An Interview With Holly Near
You are not apolitical when youre an artist,” Holly Near asserted in a recent interview. “Artists have a certain political power. . . . You're an affecter.” Few songwriters seem to really understand the implications of their words, and fewer still wield them consciously and gracefully as Holly Near. Her name has become virtually synonymous with “women’s music” — her concerts are part political rally, part feminist meeting, and part pure entertainment. Unabashedly feminist, lesbian, anti-military and radical, Near is also unabashedly human. When she rears back her head of blond hair and sings songs in polished soprano, you can tell she’s felt each word. Her songs are passionate and revealing — whether it be passion about a new lover, or the B-1 bomber, the sincerity shines through. In her eleven-year, eight-album career, Near has shifted style and emphasis many times. She consistently defies her own labels. Through it all she’s found a rare, fine harmony between politics and music, righteous anger and warm good humor.