Holly Lerski was born in London, daughter of a sound engineer and ex-St Martins School of Art student. She grew up around music, and began playing guitar at the age of six. When she was nine her family relocated to Norfolk. It was in this transitional period, with the aid of her 'Beatles Complete' book, Lerski first began to write songs. Lerski played bass and guitar in various bands throughout her teens and whilst studying at Art School. Upon graduation she joined folk rock band The Rainbyrds, and began songwriting and performing.
In 1997, she founded folk-rock band Angelou and signed to indie label Haven Records, touring with Eddi Reader (Fairground Attraction) and Boo Hewerdine (The Bible) across the UK, complimented by their first release: the Hallelujah e.p. Uncut Magazine would later nickname her “the spiritual sister of Jeff Buckley”. After the Hallelujah e.p., came their debut album Automiracles in 1998. Produced by Calum MacColl (son of Ewan MacColl & Peggy Seeger) and recorded in 5 days, it was described by Mojo Magazine as “achingly lovely” and The Independent as “the best debut of it’s kind since Eddi Reader’s Mirmama…indeed even The Sundays first effort Reading, Writing and Arithmetic“.
In 2000, they released their second album, While You Were Sleeping. Produced by Lerski, The Sunday Times gave it a resounding 8 out of 10, calling it “brilliant folk-pop with a gorgeous voice…a real find”. In the words of Folk Roots Magazine: “introspection rarely sounded stronger”. By 2001, Angelou were finally making waves across the channel in Spain with two national tours, including the Benicassim Festival Tour with Spanish Indie Rockers La Habitación Roja and National Spanish TV and Radio appearances. This caught the attention of UK majors, and at the end of that year they signed to Sanctuary Records. After a tour of Europe and Scandinavia with blues legend John Hiatt, the band flew to Denmark to record their third, more poppier album Life is Beautiful. Released the following year in 2003 under the name Holly Lerski, the album finally broke Holly’s songs onto BBC daytime Radio 2 with the singles My Love and Everyone’s Lonely. Live dates followed with Josh Rouse, Jason Mraz and The Cranberries, but with the music industry in a state of flux, Sanctuary soon found itself floundering, and in 2005 Universal Music swallowed up the ailing label.
Holly continued independently, playing solo dates including a spot in New York’s famous Living Room in 2007. That same week Hallelujah was featured in the finale episode of US TV drama Close To Home. Holly was indeed home, and ready to begin a new life away from the music industry. 2015, and her house on the hill and her shed at the bottom of the garden became home to a recording studio. Equipped with one mic, one old Macbook and a large helping of determination, Holly recorded her 4th album with help from musician friends Stu Hanna, Mark Ireland, Ruby Ashby, Emma Garwood, and Bonnie Raitt bassist James 'Hutch' Hutchinson. The Wooden House was released independently on her own imprint, Laundry Label, and included on The Sunday Telegraph and Independent on Sunday's Best Folk Albums of 2015.
Four years later, Lerski found herself on the road in America, recovering from heartbreak, writing her best songs yet. 'My Sweet Decline' is the result. Recorded in Nashville with producer Matt 'Truck' Roley, and the help of musicians Josh Hunt (Alison Krauss), SistaStrings (Brandi Carlile, Allison Russell) and Alex McCollough, it is an album soaked in Californian sunshine with the warm sounds of Music City's finest.
Release date: April 2024