Singer-songwriter Ali Holder returns to Oklahoma Feb. 13 at Norman's The Deli 

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Austin singer-songwriter Ali Holder said people have described her performances as “moody.” While she doesn’t know exactly what they mean by that, she did say that her songs are intensely personal and performing is cathartic.

“I tend to just zone out and sing my songs,” Holder said.

She takes the stage 11 pm. Feb. 13 at The Deli, 301 White St., on Campus Corner in Norman.

The gig is one of only a handful Holder has played in Oklahoma. Each time she visits, she’s amazed by the talent and musicianship she discovers.

“I have always met musicians that blow me away,” Holder said. “There is something great going on in your state musically.”

Born in Wichita Falls, Texas, Holder became interested in music at age 14. Seven years ago, she moved to Austin in the hopes of establishing a music career. However, she also had a teaching job and found that she needed a more flexible schedule to accommodate her creative aspirations.

She went to grad school, which she said made her realize her career didn’t have to follow a specific direction and instead, she could create a path that worked best for her.

Holder, who earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in art education, still teaches visual art, a job she said works well with her music career, a profession that requires flexibility and a willingness to go wherever opportunity takes her.

“I think the paradigm of what it is to have a successful career as a musician is changing constantly,” Holder said. “I think being able to adapt to that is always a challenge.”

Holder’s influences include Lucinda Williams, Patty Griffin and Gillian Welch, though these days she listens to everyone from Beyoncé to David Ramirez and Brandy Zdan.

Literature also influences her songwriting. In fact, her latest EP was loosely inspired by Stephen King’s series The Dark Tower, which merges horror, science fiction, fantasy and Western genres.

She also incorporated her own dark times into her work, including the end of a four-year relationship.

While Holder’s songs are intensely personal, she said it’s great if someone can relate to her music, even if it has a different meaning for them than it does for her.

“Music is healing, music is empowering, music is enraging, calming — it’s a spectrum of emotions and feelings,” Holder said. “If someone can find what I’ve said to be a mirror in their own lives, I guess that is the goal.”

For her 2015 EP From My Veins Will Fall, Holder wrote while secluded at a writers’ residency at a ranch in Medina, Texas. She said that being isolated from people and the Internet boosted her productivity and helped her create a structure conducive to digging in and giving her craft the time and attention it needs.

While she tries to do something similar when she writes at home, she said the isolation of being at the ranch allowed her to go much deeper.

“It’s easy to just write when I am inspired at home, but what more often what happens is that I get distracted or I don’t take the time to be fully creative,” she said. “I’ll just end up with half-finished songs.”

Her new project, Huntress Moon, is available for preorder on iTunes and due out Feb. 10. Visit or

Print headline: Attention Holder, Austin singer-songwriter gets personal as she sequesters herself while writing her latest project.

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