A distinct voice and artistic style, Athena Holmes is a songwriter, performer and artist originating from Victoria B.C. For the past seven years she has been honing her craft as a songwriter in the vibrant city of Montréal, QC.
Influenced by blues, roots, folk and jazz, her clear vocals and warm tone, are reminiscent of Corrine Bailey Rae and Norah Jones. Her music infuses jazz chords and melody over folk rock progressions, dark synth textures and funky beats. Composing with guitar and voice simultaneously, the content of Athena’s compositions cover various topics ranging from body image, to addiction, to the in’s and out of romantic relationships.
Born into a family of performers who count Jimi Hendrix’s family among their friends, Holmes has always had a passion for performance, but it was dance that ultimately led her to music. Receiving the Young Choreographer’s Award at age 17 at Victoria Performing Arts Festival was an affirmation of her abilities to create, and ability to connect with an audience.
From 2005-2008, Holmes contributed her bass lines, songs and energy, to the funk rock group The Southern Chakras. The Chakra’s high-energy shows and catchy songs helped to solidify Athena Holmes as a household name on Vancouver Island.
After leaving The Chakras, Athena recorded her first solo record ‘Love and Vices’ in the winter of 2009. The release took her on an ambitious tour across Canada.
In 2010 she was voted #6 in the top 10 best singer/songwriters in the Montreal Mirror’s Best of Montreal Poll, alongside Leonard Cohen and Sam Roberts.
Athena returned to the studio with longtime collaborator Paul Kannaspuro (The Southern Chakras, Kuba Oms) to produce her second EP “As easy as it seems” (2011). The record has is stripped down folk sound that highlights Holmes’ voice and songs.
Opening for names such as Detroit Producer Black Milk, US ska band John Brown’s Body, and singing along side Canadian powerhouse Ben Caplan has forced her to grow as performer. And her years of traveling with Via Rail Canada as an on board musician have given Holmes the opportunity to develop a unique relationship with her audiences.
Originally developing her music from 'acoustic roots', Athena has turned her sound towards more synthetic textures, bringing her skills as a dancer back to the stage. Athena debut this new sound in the summer of 2013 when she performed at ‘Festival Qouleur’, Montreal’s first festival for queer artists of colour.
Self described as “soulful but not a soul singer”, Athena’s latest release, is the official music video for her single "Get out cha own way". Directed by Montreal filmmaker Nisha Platzer and shot by Rob Lobel, this video is proof of what a little money, and a lot of talent and determination can create. Visually unique, "Get out cha own way" incorporates the dance music video formula with a handmade artistic visual approach. Both the song and video explore the idea of "Be the change you wish to see", presented from the point of view of the human in struggle, and the voice of change, promising greener pastures.
"I can tell you with certainty that there isn't a room big enough in the city for the soulful voice, music, and presence of Athena Holmes."
- Darcy Macdonald, The Montreal Mirror