visual was created by a team of queer and POC women, continuing Hollis’ tradition of collaborating with underrepresented talent.
“This song is all about how even with all the time and space, we’re still just who we are — feeling like a counterfeit prodigy, wishing we could be lighter, brighter, more realized, all with a breezy sing-a-long vibe,” Hollis shares. “It’s an anthem for us all to admit we’re not exactly who we wish we were but we’re just gonna keep rolling with it anyway.”
Hollis, who added “recording engineer” to her resume with ‘Subliminal,’ teamed up with Macklemore collaborator Ryan Lewis as co-writer on her upcoming single “Let Me Not” (Hollis earned a 2014 Grammy nomination for her work on Macklemore and Lewis’ The Heist, including vocals and songwriting for their hit “White Walls” and video production for “Thrift Shop” and “Wings”).
Single “Grace Lee” is a moving, introspective tribute to the late Chinese-American social activist Grace Lee Boggs and features writing credits from Hollis’ frequent collaborator and live accompanist Chucky Kim.
Named a Pigeons and Planes Best New Artist Of the Month, Hollis is also the lead singer for the Seattle-based indie R&B trio The Flavr Blue, which featured K-R&B star Jay Park on its project “365.”
Community support, equality, and grassroots mobilization drive many of Hollis’ initiatives. The tour concept for her February 2020 EP half-life, “Hollis Does Brunch,” was designed to unite artists, small business owners, and organizers in person; during the pandemic, she pivoted to live-streamed Sunday gatherings. The series raised close to $30,000 for COVID mutual aid, Black-led organizing, and community causes, leading the Seattle Times to call it “an unexpected grassroots fundraiser.”
Hollis’ early days as a teen slam poet and spoken word artist — along with inspiration from Seattle’s grassroots hip hop scene and its intersection with social justice — laid the groundwork for her ongoing appearances as a speaker and moderator. Hollis speaks on topics such as empowered creativity and independent artistry. She is a host and writer for Breaking Down the Biz with Splice (“What is Music Copyright?”) and the lead producer of Take Creative Control: The Series, a program that features artists of color and their personal and professional stories as it relates to intellectual property law. She is also a co-curator of Bravespace, a compilation of Asian American recording artists and composers presented by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, due for release this fall (and including Hollis’ track “Subliminal”).