the shape of leadership

All the Right Notes

A Q&A with Hollyn

Influence Magazine on July 29, 2019

Holly Marie Miller Wilson, known by her stage name, Hollyn, is a Christian musician, songwriter and performer. Raised in a Christian home, she started writing music at the age of 14 and recorded her first EP at 15. Hollyn is married to Dillon Wilson, former young adults pastor at Oaks Church (Assemblies of God) in Red Oak, Texas, where Wilson’s father, Scott, is the senior pastor. Hollyn has toured with Winter Jam 2019 and Newsboys, and has features on tracks from TobyMac.

INFLUENCE: Where did you hone your skills for songwriting, singing and performing?
I’ve always had a passion for music. Ever since I can remember, that’s how I’ve expressed myself. To me, songwriting is a way to connect immediately. Regardless of what a song says, you can provoke emotion. What’s beautiful about art is it requires opinion, honesty and creativity. God is the ultimate creative. So, it’s an ongoing progression through us, as human beings, to continue that expression.

You were on Season 12 of American Idol, where you made it to the Hollywood week rounds. What was that experience like for you?
It was a unique experience. It pushed me to ask myself what I wanted to do with my art, and who I wanted to surround myself with. As a 15-year-old at the time, it opened my eyes to another level of the industry I had never been exposed to before. Every part of my life so far has allowed me to pick up knowledge that I’ve used ever since, so I’m thankful for it.

I want my friends and listeners to understand that life isn’t meant to be done alone.”
— Hollyn
How do you hear from God when it comes to songwriting? What is the process of turning it into lyrics that minister to people?

I believe that our own lives are the fuel for creativity. Looking around to see who we surround ourselves with, situations day to day, and our expression of emotions play a key role in why and how I write music. For me, it’s all about connection. If I can tap into how I am feeling, and be vulnerable, I hope that openness can bring comfort to other people who have been through the same situations as me. 

What message are you hoping to convey through your music to young people today?
I want my friends and listeners to understand that life isn’t meant to be done alone. A lot of times, we shut off how we are actually feeling to fuel a facade. I want to do my best to give them a safe place with my art to sing along, be encouraged to tell their friends what’s happening in their lives, and to know life can be beautiful in the midst of pain. Even to see that pain is growth and freedom in disguise sometimes. All we have to do is talk to each other.

What is your favorite Scripture verse, and why is it important to you?
Galatians 6:2: “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” It’s our purpose in life — to love each other, no matter our differences, and to help carry the weight. If we aren’t doing that, why are we here?

This article originally appeared in the July/August 2019 edition of Influence magazine.

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