Hi friends! So, I must admit that I have a huge girl crush on today's Celebration Series interviewee. And I think that by the time you finish reading this interview you'll agree with me. :)
Today we're chatting with Holly Ann Winchell, who quite honestly may have the most beautiful singing voice I've ever heard. And in addition to being an incredible singer/songwriter, Holly lends her talents to our church, Door of Hope, as the volunteer coordinator.
Holly is incredibly kind, wise, selfless, poised and talented beyond belief. And since I clearly can't stop talking about her voice, I'll just say again that it's hauntingly beautiful. It will stop you right in your tracks, which is great, because you'll want to be sitting down when you hear her lyrics. Her words are raw, honest and resonate so deeply. Holly is bringing her light and wisdom to the world through her art and I totally recommend that you listen.
So with that, let's get into the interview!
Give us a quick background on who you are and what you do for work.
I am a twenty something still deciding what I want to be when I grow up! What that looks like in this season of life is working at church Called Door of Hope in the heart of Portland, OR with hundreds of really unique and delightful volunteers by day. By night, you can find me playing piano and singing my heart out around Portland, or in the comfort of my home. I've recorded two full length albums over the past several years and have sung/played with many other talented musicians on their albums as well!
What about your work brings you the most joy and fulfillment?
Art, to me, is the most vibrant and honest aspect of cultures across the board. Joy is the perfect word to describe getting to contribute to world in such a meaningful way. It brings me a lot of fulfillment to get to shut my self in a room and pour my heart out and then record those song for the world to not just hear, but to connect with on a soul level. We could really use more unity in the world right now, and music is one of the things that has an uncanny ability to cross through personal, political and spiritual boundaries and speak to many different types of people all at once. To have music as something that fills my soul, and other people's at the same time- even if we've never met. That really is Joy.
I don't want to skip out on the joy and fulfillment of my day job- that is after all where I dedicate most of my time! Working alongside volunteers who are all in vastly different seasons of life and see Jesus in a myriad of different ways really brings me deep Joy. I get to serve alongside some pretty incredible people and see them learn and grow in their understanding and desire to love and serve others. Its such a humbling thing to walk amidst the stories of so many- and to watch them all lean in on each other while they grow in their knowledge and love for a Jesus who becomes more real and more present everyday. To get to spend my days around people who care deeply about bringing Gods kingdom to the world and carrying each others burdens in a self-sacrificial way... it doesn't get much more fulfilling than that.
Who or what is inspiring you right now?
Musically: I just put Brand New's "The Devil and God are Raging Inside me" into my cd player in my car and have re-fallen in love with every song on that album.
Personally: Cliche, or not- My mom! I've watched her walk through some really heavy stuff this last year and her joy for life and easy going spirit never cease to amaze me. She finds a way to love everyone well, while also making time for herself and things that she loves. I'm always so inspired by the way she lives!
What has been difficult lately?
Honestly, its been a difficult year in many respects so far (though mixed with some really incredible moments!) To sum up what's particularly difficult in a word- I would say balance. There have been two unexpected deaths in my family over the last few months. Amidst an already overwhelming life I have a hard time processing and grieving well. I haven't been writing music as much either due to the busyness which exacerbates the heaviness I already feel. I think its just time for a vacation. :)
What makes you different from everyone else in the world and how does that uniqueness manifest itself in your work and life?
Wow- this question kind of stumps me! I don't know that I could articulate specific things about me that make me unlike anyone else you've ever met.. But I will say that the confidence that I have something to say, that is unique to my own personal experience, is a big piece of what keeps me writing music. We all have different life experience and core convictions, and we need that collective wisdom to grow! I can definitely say I'm not the only person who has ever had doubts about the sincerity of my belief in God, who's felt lost, or who's experienced the kind of love that knocks you off your feet- but I can say that when I write about these topics, I get to share my one of kind perspective. And its pretty amazing to me that when I choose to lay my "different" and brutally honest self out for the world to see in a song- those are the songs that my listeners feel most connected to. I love that.
What's the most embarrassing thing in your google search history?
SO I haven't google searched my maiden name in awhile... but I'm pretty sure if you do, you'll find some old archives of me winning a bowling competition or two back in middle school. I was the most serious twelve year old bowler you could have ever met- with my own ball and shoes to boot. And actually... I'm still more proud than embarrassed of my bowling days. I definitely saved some trophies. My competitiveness really knows no bounds.