Meet Holly Woods
Growing up in the deep south of New Orleans, Louisiana, Rachel Woods aka Holly Woods has come a long way in discovering herself through music. As a kid, her parents joked calling her “Holly Woods” after seeing her passion for the arts develop. She became inspired by electronic music and festival culture in her teenage years, leading her to YouTube to self-learn some mixing/producing skills where the real Holly Woods was born. Within a year Holly has attained multiple residencies at the most popular venues in her college town of Tallahassee, FL. She has also ventured elsewhere to play events such as Sunset Music Festival, Miami Music Week, The Official EDC Orlando After Party, TechYes, and more to come. Having shared the stage with talents such as Lost Kings, Crankdat, Boogie T, Two Friends, and more, Holly intends to make a statement in the industry in her many years to come.
Embracing herself as an artist, Holly has created a listening experience that could be described as “beautiful and dirty” combining elements of hard hitting melodic and future bass. She has released multiple mixes, including her “Holly Woods House Party” mix series that has gained her attention from thousands of fans around the nation. Her infectious personality is effortlessly expressed through her performance, engaging not only the crowd, but everyone around her. Holly is truly doing what she loves, and this happiness is naturally translated into every aspect of her persona. Having built her career thus far in a year’s time, it is safe to say that there is no stopping Holly’s stamina when it comes to her vision. Look out for Holly Woods coming to a city near you soon.
So you started DJing well into college, what made you take this huge leap?
Well I have always been involved with dance music, since my senior year in high school. I constantly had the drive to do more, and more, and more in the industry. So finally I had the idea to start DJing myself and it took me a year of thinking about it before I had the courage to actually go for it head first. I thought of “Holly Woods” from the start and I would catch myself thinking about it every single day. The final straw that made me make take this leap was attending a festival cruise and getting encouragement from all of the DJs on the ship that I could really make my dreams happen. Hearing it come from all of these people made me realize that I had to at least try to make my dreams come true or I would have regretted it forever. It helped clear my doubts and give me the final push to make this happen.
Did you have a mentor to teach you how to mix or are you self taught?
I had a few close friends explain the basics to me, like what each button and knob did and things like that, but when it comes down to my real knowledge I have to thank YouTube for that. I bought the equipment online and spent countless hours at my desk hunched over a computer screen. Learning isn’t only technique, but style as well so I think this gave me the chance to develop my own style.
You also just graduated from FSU this past week, (congrats!) Are you hoping to make a career out of music or follow the path of your degree?
As much as I would love to work on music every second of every day, I think for now I have to find a job that follows the path of my Editing, Writing, and Media degree. I plan to hustle as hard as I can in the music industry while working a day job so that one day (hopefully soon) I have the option to fully pursue my music passion as a career.
Do you find it harder to be a “girl DJ” and do you think there are stereotypes that come with that?
Mostly everyone I have encountered has been so encouraging and supportive of me, completely disregarding the gender differences. Of course people talk sometimes, but I hope that after they see what goes into my performance that I change their minds! This truly is a passion to me and I don’t want to be looked at as a “girl DJ”, I want to be respected equally as an artist just like everyone else. I try to disregard any negative comments and focus on the real and positive energy that I am trying to spread. Girl, boy, alien, whatever, I’m here for the music and that’s all that matters to me.
What other female DJs do you look up to?
I really look up to REZZ. I respect her hustle and I respect who she is as both an artist and a person. Though a lot of people think REZZ just “popped up and got famous so fast”, she has actually been working for like 7 years to get where she is now. She is confidently and uniquely herself and that is probably my main goal to accomplish as an artist. It is easy to fall into traps and conform to what you think the people want to see from you. Staying true to yourself and your vision has to be one of the trickiest things in the music industry. Her music, her personality, and her vibe are all authentic and I think that she deserves every ounce of success that comes her way. I aspire to hold onto these same qualities as I go through my journey.
How did you react when you found out you were going to be playing Sunset Music Festival?
Oh my god. First reaction was like a 10-hour long realization period that this was actually happening. I called my mom squealing even though she has no idea what Sunset Music Festival is, but she was happy. I literally had this weirdly huge smirk on my face all day, maybe all week. It didn’t feel real until I saw my name on the lineup and it probably won’t feel fully real until I’m there on stage. I am so excited.
Any pre-show rituals for good luck?
No rituals (yet). I try to not get nervous, but I guess I tend to do weird little dances when I’m under pressure, lol. I’ve literally done this my whole life with sports, presentations, everything. Once I’m on stage all the nerves go away though and I am totally lost in my zone for the entirety of my set. Receiving energy from the crowd really helps me get comfortable with my performance.
For more on Holly Woods, follow the links to her socials below. Don’t miss her set at Sunset Music Festival, May 27th at 4:00 in the Cool Down Tent.