the pacific northwest is beginning to wake up to the music and ministry of Holly starr. our guess is it’s not long until the rest of the country takes notice as well. Embraced released in 2008 and featured the songs of a 16- and 17-year-old alongside the produc- tion of Brandon Bee (stacie orrico). it was an impressive first step that displayed strong songwriting potential and a tender heart to follow God. now at age 19, starr is ready to take things to another level with Tapestry, her second independent release. “i love the interpretation of things in our life being described as vertical or horizontal,” says starr. “a tapestry is composed of two interlaced threads, one vertical and one horizontal—the horizontal held by the vertical to create a design. it’s the action of them working together over and over that re- sults in a picture or tapestry. i wanted to name the album something that describes how these songs are threads that have come together to create a picture of the last few years of my life, woven by the work of the vertical, God, holding the horizontal, me.” dove award winning producer Rusty varenkamp entered the picture on Tapestry, a huge get for an independent artist given Rusty’s impressive production with tenth avenue north and Rush of fools among others. “Meeting Rusty was a miracle,” says starr. “a newer friend of ours in nashville met with us to help organize my merch. throughout the conversation, we started to talk about the future—hence we talked about writing a new album. He told us about a friend of his who was a producer and that he might like to meet us. about two hours later we were sitting in Rusty’s studio! still blows me away.” “undertow” is the album’s first single and should begin making waves after the holidays. it’s a deeply personal track for starr in helping her get through some difficult struggles. “i really struggled with people’s perception of me for quite a long time, without realizing that was my problem,” says starr. “i lived my life through the eyes of everyone else, and eventually it just wore me out. ‘undertow’ was written so that when i would find myself in those places again, i would have a song that could take me through the struggle, reminding me that the Word of God is the only solu- tion to all difficulty.” as for the obvious label question, starr says she’s okay with the way things are and simply is open to whatever God wants to bring her way. “there have been talks [about labels], but the way i like to put it is this: if God brings a label into my life, i will pray and seek wisdom to know what He means by that,” she explains. “does He want me to join the label, or simply learn something from them? as far as hopes, i am in no hurry whatsoever. i do pray my hope stays in christ, as the entire story of me even being a songwriter and in this indus- try has been a miracle from the very beginning.” — Matt Conner Holly Starr CCM 45