The case of Holly Henry was always a bit of an intriguing one for The Voice. Despite a hauntingly gorgeous, gentle vocal that could’ve been honed-in upon by the coaches, she was inexplicably cut during the Knockout Round. Thankfully, this didn’t keep the young singer/songwriter from singing or songwriting, and she’d just recently released her debut studio EP, ‘The Immigrant’, this past December as a result of her work throughout the year. In it, she displays the beyond-her-years nuance and musicality that one would have hoped out of her during an extended Voice run, effectively putting detractors down while pleasing current fans and welcoming a whole new set of ears to enjoy her songs, yet.
Essentially, ‘The Immigrant’ is the affectingly introverted alternative/folk-driven record that you would have hoped for it to be, displaying Holly’s unique sense of self dead-front-and-center from start to beginning and serving as a competent showcase of what she can really do as a musical artist. Though the vision for the EP is clear, all of the tracks are fed to the listener through a delivery that isn’t in any way bored or dreary, but instead quietly confident and impassioned. This is squarely exhibited in the album’s opener, “Paper Clips”, which conjures up a mellow acoustic arrangement and vocal delivery in a way that effortlessly conveys something poignant and evocatively nostalgic, perfect for “thinker’s music” in that it relays a message that is bound to have you recalling some rose-tinted memories of your own.
“Sink” is a tune that inspires hints of Kid A in Henry’s stirringly elegant cadences while title track “The Immigrant” conjures up a choral progression that wouldn’t be out of place on a record of Bon Iver’s, but it’s in the naturally elegiac way of conveying these tracks’ meanings to the listener in a way that goes beyond just some notes on a page sung into a studio mic that is truly impressive. Henry is a master of her very specific, idiosyncratic craft, altogether intuitive and wholly instinctive in design. Her musical influences shine through on this mini-record in a way that, yes, they pay homage to an understated style that has thankfully been returning to the forefront in recent years, but also, and even more-so, show off who Holly Henry herself is within her very soul.
Not any artist could lay their heart out on a track in the way that Holly has here. ‘The Immigrant’ is sets listeners on a musical journey relative to her deeper and innermost self, and it is in that meditative, perfectly imperfect setting that Henry finds herself right at home musically, delivering what is surely one of the most magnificent releases by a Voice contestant yet– and she didn’t even make the finals.
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Closing note: Henry’s head voice, exhibited best on “To Drift”, is nothing short of gorgeous.