“Every so often the music industry is thrown a curve ball and all you can do is hope it doesn’t strike out.” That is how Real Rock ’n Rolla reacted when they were handed new music to review back in March. That music was from Zandi Holup’s latest and first EP, Lone Star.
A Fort Washington, Pennsylvania native, Zandi worked steadily throughout her childhood doing numerous commercials, voice-overs, television spots, and films. She was featured in "A Birder's Guide to Everything,” starring Ben Kingsley and a 2014 Tribeca Film Festival contender, and the FX hit show, “Louie,” starring award-winning comic and writer, Louis CK.
At 13, while studying guitar, piano, and voice, her vocal coach encouraged the budding poet to explore songwriting. In 2007, Zandi heard Miranda Lambert’s "More Like Her,” and fell in love with the artistry and storytelling of country music.
A rocker at heart, she began experimenting how to blend both genres into her music. After years of honing her skills, Zandi crossed paths with Kiyanu Kim, the award-winning songwriter responsible for hits like Miley Cyrus’ emotional anthem, “Wrecking Ball.”
The duo hit it off and immediately got to work on Lone Star. “[It’s] my first country record… and I really enjoyed it. It was all done in my beloved New York with local musicians, and I’m very proud of it,” said Kim. Although recorded in the concrete jungle, Lone Star has passed the litmus test of the Music City Capital’s hard-to-please country fans. “The theme throughout [Lone Star] is a little rock with a little traditional country,” says Dayne Shuda of Country Music Life.
Real Rock 'n Rolla continues, “Lonestar is filled with empowered female anthems in the fashion of Carrie Underwood, but don’t think it ends there. The title track is a reflective ballad of a young woman dreaming of a better life.”
It was a hit for Donny & Marie, and decades later it’s working for Zandi Holup. A little bit country, mixed with a little bit of rock and roll, she is set to make her mark on the music scene. Winning audiences over with her charm, and critics over with her authenticity, the stage is set for Zandi to do just that.
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