Holly Dunn Biography
Last updated: 11/24/2013 06:52:11 AM
Born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, this talented and pretty preacher's daughter burst onto the country music scene in 1986 with the self-penned homage to her Dad, "Daddy's Hands." From that point on, Holly Dunn wrote her own name in the annals of country music history as one of the first female artists to write, produce and run her empire when women were still considered "girl singers," and record labels were still dictating everything from song selection to hair style.
Plucked from the obscurity of studio session singer/songwriter in 1985 by MTM Music Group, Holly quickly rose to the top of their fledgling roster by writing and producing three hit albums containing her first six hit singles, two of which were number ones. During her MTM days, Holly also garnered the first of many awards and nominations to come her way. Between 1986 and 1989 when the label closed it's doors due to squabbling amongst the owners, Holly had racked up an impressive three Grammy Award nominations, and brought home the ACM New Female Vocalist Award (1986) and the coveted CMA Horizon Award (1987). However, she wasn't "Dunn" yet! Before she left MTM, she was also named BMI Songwriter Of The Year (1988), and was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry (1989).
After MTM, landing a major recording contract with Warner Brothers Records was a snap for the fastest rising star in Nashville. In fact, the president of the label signed her himself. Holly's five years with Warner Brothers continued the upward trajectory of her career, with four hit albums including a greatest hits package called, "Milestones" and two more number one singles. The "Milestones" album was certified Gold shortly after release.
Life for a singer at the top of the charts is a blur of press junkets, TV appearances and non-stop touring, with only time off to write and record the next album project. By 1993, Holly had recorded seven albums, played for millions of adoring fans all over the world, and was ready to step back a little and re-evaluate her career. She and Warner Brothers parted ways in April of that year, and for the next two years, Holly continued to write songs and tour while assessing her options.
In 1995, a boutique multi-media company out of Chicago called Platinum Entertainment was looking for an established recording artist to be the cornerstone of their new Nashville based record label, River North Records. Holly was the obvious choice. While River North got off to a good start, it was hard going as an independent label competing against the giants of the industry. So, in a move that would echo her first record label experience, River North closed their doors in 1997 after just two years, and two albums on Holly.
While the label closure was a setback, 1997 would also prove to be a year of great growth and transition for the singer. In a pioneering move, WWWW (W-4) Radio in Detroit, Michigan offered Holly the morning DJ spot, making her the first country music personality to have their own major market radio show. Having done radio as a broadcasting major back in Texas at Abilene Christian University, Holly stepped up to the mic like the pro she is, and helped turn an experimental concept into a roaring success. During her year's commitment to the station, Holly's morning show had a daily listenership well exceeding 300,000, and she was asked to speak on a panel at that year's National Association of Broadcasters Convention.
Needing to get back to Nashville, Holly opted out of renewing her contract with W-4 and headed home where she continued to do a "country music news" segment for several radio stations across the U.S. called, "Holly Dunn's Nashville Minute." Always looking for new horizons, Holly expanded her broadcasting talents to television where, from 1998-2000, she was one of two regular hosts for TNN's weekly show, "Opry Backstage."
During the past two years, Holly has been touring the US and Europe. She is also a regular on the Grand Ole Opry when she's not on the road. Holly has just completed her 10th album project, an acoustic gospel CD called "Full Circle." The new CD features traditional gospel favorites as well as four new songs written by Holly especially for this project. "Full Circle" will be available on www.hollydunn.com.
As for the future, Holly will be relocating to her home state of Texas where she has plans to open an art gallery featuring notable artists with Texas ties, including Amado Pena and fellow singer Hal Ketchum as well as her own artwork. Her love of art has been a lifelong passion. Holly jokes that she "makes music to pay for her art supplies."