Holly Near is an American pop singer and actress. She has released 11 studio albums, and has had multiple top 40 hits on the Billboard charts.

Holly Near is an American singer-songwriter, who has released over 20 albums. Her most famous album is Singing for Our Lives.

Holly Near, a vocalist, composer, actor, and activist, was a key player in the development of the women’s music movement in the 1970s and has long advocated for the use of music as a tool for social change. Near, who has a background in both music and theater, rose to fame as an actor in the early 1970s before focusing on songwriting and exploiting her strong voice and talent for memorable melodies. Near’s first album, 1973’s Hang in There, was mainly about the Vietnam War, while feminist themes were prevalent throughout much of her work in the 1970s. Imagine My Surprise, released in 1978, was an open celebration of the LGBTQ+ community before it had a name, while Fire in the Rain, released in 1981, addressed both the personal and the political. Near sung with a purpose throughout the 1980s and 1990s, whether alone or in cooperation with musicians like folk legend Ronnie Gilbert (1983’s Lifeline) or the Chilean ensemble Inti-Illimani (1984’s Sing to Me the Dream), and she dabbled with popular pop sounds on 1987’s Don’t Hold Back. Despite the fact that activism consumed more of Near’s time in the 2000s than music, she continued to make comments via song on 2012’s ambitious Peace Becomes You and the relevant 2018.

Holly Near was born on June 6, 1949, in Ukiah, California, and spent her youth on a ranch in Potter Valley with her family. She was raised in a creative household and started performing in front of an audience at the age of 10, singing in a talent show at a Veterans of Foreign Wars hall. Near became interested in performing in high school and was involved in school theater; she also became involved in activism when she joined a student organization dedicated to altering the campus dress code. Near formed a folk singing group with three guys in 1965, modeled after the Kingston Trio and the Weavers, and dubbed themselves the Freedom Singers, ignorant of a similar group established by members of the civil rights organization the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee with the same name. Near graduated from high school in 1967 and enrolled in UCLA, where she continued to work in theater. Near realized she had nodules on her vocal chords while playing the female lead in a production of Guys and Dolls, and began taking voice training to improve her ability to utilize her instrument. She joined the anti-war organization Another Mother for Peace in 1969, and she and her sister Timothy Near started performing pieces criticizing American participation in the Vietnam war. Near got a part in the film Angel, Angel Down We Go in 1969, and was soon busy acting in movies and television, as well as starring on Broadway in the rock musical Hair. She was also a part of the 1st National Nothing, a short-lived musical group that recorded an album for Columbia in the 1970s. Before breaking up, if you sit very still and hold my hand, you will hear nothing. Near joined the ensemble of Jane Fonda’s political entertainment company Free the Army in 1971, which performed off-base for troops in the United States and the Pacific. Working with the FTA group helped to clarify Near’s thoughts on the role of music in activism and the burgeoning women’s movement. Near began composing songs that represented her views and recording an album; she then established her own label, Redwood Records, to distribute the recordings, which she envisioned as a platform for politically aware musicians from the United States and across the world. Redwood’s first album, Hang in There, was released in 1973, and A Live Album was released in 1974.

Watch Out! While feminism had always been a big part of Near’s music, she started putting more focus on the growing Gay Rights movement in 1976, when she came out as a lesbian and announced she was seeing fellow women’s music pioneer Cris Williamson. Near played in the first Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, which has grown into a significant yearly celebration of women’s rights and creativity. Redwood Albums grew in popularity as Near’s reputation grew, and they started publishing records by other musicians such as Ferron, Sweet Honey in the Rock, and Judy Small. Imagine My Surprise, a 1978 record in which Near freely discussed her sexuality, was awarded Best Independent Album of the Year by the Bay Area Music Awards. She worked with producer June Millington, who had previously been a member of the groundbreaking all-female rock band Fanny, on Fire in the Rain in 1981, and she was also profiled in People magazine that year, becoming one of the first out lesbians to be featured in a mainstream entertainment publication. Near found time to release Speed of Light in 1982, while dividing her time between music and anti-nuclear activism. She collaborated with one of her early influences, Ronnie Gilbert of the Weavers, on the 1983 album Lifeline, and the two supported the release with a joint concert tour; they would tour together again in 1984 for the Defeat Reagan Tour, and Near and Gilbert would team up with Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie for an album and series of concerts under the name HARP. Another innovative partnership occurred in 1984, when Near recorded the album Watch Out! with multi-instrumentalist John McCutcheon.

Sky Dances Near collaborated with the Chilean socialist folk group Inti-Illimani on a performance tour in 1984, which resulted in the CD Sing to Me the Dream. Ms. magazine nominated Near for Woman of the Year in 1985, and she also organized the inaugural Redwood Records Music Festival. Near and Ronnie Gilbert regrouped for another collaboration album, 1986’s Singing with You, the same year the Women’s Foundation honored her for her work as a musical activist with the “Woman of Note” award. Near dabbled with pop-oriented arrangements and production on 1987’s Don’t Hold Back, which included a guest appearance from Kenny Loggins on “The Promise (How Can Anybody Know).” On July 7, 1989, the mayor of San Francisco, Art Agnos, declared Holly Near Day throughout the city; the same year, the album Sky Dances was published. Near’s second album, Singer in the Storm, was a live album featuring a guest performance on guitar by Melissa Etheridge, published by Chameleon Records, marking her first release on a label other than Redwood.

This Train Still Runs Near created and directed Fire in the Rain, a one-woman performance that premiered in Los Angeles in 1993. She also performed the play in New York City and San Francisco, with the latter winning the Bay Area Theater Critics Circle’s Outstanding Achievement Award. In 1993, Near released an album of musical highlights from the performance, which was one of her last Redwood albums before the label collapsed in the mid-’90s. Near and Ronnie Gilbert put on another performance tour in 1996, which was recorded on the Abbe Alice Music CD This Train Still Runs. Near established Calico Tracks Music in 1997 to distribute her recordings, and the company debuted with With a Song in My Heart, a collection of love songs from the 1930s and 1940s. Simply Love: The Women’s Music Collection, released in 2000, included feminist-themed music spanning Near’s entire discography, dating from 1974 to the present. Near released Edge later that year, a highly political album that included eight new original songs and five timely covers. Early Warnings was released in 2001 by Appleseed Recordings, a folk company that had previously republished some of Near’s out-of-print Redwood recordings. It was dominated by songs she composed in the 1980s, during the AIDS epidemic, Ronald Reagan’s administration, and the development of the new conservatism movement. In 2001, Appleseed released HARP: A Time to Sing, a full-length Near, Gilbert, Guthrie, and Seeger concert from 1984. In 2002, Calico Tracks released And Still We Sing: The Outspoken Collection and Crushed: The Love Song Collection, both of which included songs from Near’s back catalog. In the same year, Appleseed released an enhanced edition of Lifeline.

Cris & Holly Cris and Holly was released in 2003 by Near and her longtime friend and former boyfriend Cris Williamson, who returned into the studio to create new songs and revisit some of old favorites. Near devoted more of her time and energy to activism in the 2000s and beyond, staying an advocate for human rights and social justice, but she still found time to perform and record. Show Up, released in 2006, was a personal and political album, and We Came to Sing!, released in 2009, saw her collaborate with the singing ensemble Emma’s Revolution. Peace Becomes You, released in 2012, was an ambitious 29-song collection that included songs of conscience from her own repertoire as well as material written by Irving Berlin, Jacques Brel, Keb’ Mo’, and Gnarls Barkley. Her album 2018, which was published the same year, was a timely work in which she addressed issues including domestic abuse, bullying in schools, and Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

Holly Near is a singer, songwriter and actress. She was born in the United States of America on November 3rd, 1943. Her first album, Holly Near at Carnegie Hall was released in 1967. Reference: holly near imagine my surprise.

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