Don’t let her diminutive physical stature fool you: Kari Holmes is living large when it comes to her music career—averaging 200 gigs a year (pre-Covid), winning the indie-centric Josie Music Awards Artist of the Year for 2021 (along with four other nominations), and connecting with audiences of all ages along the way. When asked about her audiences, “It’s been interesting, to say the least,” she says. “I’m not joking: It’s literally anyone from a toddler who can dance to my music (I just love little kids, and they love me)…all the way up to the older generation…they relate, they appreciate my voice and my music.”
With two EPs under her belt, and now signed to Nashville America Records, she is looking forward to a full album release in February 2022. (Until then, you can check out her singles and get her EPs at her website.)
So where does Kari’s drive to do music come from? A musical older sister, a music-loving dad, and stories of an opera-singing great-grandmother got the ball rolling. Then, she says, “At 17 I taught myself how to play guitar, and so I started writing songs and playing out…” By age 21 she had formed her first band and toured around her native Michigan. After two years at a community college aimed at becoming a teacher, Kari realized a full-time music career is what she really wanted. She hasn’t looked back.
Although Kari presents a beautiful “the girl next door” image, she knows of love, loss and heartbreak and has written over 100 songs expressing these heavy emotions. But she also writes of hope, faith and the importance of keeping your dignity, as she aspires to be a positive role model. “Writing is how I react to life, good and bad, and with that, I can reach out to others,” she says. “Performing on stage is the second step…It’s where I leave everything. The one thing that I want people to take away from my shows is a feeling. That’s what music is all about anyway…to let your emotions take you for a ride.”
By all accounts, 30-year-old Kari Holmes’s amazing musical ride is really just getting started.
By Dan Walsh