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Hickli’s first memories of Holly are suitably larger than life. She was a neighbour in Bowness, and would often see Holly barrel through the neighbourhood on her bike at top speed bellowing along to the music she listened to on her earbuds. Hickli was a few years younger than Holly but they attended Bowness High School at the same time. A few years back, HIckli was surprised to see her neighbour performing at a small, crowded basement club in Calgary. She was immediately struck by the power of the music. Eventually, Holly would invite her to her house to play her songs and demos she was working on.
Kirill Telichev, a Calgary producer and guitarist with the band Copperhead, first met Holly in 2001. A few years younger than Telichev, she was his neighbour and first friend in Calgary after he arrived in Canada from his native Russia with his family. Within months of arriving, he remembers walking for hours with Holly through his new neighbourhood.
“She was this little chatterbox, and I would just be smiling and nodding because I had zero language skills at that time,” Telichev said with a laugh.
While she came to music relatively later in life, Telichev remembers being shocked at how quickly Holly progressed and the sheer volume of her creative output. A year before she left for Ontario, he produced a track for her. Her family also asked him to mix the tracks that would eventually make up the new EP.
“Especially when the search was underway, I was trying to distract myself and not letting my brain go into overdrive,” he said. “Mixing this was difficult because all of sudden you are confronted with having to sit there and listen to Holly’s voice for eight hours at a time and still have the wherewithal to make the right technical decisions for the music. Definitely, for a lot of those sessions, I needed a stiff drink afterwards.”
He thinks the EP, while raw and unpolished, offers a glimpse into his friend’s talents and personality.
“It’s a beautiful snapshot into her immense talents and just how great a person she was,” he said. “You can hear that in the lyrics and you can hear that in the delivery. I’m glad it’s out there.”
A celebration of Holly Ellsworth-Clark’s life will be live-streamed Saturday at 4 p.m. at https://www.facebook.com/events/328552188381092/
Holly Clark, Live at Crystal Beach by Deep Bight will be available Oct. 2 on Bandcamp, Spotify and other streaming services.