Deborah Holland

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Deborah Holland
Born(1954-08-16)August 16, 1954
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
GenresPop, rock, folk
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter
InstrumentsGuitar, piano
Years active1987–present
LabelsVirgin, I.R.S, RageOn, Gadly, Wabuho
Associated actsAnimal Logic, The Refugees (female folk trio)

Deborah Holland is an American singer-songwriter. She rose to national prominence in 1987 as the lead singer and songwriter of Animal Logic featuring Stanley Clarke and Stewart Copeland.

To date, Deborah Holland has released five solo albums: Freudian Slip (1994), The Panic Is On (1994), The Book of Survival (1999), Bad Girl Once… (2006), and Vancouver (2013). In 2007, Holland formed The Refugees with Cindy Bullens and Wendy Waldman. To date, The Refugees have released two albums: Unbound in 2009 and Three in 2012.

Early life and education[edit]

Holland grew up in Passaic and Clifton, New Jersey. She began learning piano at age 5 from her father, Irwin Heilner, who was a composer and songwriter.

At age 14 she began playing the guitar, writing songs, and performing in New Jersey and New York City. She appeared twice on Izzy Young’s Folk Show on WBAI and in 1969 her song, “When I Hear About War” was published in Broadside magazine. She attended the New Lincoln School in New York City (Grades 11-12) where she studied music with Philip Corner and Cathy MacDonald, and also took classes at the Mannes School of Music.

She briefly attended the Berklee College of Music and later received her B.A. in Jazz Studies at Livingston College (Rutgers University) where she studied with, and was mentored by, jazz pianist Kenny Barron.

In 1977 Holland moved to Los Angeles to pursue her career. In 1996 she became the first student to earn a Master’s degree in Commercial Music from California State University, Los Angeles and in 1997 joined the faculty; running the Master's in Commercial Music from 1998-2010.[1]

Music career[edit]

Animal Logic (1987–1991)[edit]

In 1987, Holland won the audition to be the lead singer and songwriter of Animal Logic, after a two-song demo tape was forwarded to Police drummer Stewart Copeland by publisher Dan Howell. She was selected over hundreds of other singers who auditioned for the band. Holland is credited with writing nearly all the songs recorded by the group.

Animal Logic released their debut album Animal Logic in 1989, peaking at No. 106 on the Billboard 200.[2] A second album, Animal Logic II was released in 1991.[3]

Both albums featured guest appearances from well-known musicians, including: Jackson Browne, David Lindley, George Duke, Steve Howe and Freddie Hubbard.[4][5]

The band toured and appeared on The David Letterman Show, The Tonight Show, and had videos on MTV and VH1.

Solo recordings (1988–2007)[edit]

In the years following the demise of Animal Logic, Holland released five solo albums, and has recorded and performed music for movies, television and commercials.

In 1988 Deborah recorded "Come To Me" from the movie Fright Night Part 2.[6] She also contributed to the I.R.S. Records compilation Just In Time For Christmas (1990), providing the song “It Only Comes Once a Year”.[7]

She has scored five films, including Circuitry Man,[8] and has had two collaborations with Stewart Copeland used in films; “Heaven is a Place” in the 1991 movie Highlander II: The Quickening, and “For One Moment” in the 1992 television movie Afterburn.

More recently, Holland's songs have appeared in the television shows Keeping Up with the Kardashians, My Name Is Earl, and Longmire.

The Refugees (2007–2012)[edit]

In 2007 Holland formed a folk supergroup called The Refugees, with Wendy Waldman and Cindy Bullens. The group released their first album Unbound in 2009, which won the International Acoustic Music Award for Best Album.[9] The Refugees' second album, Three, was released in 2012 and made the Folk DJs' Top 20 charts as well as charting on Roots Music Report’s TOP 50 Folk charts. The trio toured extensively throughout the U.S. and in Canada appearing at venues, arts centers, folk clubs, and festivals, including the Philadelphia Folk Festival, Wheatland Music Festival, Canmore Folk Festival, the Iowa Women’s Music Festival and more.

Vancouver (2013)[edit]

Holland's most recent album, Vancouver, was released June 2013. The album is her first CanCon recording and received international radio play. The record charted for over nine months on Roots Music Report’s Top 50 Americana/Roots chart[10] and Galaxie Music’s Canadian Folk charts. The song “Home” made the finals of the International Acoustic Music Awards.[11]

Personal life[edit]

After receiving a master's degree from California State University, Los Angeles, Holland joined the faculty, running the Master's in Commercial Music program from 1998 to 2010.[12]

In 2010, Holland relocated from Los Angeles to Vancouver, BC.[13] In 2011, Holland began teaching songwriting at Langara College in Vancouver.[14]


Solo albums[edit]

  • 1994 – Freudian Slip
  • 1997 – The Panic is On
  • 1999 – The Book of Survival
  • 2006 – Bad Girl Once
  • 2013 – Vancouver

With Animal Logic[edit]

With The Refugees[edit]

Compilation albums[edit]

  • 1990 - “Just In Time For Christmas” – IRS Records Compilation


  1. ^ "Music Faculty". California State University. Retrieved 2014-03-16.
  2. ^ "Animal Logic Chart History". Retrieved 2014-02-16.
  3. ^ "Animal Logic Biography". Retrieved 2014-02-16.
  4. ^ "Animal Logic: Credits". Retrieved 2014-03-16.
  5. ^ "Animal Logic II: Credits". Retrieved 2014-03-16.
  6. ^ "Fright Night Part 2 Soundtrack". Retrieved 2014-02-16.
  7. ^ "Just In Time For Christmas by Various Artists". Retrieved 2014-02-16.
  8. ^ "Circuitry Man (1990) - Full Cast & Crew". Retrieved 2014-03-16.
  9. ^ "6th Annual IAMA International Acoustic Music Awards Kicks Off". Retrieved 2014-02-16.
  10. ^ "Roots Music Report: Charts". Retrieved 2014-03-16.
  11. ^ "International Acoustic Music Awards Winners". Archived from the original on 2006-11-28. Retrieved 2014-03-16.
  12. ^ "Music Faculty | California State University, Los Angeles". Retrieved 2015-06-26.
  13. ^ "Bio: Deborh Holland". Retrieved 2014-02-16.
  14. ^ "Overview: Instructors". Retrieved 2014-03-18.

External links[edit]