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  • Renee Collins Cobb

How Holly Forbes Continues to Garner "Legendary" Feedback From A Variety Of "Grande" Experiences

Possessing a resilience against disheartenment, disillusionment and disappointment over many years, Holly Forbes has come to correlate the word “no” to simply mean “not now”.

“The POWER is beautiful, and I love your passion, too. You are such a gifted vocalist”

John Legend

The most courageous and resilient of singer/songwriters seem to know how to organically structure a presentation of their music, whether it be live on stage, over the airwaves, or on an album or streaming platform – with appropriate balance of an innate ability to both capture the listener’s attention and to modulate the cognitive and affective state simultaneously without the listener even being aware. In what many can describe, with great confidence, as being the most exciting and frightening years in the last generation of the production of music and the performance of it, the arrival of a new era of opportunity in music has not only been welcomed but has also been embraced as one that has undoubtedly ushered in the most marvelous of opportunities that have challenged a singer/songwriter in ways that the experience of “doing music” has ever challenged them before.

Yet, during this time, Holly Forbes has chosen triumph over trials, victory over defeat, “yes” over “no” and faith over fear in setting forth to achieve a life-long endeavor of singing, songwriting and securing a well -deserved and masterfully executed place in the global musical scene. In just a few short minutes on national television, Holly Forbes brought a rendition of “Rocketman” to the blind auditions on NBC’s The Voice that resulted in a rare 4-chair turn from coaches Kelly Clarkson, John Legend, Ariana Grande and Blake Shelton. That video now has more than 2.4 million views.

The simple truth is this, with a magnetic and infectious personality, gracious attitude and kind spirit combined with a most noted and recognized "passion with a purpose" style of singing and songwriting, Holly Forbes is creating music that has an IMPACT when needed, INSPIRATION when created, INTROSPECTION when actualized and INTELLECT when performed for the audience who is the true beneficiary of all of the time and careful and intentional thought spent in creating the magnificent collection of original songs while integrating a most delightful presentation of her favorites cover songs in a variety of settings - whether it be for a university choral ensemble, on national TV, in a holiday show, on a cruise ship, in an awareness campaign effort, for a major festival, performing with a major orchestra, or at historic theaters like the one in her own hometown- The Paramount Arts Center.

Being a Top 10 finalist on Season 21 of The Voice provided Holly with the opportunity to just be her genuine and authentic self and to show the world just what kind of artist she and others have always known herself to be. As a result of her national appearance on network television, she could now showcase her talents to a global audience on a platform met with a level of support unlike she had ever experienced before. In addition, came praise like this….

The big moment…the solo…you killed it”,

-Blake Shelton

“You continue to get better and you are so phenomenal”

– Arianna Grande

It has been said that

“music – once admitted into the soul, becomes a sort of spirit and never dies

- Lytton

In her middle school years, Holly Forbes arrived for class one day dressed as Elton John and confidently and without reservation, gave a presentation of his music to her classmates. This early vision and what was most likely a show stopping middle school presentation by any measure - probably served her well during this one monumental on the national television arena - the well-recognized stage of The Voice on NBC.

Born in Lexington, KY, she grew up in Greenup County and currently lives in Catlettsburg. Originally from Argillite, KY, Holly, her father, Barry and sister, Erika, performed gospel music together as “The Forbes Family”. Holly later took her love of music and her academic endeavors to Morehead State University where she spent her collegiate years studying both music education and vocal performance. During her freshman year, a video of Holly singing “Peace Like a River” with her gospel ensemble earned praise on You Tube, with people all over the world contacting her professor, Dr. Roosevelt Escalante – a mentor that Holly calls “a huge inspiration”.

Prior to her appearance and long run as a Top 10 Finalist on NBC’s "The Voice" in Season 21 of the show - she had previously auditioned multiple times for American Idol, America’s Got Talent and for four previous seasons of "The Voice" – each audition leading to the learning and collection of new ideas to take to the next audition. Possessing a resilience against disheartenment, disillusionment and disappointment over many years, Holly has come to correlate the word “NO” to simply mean “NOT NOW”.

In your own world, and you're just so incredibly beautiful in your own thing, every single time. You're in your own lane I think, and you're incredible.

During her time on The Voice, her fans were proclaiming that she was about ready to become the next “Adele” however, Blake Shelton had a good and sound counter-argument of sorts, responding that she might possibly be in her "own lane" and should be void from comparison to other celebrity voices while on the show.

Holly is a unique vocalist with a honey-sweet tone and a signature soulful sound who performs many different genres of music including Americana, Pop, Soul, R & B, Rock, Country, Bluegrass, Rap and Gospel. And never more was this well-rounded and robust offering of genre and diverse style of singing demonstrated than through her performances on The Voice.

Performing Elton John’s “Rocketman” alone turned all four of the judge’s chairs during her blind audition. Later performing Heart’s “Alone”, Donna Summer’s “Last Dance”, and Garth Brooks “The Dance”, Ariana Grande proclaimed Holly to be a “brilliant” singer and performer with an “infectious energy”. Holly considers herself to be an “adaptive” vocalist who has learned to tap and lean into the different techniques and approaches to singing and songwriting that have made others successful. To Holly, the “win” in leaning into different styles and genres brings forth the joy and value of networking and igniting the spirit and essence of personal and professional growth in others as well.

Holly Forbes Performing with The Huntington, W.V. Symphony Orchestra

When on The Voice - Forbes chose Team Kelly and worked with Clarkson through the battle rounds. In the knockout round, Clarkson made a tough decision in choosing “A Girl Named Tom” over Forbes. The decision led to an attempt to “steal” Forbes by both Grande and Legend, to which led to an inner pull to place her vocal coaching in the hands of Grande, fueled by her daughter, Violet’s, love for the artist. After the experience of being on The Voice, Holly set forth to continue touring and recording her music, taking it on the road first with America’s Got Talent Season 6 Winner and recording artist, Landau Eugene Murphy, appearing on his tour “Home for the Holidays “.

Holly fulfilled a life-long dream of headlining a New Year’s Eve show at the historic Paramount Arts Center in her hometown of Ashland, KY soon after her appearance on The Voice and this performance featured the debut of her full band. This event not only rung in the New Year with all new dreams and goals being set – it also kicked off an era in which her family, friends and fans would celebrate what Holly had accomplished to date while immediately centering a focus around what was to come in the future – a future that would include the writing and recording of new and original music.

This new journey and path to musical discovery would then lead her to well-received cross-country appearances followed by high accolades and rave reviews at The National Vigil for Gun Violence in Washington, DC with President Joe Biden in attendance, The Houston Sports Awards, The Crown Jewel Concert Series in Bigfork, Montana, The Grace Cathedral in San Francisco and with The Huntington Symphony Orchestra in West Virginia. After performing last fall with one of her favorite artists Allen Stone, in Nashville and appeared on Overtones LIVE Radio Show based out of Lexington, KY.

Holly took her original music to sea on Carnival Cruise Lines on The Kentucky Bluegrass Tour in The Bahamas earlier this year. Word quickly spread that The Voice star was both on the ship and in on the island and her performances were met with a very appreciative audience and great excitement about her presence on the tour.

In Ariana Grande’s pitch to work with Holly, she was overcome with emotion praising Holly’s performance with tears in her eyes stating:

“That was so incredible. I am, like, choked up, beyond. Every single second of it was so emotionally charged. I respect and admire and would love to work with you."

Holly resides in Catlettsburg, KY with her fiancé, Seth Carey and their two young children- Oliver who is 2 and Violet who is 9. Performing and co-writing together for many years prior to her The Voice debut as “Holly and The Guy”, the couple have been “working in concert” as a full band, one in which Seth plays guitar.

Holly Forbes fosters unity and collaboration through this great gift of music by writing from the HEART, powered from the MIND, singing from the SOUL and performing from the SPIRIT.

Renee Collins Cobb, M.Ed., Author

Listen Locally, LLC, President/ Owner

Overtones LIVE Podcast and Radio Show, Host and Co-Executive Producer

Dreamland Entertainment Group, EVP Strategy and Business Development

The Scribe TV / TSTV Network, Partner

Room 17 Productions, Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director - a 501c3 Non Profit Organization Promoting, Preserving and Protecting The Music and The Stories of Kentucky through oral history projects, live performance, storytelling and preservation of aging recordings to digital format

2020 The Lexington Music Awards Winner of Music Business of the Year

2022 The Lexington Music Awards, Critics Choice Winner

2022 The Josie Music Awards Winner of Media Company of the Year

2023 The Lexington Music Awards Winner of Music Company of the Year

2023 The Appalachian Arts and Entertainment Awards Winner of Best Documentary Film

2023 Nexstar Media Remarkable Woman of Central Kentucky

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