Q&A - Holly Macve - The Mind Map
By Tess Leigh-Phillips

Q&A – Holly Macve

It’s going to feel so special when we’re able to have gatherings again.

Published 01/03/2021
When broken love left Holly Macve “depressed, lost and lonely”, she returned home to Yorkshire to write. This resulted in her debut album, 2017’s Golden Eagle

Holly’s musical roots go deep. Born in Galway, Holly was surrounded by music. Her grandad was a classical composer and her mother, also a singer, imparted a love of blues and Bob Dylan before Holly discovered Leonard Cohen, Johnny Cash, Gillian Welch, and Nick Cave, among others.

At 18, she moved to Brighton and worked in a café while singing on open mic nights.

With music in the genes, Holly’s experience ranges from classical to jazz, with a brooding and melancholy sound, inspired by the experience of lost love..

A love of the sea and a yoga routine form part of what has kept Holly going through this lockdown.

I too can second the power of nature, and a bit of exercise, when you feel your mood lowering.

Like Holly says, “be kind to yourself!”  Let’s find out a bit more about her…

How has the pandemic affected your mental health?

I had a very difficult time with my mental health during the year prior to the lockdown, and at the beginning of 2020 I was in a better place than I had been for a while.

When Covid came along I was devastated about all my plans/ tours being cancelled, but I was actually coping okay (at the time I was on medication, this helped).

Since then I have had my ups and downs and general anxiety about the world, but I feel lucky to be in a secure living situation and have the sea at my doorstep.

I really feel for the people who are living alone through this.

Are you doing anything differently to look after your mental health during this period?

I’ve been trying to keep up a yoga routine in the mornings – only 10 – 15 mins.

I’ve also just been trying allow myself to relax when I feel down or unmotivated.

I tend to feel guilty if I’m not working on something or moving forward in life, but we’re living through pretty crazy and uncertain times right now, I think we have to try and be kind to ourselves as much as possible.

What are you looking forward to doing once things improve?

Playing shows and festivals! I really have missed that kind of connection with other people.

I’m also looking forward to seeing friends and family all in one place at the same time.

It’s going to feel so special when we’re able to have gatherings again and share experiences together.

I feel like I’m going to appreciate things so much more.

That’s the one positive thing that might come out of this…

What new TV, films, music or books have you discovered during lockdown that you’d recommend?

Film has saved me through lockdown – I have watched so much great stuff.

The past few weeks I’ve been completely obsessed with Al Pacino. I would highly recommend ‘Dog Day Afternoon’ and ‘Serpico’.

Another thing I would recommend is the BFI player subscription. That really opened my eyes up to a whole new world of cinema.

I discovered films such as ‘Maborosi’ and ‘Betty Blue’.

I’m currently reading Kim Gordon’s ‘Girl In A Band’ which is very inspiring.

What advice would you give to 16 year old you?

Stop worrying so much about what others think of you, it’s a waste of time.

Also put the bleach down, your hair is going to fall out soon and you’ll be sad.

If you had to draw a pie chart for what keeps you mentally well – what would it look like (ie 20% good sleep, 20% connection, 20% medication, 40% medication)

20% connection with friends and family, 20% watching films 20% walks by the sea 20% creating 10% sleeping, 10% cooking & eating.

What are you passionate about?

I’m passionate about Music (obviously!), Film, Nature, Beautiful landscapes, Dogs, Dolly Parton.

Tell us something not many people know about you.

I can tap dance, Ginger Rogers was a hero of mine as a child. I’ve never eaten meat in my life.

My Grandma (Clare Druce) and her mum had a campaign called ‘Chicken Lib’ in the 70’s. They were animal rights activists.

There’s a great picture of them standing outside 10 Downing Street, handing in a petition with Spike Milligan.

New album Not The Girl is released 16 May via Modern Sky. Pre-order here.