She's hailed as the 'next Tamara Dey': Here are 5 things you need to know about Holly Rey

Holly Rey (PHOTO: Getty Images/Gallo Images)
Holly Rey (PHOTO: Getty Images/Gallo Images)

You might recognise her from vosho-ing on stage with President Cyril Ramaphosa last year. 

Growing up, Holly was used to hearing a variety of South African music play in the background, thanks to her uncle who was a music reviewer.

Writing music was how this introvert would express herself and she found joy in doing so as a kid.

But little did she know she would later start performing at small events and be launching a career in music when she signed her first record deal at the tender age of 14.

The now 23-year-old has since been gracing us with toe-tapping tunes and aims to empower women through her music.

"I want to make people feel good and that's why I love the genre so much. It is a feel-good genre, it's dance music. I want people to always feel good when they listen to my music," Holly Rey tells YOU.

And her latest single, Wanna Be, does just that.

Holly Rey is often compared to Tamara Dey – because of her sparkly stage outfits and her music path. She says she's not bothered by it as she's inspired by Tamara's achievements.

"Tamara Dey is such a great artist, she did incredible things in the music industry.

"For me it's great, we live by comparisons as people and that's cool. She's really cool. I'm inspired by her as a woman.

"I wouldn't say she influences my music so much, but as a woman, the space she occupied as an artist... definitely," Holly Rey explained.

Having come so far in music already, she talks to us about some highlights and reveals compelling things her fans might not know about.

1. She obtained her honours degree in media and communication cum laude

She planned to study political science but instead opted for media and communication because of its close association with the music industry. Becoming more knowledgeable about her industry has been an important goal to Holly.

"I've always been hungry for knowledge. That's the philosophy I live by. Whether it's in the form of a series or a documentary, formal education, or reading a book. I've always been a person who's so hungry for knowledge."

With an honours degree under her belt, she's not done yet – the singer says she's looking to further her studies in the future.

"I've taken a break because I have been so busy, but I do want to finish my masters and then, eventually, my PhD... I just think it's so important to just grow yourself."

2. Holly Rey was the first female in 20 years to win Song Of The Year at the South African Music Awards.

Her song, Deeper, earned her a win at the Samas, and although she's quite happy with her landmark achievement, she hopes it will help to bring about change in the music industry.

"It was quite surreal... and when I won I was really excited because I was the only solo female artist in the category and as a female independent artist it was quite a big deal for me then.

"I felt I was breaking that cycle, hopefully making sure that it doesn't only happen in another 20 years.

"I was also quite sad because it was shocking to me... it's not like we haven't had amazing female artists in 20 years, producing amazing music and coming up with amazing songs."

3. Holly Rey has met President Cyril Ramaphosa

Ok, so she didn't have a full-on conversation with him, but at least she got to say hi and make him do the Vosho. Last year on June 16 (Youth Day), Holly Rey performed just before the president was due to give a keynote speech to the youth and got to give him a hug.

"It actually happened so fast... I started hearing the crowd going wild and I thought, 'wow they must be liking the song', then I turned to the side and I saw the president was walking up the stairs and he was kind of already dancing.

"I was so excited, I walked up to him and gave him a hug and I was probably supposed to shake his hand... and he was so cool, he really wanted to get down... it was quite a surreal experience, it was a beautiful moment for me."

4. She is multi-talented 

It's not just her great vocals that she's able to fine-tune, Holly Rey can play a couple of instruments too.

"I started music on the drums. I play guitar, I play the keys... the marimba. I play a few wind instruments, I fiddle around with quirky things that I can learn. Like the harmonica, the Scandinavian flute. I'm always trying to learn cool instruments that I can click with me."

Lockdown has afforded her the time to learn how to incorporate these skills into her live performances.  

"A lot of the time the producer does the work. I do bring it into my live performances... I program the marimba onto Octapad. I'm working on bringing the flute into my live performances as well and the guitar. Lockdown is really giving me the time to do all of that."

5. She enjoys cooking and baking

Especially when she's with her adopted little sister, Mimi.

Take a look at how they've been cooking things up in the kitchen:

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