It’s not easy to cut through the clutter as an independent artist. Even with the modern-day advantages of Spotify, YouTube, Tik Tok, Instagram and everything else that can be a direct bridge from artist to fan, the playing field is still packed, and the noise can be louder than ever. Still, Holly Auna has figured out a way to shine through.
Videos by American Songwriter
Growing up in southern Indiana just thirty miles north of Louisville, this cherub faced singer / songwriter has launched her own career by blowing out of the blocks like confetti from a cannon. In a year where the pandemic crippled most young artists trying get their career on track, rather than just wait for it to be over, she instead pivoted and focused on successfully building her fanbase online. Covid be damned, Auna built her TikTok audience / followers to over the 350,000 mark. She even partnered with the social media giant to perform regularly on TikTok LIVE to thousands of new and excited fans.
The payoff? Huge.
When the time came to release her single “Lonely” back in October, her rabid fanbase gobbled it up shooting it directly to the top spot on the iTunes singer / songwriter chart and racking up 20,000 Spotify streams in its first weekend. Now ready to ride that wave again, Auna is back, this time with a holiday tune for the offering but slow your roll. Not all holiday songs are sugar plums and Santa Claus. Even though these types of tunes are traditionally built on tidings and joy, Holly doesn’t entirely subscribe to that theory and “Another Silent Night” is proof.
“While the holidays are a joyful time for many, it can be a difficult time for those who have lost loved ones or can’t be with their friends or family due to other circumstances,” says the young Auna. “My co-writer, Mike Astrachan, came to our Zoom co-write in October with the idea for “Another Silent Night.” His dad passed away in January of this year and this will be the first holiday season he’s spending without him. We wanted to write a song for everyone who is spending their holidays without someone they love.”
With shades of Colbie Calliet and “Me And The Radio” era Deana Carter, Auna’s vocals mix delicacy with resiliency as she walks the listener through the hardest part of the happiest of holidays. Be it a parent or a partner, it’s a time no one ever wants to imagine and Auna and Astrachan wanted to do their part to work through the first year of half-heartedly decked halls.
“While this is a sad song, we wanted to write it in an uplifting way that made the listener reminisce about the good times. I love listening to sad songs that still make my heart feel a little bit lighter and I hope this song can make people feel that way too.”
Not exactly the approach most take for a holiday song but that’s what separates special songwriters from the pack. They tap into feelings many are scared to explore. Spending the first holiday without someone you love? Not exactly holiday cheer but for thousands of people every year, it’s a harsh reality. As you might imagine, it’s not easy writing a song of this nature and can’t be done just off the cuff. For Auna, it’s the kind of song that can only be written under certain circumstances.
“I write at my best when I feel safe and vulnerable. I love writing with close friends and taking time to build a connection and rapport with my co-writers. Creating a safe space for all of the artists/writers in the room is very important to me.”
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that the shelf life for “Another Silent Night” is limited to the holiday season but Auna already has plans well beyond. Working towards a full band album that will, pandemic depending, be out mid-late 2021 she’s already selected her next single from the project and is slated to release it at the beginning of next year.