Stevie Holland is respectful of musical history without being a hidebound traditionalist. Instead of running through the umpteenth rendition of "My Funny Valentine," the New York-based singer is more likely to explore the forgotten corners of the Great American Songbook or perform her own material, written in collaboration with her arranger and husband, Gary William Friedman. Raised in the tony New York City suburb of Westchester County in a musically inclined family of Norwegian and Italian descent (Holland performs a self-penned love song in Norwegian, based on a theme from national hero Edvard Grieg, on her 2004 album Restless Willow), Holland studied musical theater at New York University. Working as an actress and singer off-Broadway and in touring companies of Broadway musicals, Holland also began singing on the New York cabaret circuit during the 1990s. During this period, Holland also began writing her own lyrics, and was introduced to Friedman, a musical theater composer who had also written songs for the children's TV show The Electric Company in the 1970s. After the pair wed, Holland starred in Friedman's religious-themed musical The Last Supper; inspired by the project, the duo wrote an entire album's worth of original spiritual and inspirational songs, 2000's Do You Ever Dream. This was followed by a benefit single, "This Is America," written and rush-released after the September 11, 2001, terror attacks on New York City and Washington. Following these artistic detours, Holland returned to the cabaret and jazz circuits, releasing 2003's Almost Like Being in Love, 2004's Restless Willow, 2006's More Than Words Can Say, and 2008's Before Love Has Gone, all small-combo jazz records focusing on standards as well as original material.
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