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Music Journeys: Talisha Holmes

Jul 31, 2020

Talisha Holmes
Credit Xander Raymond

The Columbus Association for the Peforming Arts recently kicked off the third installment of its online concert series. Launched in April as a way to help Columbus artists during the pandemic, CAPA's ApART Together series has featured 16 musicians with another 9 scheduled for this third leg. One of the musicians performing this round is Talisha Holmes, who has a new four-song EP. In the Music Journeys podcast, Holmes explains where the songs come from and shares her thoughts on these challenging times. She also takes part in the Fast Five. Thanks for listening.  

Heal plays...

Heal comes from the first EP Talisha Holmes recorded. It seems like an appropriate starting point, given the struggles as a musician during COVID-19 and as a black woman fighting for equality.  

"I think a lot of us that don't have a 9-5 that hasn't been affected by COVID are worried," Holmes said. "Our numbers are spiking even as the rest of the world is getting back to normal. I don't know when we'll get back to having concerts and touring. I've actually done quite a bit of recording during this time so it's been productive, but I've also been able to relax and figure out where I stand and try to be helpful and active in the Black Lives Matter movement. Seeing black people be believed right now by more than just us has been really exciting, but it's also been heartbreaking. It takes so much to be heard and believed and to have people come out in the street and try to put their lives on the line to keep us from being murdered. I'm a realist but also have some hopefulness. There has to be something around the corner to make at least some of this worthwhile."

Follow Me plays...

Holmes grew up in central Ohio, attending Grove City High School and Capital University. She finds it hard to recall a time when she wasn't immersed in music. It reached another level taking part in band compilations, concerts, and the Columbus Youth Jazz Ensemble.   

"I just loved being up there and having that wall of sound of horns, drums, bass, guitar just washing over you," Holmes recalled. "Being up there dressed up with your microphone, it was just a very special feeling. It really felt like home. I really felt like my best self, I guess."   

Holmes acknowledges her new four-song EP may not be cohesive, but it represents ultimate transparency.

Right Into It plays...

"I have found that coming from a childhood of domestic violence, I have kept a closet full of secrets and it was my undoing," Holmes reflected. "I've been in therapy and worked through all of that stuff. Then I found myself in another abusive relationship, an actual romantic abusive relationship for 8 years. After all of that, I said I have to purge all of this stuff. I spent about two years doing that, and I wrote so much during that time. Just saying all of the stuff that made me embarrassed to say. Three of those made it on that collection."  

I'm Really Happy plays...

"I finally left an abusive relationship," Holmes said. "I talk about how that feels and what my day to day is like. It sucks, but when I go home, I'm safe. That's got to count for something." 

Go, Fight, Win plays...    

"I wrote that after the Michael Brown murder," Holmes said of the song Go, Fight, Win. "I was angry, just like every other time it happens. Darkness wins when we decide to lose. That made me feel a little less powerless, a little less hopeless about being able to make justice happen or make something happen. I have a right to live because my life has value. I've sung the song a few times. Every single time, I really struggle to get past that part. But yes a very powerful song for me, very emotional. It is rooted and seeded deep in the most racially-abused part of my soul." 

Sacrifice plays...

"I have lupus and fibromyalgia," Holmes said. "If you talk to anybody with an autoimmune illness, it's always being super hyper vigilant about monitoring your body and changes and pains and aches and going to the doctor to make sure it's not something crazy. It affects your mood and your relationships. I wrote that song when I was in a place of despair. I tried to be as transparent and honest about myself as I could. When I leave here, I don't want there to be any secrets. I'm still working on all that, but it's coming along." 

This Institution plays...

"It is my outlet," Holmes said of music. "I would not be here if I were not able to write and sing in front of people and feel visible and heard and seen and understood and valued. It means so much. It's everything. To challenge yourself to say the thing that you're sitting on and hiding from the world, and then say it in front of the world, it is liberation. It is freedom. It is living." 

Like many independent musicians, Holmes does have concerns moving forward during the pandemic. The online CAPA shows help, and she encourages listeners to support the artists they enjoy. 

"We're resilient for the most part, but I don't think we can exist without some patronage," Holmes said. "We have ways to continue to make music and put music out, but it costs money. I don't know how this is going to affect the output of music and art in the future when they look back on this period of time. If you see people online performing, give them something if you can afford to. Share their stuff. Share their videos.”

Talisha Holmes performs with Brandon Bjazz Scott Saturday night at 7 as part of CAPA’s ApART Together series. Here’s a link to the full schedule of artists.