Miami-based singer/songwriter Judah Holiday delivers a timeless breed of pop music full of infectious melodies and hypnotic beats, a dynamic that makes every track instantly euphoric. On his forthcoming debut album, that warm and breezy sound serves as a backdrop for his deeply reflective lyrics—and ultimately turns his unflinching honesty into something powerfully life-affirming.
The lead single from Holiday’s debut, “Good Life” brings his nuanced songwriting to a piano-laced and impossibly sunny track sparked from a 2018 stint in rehab. “I started taking Adderall as a kid because I was a terrible student, and after a while it just became a part of me,” says Holiday. “I basically grew up thinking that I needed medication in order to do well in life.” Co-produced and co-written by Kevin Rudolf (the singer/songwriter/producer known for his four-times-platinum hit “Let It Rock”), “Good Life” brilliantly counters the bleakness of rehab with the brightness of sobriety—a contrast brought boldly to life in the song’s riveting video.
Growing up in the Bronx, Holiday began playing drums at age seven, then moved on to guitar in order to explore his natural affinity for melody. After writing his first song at age 14, he steadily built up a body of work showing the strength of his melodic talents, and later began gigging at iconic venues like CBGB Gallery. Although he quickly became a regular on the Lower East Side scene, Holiday increasingly longed for a change of pace, and in 2011 relocated to Miami. With his surroundings igniting an intense fascination with electronic dance music, he then immersed himself in studying production and introduced a whole new vitality into his sound. He also soon crossed paths with Rudolf, after serendipitously buying a guitar from his fellowNew York native. “I played him some acoustic versions of songs of mine, and he ended up digging them, and now we work together almost every day,” Holiday says.
As his artistry has evolved over the years, Holiday’s music remains rooted in a classic sense of songcraft (largely inspired by his lifelong love of artists like James Taylor and Neil Young) and—above all—his undeniable intuition for unforgettable melody. “Usually the melodies come to me at the most unexpected times, like waking up from a nightmareat 3 a.m. or being out at breakfast with a bunch of friends,” Holiday points out. And by rigorously following those instincts, he continually channels a feel-good energy into even the most vulnerable material. “I started making music because I had a lot of trouble expressing myself, and songwriting was a way for me to speak my mind without interruption,” says Holiday. “Today I still just write based on what I’m feeling in the moment, and if it ends up connecting with people and makes them want to sing along, then that makes me happy too.
Catch our interview with Judah Holiday below and make sure to check out his debut album Feelings in My Head!
Interview by Lexi Schnell
What was the experience like making your first ever full-length album?
The album process was fun and surreal. Spending all of your days writing down ideas which then turn into finished products is a super cool process to witness.
What was going through your head days before the album’s release?
Are people going to like it? Are all the tracks mastered equally? What if they’re not? What if all my songs suck and no one likes it and many more intrusive, irrational thoughts.
How has the fan response been to your debut album?
Very supportive and very involved. It’s hard connecting with people on a personal level through just sharing photos or tweets but when I received personal messages about how peoples’ lives changed because of a song of mine….what?!?
What was it like getting to work with Kevin Rudolf?
Really fun. It was like playing ping pong against someone much better than you. Everything he did was just spot on and perfect and I’m very fortunate to have been able to work with him on this album.
What are your personal favorite lyrics you’ve ever written?
“My Tour Bus looking all filled up with my wife, my band and my two pups” (All That I Got Tonight). That’s really what my dream has always been…having the people I love be around me while I pursue my passion. It’s sort of selfish in a way but hey you can’t win ‘em all.
Your album is titled Feelings in My Head, how important is it to you to be honest in your music about what you are going through?
Very important. Music is my therapy and I write these songs to help myself feel better during a rough time.
What song off this album means the most to you?
Move On – It was the only song I actually wrote in rehab. I was afraid to write because I couldn’t record myself so I was scared I wouldn’t remember how something went but luckily that song is really catchy and the melody stayed with me throughout rehab.
Who were your biggest musical inspirations for this album or in general?
Mat Kearney, Gavin Degraw, Lauv.
Multiple songs mention your sobriety, is it important for you to reduce the stigma around alcoholism and rehab?
I can’t control what people think about addiction. I personally have experience with it and know the severities. I mention sobriety in my music because it is therapeutic for me to recall certain times in my life that involve addiction and that’s really the only reason.
Do you have any future tour plans to promote the album?
I plan on going on tour early 2020 check judahholiday.com for news and updates!