Christina still sweet sixteen

Holly Christina's Sweet 16 is her sixth album.

Holly Christina's Sweet 16 is her sixth album.

Holly Christina continues to break the mould as a songwriter with her new album Sweet 16.

Why Sweet 16 (16 tracks, the loss of innocence?)?

Since it's my sixth album and released in 2016 with 16 tracks, it seemed like a good fit.  There's also something quite special about this age  it's often regarded as the age of innocence in a girl while on the edge of the transition into adulthood.  Sixteen was the age that I officially began my journey in the music industry.  Last year, I also fulfilled a lifelong dream of travelling to Salzburg with my little guitar and ended up singing Sixteen Going on Seventeen at the famous gazebo from The Sound of Music movie.  The lyrics in that song correlate to the theme of this album.  And there's also a saying "Sweet 16 and never been kissed…"      

Your last full album Break The Mould was an educational tool for youth in New Zealand.  What did you get most out of the programme you developed around it?

There's nothing quite like communicating through live performance, so it's been wonderful to have taken the Break the Mould Tour to many schools in New Zealand throughout the last six years.  All the students and teachers I have met through this have been so interesting to talk to.  It's always exciting to hear feedback about what songs have spoken to certain people about their situation and in what way.  The themes of choices, image, fresh starts, reputation and love are all so relevant to us throughout life.  I have a real passion for young people and encouraging them through music, so the Break the Mould album and educational programme has been a highlight of my career so far, and I have plans to expand the concept in different ways next year and beyond.  

Of course, life is a constant education. What are the most valuable lessons you have learned?

That life is all about the choices we make, and breaking the mould in a good way takes bravery and can make for a happy and fulfilled life.  Rejection can actually be beneficial for your character and career.  To be careful to guard your heart and body.  The Golden Rule says it all…referred to in Sweet 16's first track The Simple Truth.  Over the years, I've also learnt many life lessons the easier way through reading honest autobiographies from great musicians past and present.           

In Acoustic Electric you allude to a record deal you turned down.  What was the background to that and do you have any regrets?

When I was 18, I was invited to Los Angeles to meet and record with two different producers.  One of them I was communicating with regularly, and one of the many songs I was sending him became the focus when he believed it had real hit potential.  As a Grammy-winning producer himself, he was setting up a new label and artist management venture.  Recording with him on the first visit and then subsequently returning a few months later to discuss the details of a contract and to record further, it was such an exciting time for a girl with dreams of being a full-time singer-songwriter.  I visited Nashville and met with his artist manager, did some performances, and all the experiences I had within the American music industry that year were so enlightening.  The glimpse of the lifestyle I would've been expected to lead in pursuit of becoming a famous artist, showed me that it wasn't what I truly wanted at that time of my life.  Some of the songs on my third album Miss Naive refer to these visits to the US.  I have no regrets at all.  

There are a few love lessons on the album?  What would you say to all those lonely hearts out there?

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I think there's such a big focus on the relationship love and finding "that person", but I've learnt it's good to just be patient and enjoy life at whatever stage you're at.  We're all struggling with something different, so we should just keep showing love and care to everyone, and give away free smiles.  There's also nothing wrong with being a bit random and making conversation with people around you.  As Matt Damon says in We Bought a Zoo, "sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage" to introduce yourself – it might change your life.       

 - Sunday News

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