Artist to Watch: Abby Holliday Soars in Stunning Second Single “8 Hours”

Abby Holliday
Abby Holliday
An intimate anthem for insomniacs, empaths, and more, Abby Holliday’s stunning “8 Hours” is a dazzling upheaval full of searing emotions and soaring sonics. The second track off the singer/songwriter’s forthcoming debut earns her “artist-to-watch” status, ensuring that we pay close attention to her for years to come.
for fans of Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, Leah Capelle, Snail Mail
Stream: “8 Hours” – Abby Holliday
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An anthem for insomniacs, empaths, and more, Abby Holliday’s second single is a dazzling upheaval full of searing emotions and soaring sonics. Intimate, intense feelings and heavy life events coalesce in dramatic fashion on “8 Hours,” a dynamic, emotionally-charged indie pop song that captures reality in raw, real form. With so much hardship and so many problems, how can we possibly hope to get 8 hours’ sleep at night?

8 Hours - Abby Holliday
8 Hours – Abby Holliday
Grandma is drinkin’ again
I’m feelin’ foolish, ’cause I thought she would quit
Is it something I did?
Something I did?
Best friend and I don’t talk anymore
One day I woke up and it felt different
Is it something I said?
Or something I did?

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering “8 Hours,” Abby Holliday’s stunning sophomore single and the latest release taken off her forthcoming debut album, When We’re Far Apart I Fall Apart (due out later this year). A 24-year-old singer/songwriter from Cincinnati, Holliday debuted on April 1st of this year with her first single “April Fools,” a sentimental and heartfelt tune also featuring Tyler Jarvis and Jack Price. Whereas that song adopted a lighthearted, laid-back vibe (think Josie Dunne), “8 Hours” immerses the senses in radiant guitars, hushed vocals, and heavier beats more reminiscent of Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, Snail Mail, and Atwood artist-to-watch Leah Capelle.

Glistening chords shimmer and swoon around the ears as Holliday paints a portrait of the tension and strain going on within and around her: The song’s verses speak to a myriad of troubling situations (“Grandma is drinkin’ again,” “Best friend and I don’t talk anymore,”) while in the song’s thrilling chorus she, quite understandably, expresses her struggle sleeping – of getting those long-sought after eight hours of rest and having oneself a good night’s sleep.

Can we pretend that everything’s alright?
And that none of it keeps us up at night
Can we pretend that everything’s alright?
Like we’re getting 8 hours
8 hours of sleep at night

The metaphor of looking and feeling refreshed “like we’re getting 8 hours” is as clever as it is instantly relatable. It’s a motif that comes up again and again throughout the song, as Holliday continues to work through everything from her neighbors’ divorce and its impact on their child, to her own desire to stop pretending that everything’s okay and to be honest with each other about our problems.

Abby Holliday
Abby Holliday

“I wrote ‘8 Hours’ towards the beginning of quarantine,” Abby Holiday tells Atwood Magazine. “I was writing so many songs then… because what else was there to do? I moved back home with my family for the time being, which in many ways was great. I’ve always been really close with my family. But it also came with new challenges. I was having a hard time sleeping the first month I moved home with them, mainly because my mental health wasn’t great, and there was just a lot on my mind. I didn’t really tell anyone… it felt like it would be a burden, or I would just be complaining. Sometimes it’s just easier to go about our lives on our own… or at least that’s what we tell ourselves. I’m a deep feeler, and there were some heavy life events that were hitting me hard. That’s when the song just bursted out of me.”

Holliday’s second verse is particularly moving – a cinematic storytelling adventure of distress seen from afar:

My neighbors been in love since I was a kid
Just signed the papers, they’re calling it quits
They said it was easy – was it easy?
‘Cause their little girl came up to me and said,
“Mommy’s moving out but she’ll be right back.”
So don’t tell me that’s easy

As her lyrics dive deeper and deeper, Holliday’s instrumental work soars with expressive grace and immersive grooves. Just like in her song, there’s a facade to the music that we can see right through, as long as we’re paying attention.

“We all pretend,” Holliday says. “Every day, we pretend. I think me pretending that everything’s alright has only taken me to places that I do not wish to remain. I’m grateful for the people who have pulled me out of denial and isolation, and I hope this song challenges others to do the same for themselves.”

Holliday finally finds catharsis in a wondrous release of pent-up passion; having observed all these things going on, and how she and everyone else tries to write it all away and “pretend that everything’s alright,” she ultimately comes clean and asks herself and the world to open up and be true:

Please don’t pretend that everything’s alright
And that none of it keeps you up at night
Please don’t pretend that everything’s alright
You look like you got 8 hours of sleep last night
I’m one to talk about not pretending
I’m one to say you should let it out
But the truth is
I haven’t said what I meant in so long
I just pretend that everything’s alright
And that none of it keeps me up at night
I just pretend that everything’s alright
Like I’m getting 8 hours of sleep at night

Fueled by mesmerizing harmonies and Holliday’s rich, evocative vocal performance, it’s a beautifully moving overhaul of feverish feelings – the kind of surrender we need in order to move on. With so much movement and such effortless polish, it’s hard to believe this is only the beginning for Abby Holliday. Making her debut album was itself a process of discovery and learning along the way.

“My experience making this record was… innocent,” she reflects. “Up until this point, I’ve had no agenda in writing music. I’ve just done it because I truly have fallen in love with songwriting. When I do not know how to put something into words, I can somehow put it into song. These songs feel like the truest expression of me, Abby Holliday. All of these songs just started with me, in my room, with my guitar. I couldn’t be happier with the way they’ve turned out since taking them to the studio. I am eternally grateful for my producer, Jon Class, and my amazing team of people who made this record happen. I’m constantly reminded that I can’t do any of this by myself.”

Holliday hopes her music connects with listeners.

“When people hear the record, I hope they feel understood. A lot of these songs came from feelings that I was alone, or that I was just weird or different in the way that my brain processes things. These songs are specific, and very personal to my life.”

I hope others relate to them and feel the raw emotion that’s been poured into the record.

Abby Holliday
Abby Holliday

Introspective and honest, confessional and achingly visceral, Abby Holiday has made an unforgettable entrance with “8 Hours.”

She may be a newcomer, but her song’s singular passion and weight have earned her the title of “artist to watch,” and we cannot wait to hear When We’re Far Apart I Fall Apart when it arrives later this year. For now, get lost in the stirring depths of “8 Hours,” exclusively streaming on Atwood Magazine!

I just pretend that everything’s alright
And that none of it keeps me up at night
I just pretend that everything’s alright
I wish that I got 8 hours
8 hours of sleep at night

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Stream: “8 Hours” – Abby Holliday
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8 Hours - Abby Holliday

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