Before our interview with Fullerton songstress Becky Holt, she was playing a game of Monopoly with her family in Florida. "I'm kicking some serious Monopoly ass," she said. "I've got $2,000, and everyone else has $800." Holt left for Florida four hours after the first show of her June residency at the Continental Room, and she's flying back the night before her second show. She compares her musical style to cupcakes and peanut butter, and after listening to her light, sweet, folksy voice, the comparison fits.The residency is her first string of shows with a new backup band, and the four-part concert series features a strong set of supporting acts including the New Limb, Argyle Smile and Grant Hart of Hüsker Dü fame.
OC Weekly: How long have you been playing?
Becky Holt performs with Argyle Smile at the Continental Room, www.continentalroomfullerton.com. Every Sun., 9:30 p.m. Through June 26. Free. 21+.
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Becky Holt: I've been playing guitar for three years. I'm a late bloomer, I guess. I started playing because maybe I was a little broken-hearted and wanted to write a sad, sappy love song. Writing came really naturally for me, and I'm really lucky because I've had a lot of amazing people to work with that have really pushed me. To be honest with you, there are times where I get really insecure because the people I play with now, they're amazing musicians, and they've been playing since they came out of their mother's womb. Everybody I've worked with has been super-supportive of me and encouraging. . . . Even now, I feel like I'm playing pretend. I'm waiting for someone to be like, "Oh, that's cute."
Were you singing before you started playing guitar?
I auditioned for choir in high school and didn't make it. I've always been singing. I feel like if you're not singing, you're dead inside.
What goes into your writing process?
When I write a song, I write lyrically. I try to find music that suits the mood of what I'm trying to get across. Most of my songs are very literal. Sometimes, I feel like I'm divulging too much about my personal life. You second-guess about how much you want people to know about you. I found that being honest produces better product. Sometimes, it's not portraying me in the best light. The band is really good about taking what I bring and turning it into songs that are super-dynamic, more upbeat and more country rock than sappy folk. The bottom line for me is telling a story.
How's playing with a new backup band?
I like to challenge myself. It's hard when you're completely by yourself. This is the first group of people that challenge me and make me do things that are out of my comfort zone. I've fallen in love with these boys, and my goal for summer is to record with them. It's much more rewarding working with other people than creating music yourself.
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You have a killer lineup for this residency.
I busted my ass getting these bands. I'm like a proud mama. One of the things that appealed to me about this is the opportunity to play with bands you really enjoy, that you would actually want to see. I pulled from bands that I look up to.
This column appeared in print as "Monopolizing Fullerton."