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Meet Marvin Hollie of Holliewood Productions

Today we’d like to introduce you to Marvin Hollie.

Marvin, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I was born and raised in the heart of Fort Worth, Texas, Southeast to be exact! It’s pretty safe to say that I was born with music in my blood, at the age of two years old, I fell in love with the drums. Still to this day, my family gets a kick out of the video of me playing a Red Electric Drum Kit that was in my Grandparents garage.

The name of the band was Ground Control, which was a family band with a variety of members in my family: my father, mother, cousins, a few other family members and close friends. In this video, I was caught playing and singing the song “Go Johnny Go”. I was told that if someone tried to remove me from the drum kit that I would cry. As a result, my mother purchased me my first drum kit, I would practice every day. It wasn’t long before I found my way to the church and was sharing my gift of rhythm at a very young age, the name of that church was Second Christian Church, which was my grandparent’s home church, my Great Grandmother (Ruth Cowan) played the piano here as well

In the 6th grade, my cousin Roland Walker, showed me how to play my first song on the piano, Down on Bended Knee by Boyz II Men. I was shocked of the fact that I could even play it, the melody was so beautiful; it caught my attention. This song was very challenging to say the least, especially for me only being 12 years of age.

Nevertheless, I learned it, with the key change! I thought I was something! Roland planted that seed in me, that hunger, the hunt was on… and I went full throttle! From that moment, I would learn songs simply by placing my ear on the melody for a couple of minutes and before I knew it BOOM I had mastered it!  I taught myself every Kirk Franklin song I could get a hold of. My friends began to quickly discover that I could play as well. The result was a before and after lunch jam session before I even knew what a jam session was. I would play and my friends would be singing everything from “I ain’t mad at cha” By the late great 2 Pac Shakur to Melodies from Heaven written by the legend himself Kirk Franklin.

On the day of my 8th-grade promotion, I started my first Gospel Group: “Anointed Voices” this group was composed of my friends. We partied all over the house but somehow, we ended up in the back bedroom, which was also where I kept my little Casio keyboard. My mother didn’t know that I could play the piano as well as I could, nor did she know how many songs I had learned. So, when I played “He’s Able” By Kirk Franklin, she was extremely elated to say the least. Kirk was a hometown hero so the fact that I could play one of his songs made me the best ever. Once she heard the voices in 3-part harmony with no rehearsal she almost lost it. “We have to start a group!” I agreed! Everyone did! For the next four years, we sang all over Fort Worth and Dallas, Texas.

During this time, I began to take piano lessons from Barnabas (Barney) Smith. Barney changed my life! Barney showed me my first Jazz tune, Blues tune, Church Hymn and even an Elvis Presley’s tune. Barney was the full package, I would go watch him play 3-4 keyboards and be amazed, Barney actually gave me my first gig as a drummer. I probably shouldn’t have been out that late in high school at the bar playing music, but I was. Sorry, Mom if you’re reading this. Barney would play horn parts, organ, piano, synth solos, you name it he did it. Not to mention he was an excellent bass player! Barney also introduced me to Oscar Peterson, even now, I can still transcribe Oscar Peterson’s solos. You never stop learning. I am a student at best.

It’s safe to say my musicianship increased tremendously over the next four years of my life leading up to me going to college with Barney elevating me. I began to attract the attention of some of the city’s giants. As a result, I begin to shed and learn from them, iron sharpens iron was very true in that moment. This taught me how to really support myself during high school. I could now hold down an entire church service on my own with no problem, organ, piano and drums. Thanks to my mentor, I didn’t need a bass player because he made sure that my left hand (bass hand) was super solid. I love key bass to this day because of Barney.

My freshman year of college, I enrolled in Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas. Here I was a music major,  just like Anointed Voices, I started a music group, but with an entirely different group of individuals. The name of this group was CHOSEN. Chosen was more of an actual ministry. We had bible study, choir rehearsals and engagements every week around the surrounding areas. Chosen is still functioning at full capacity right now on the campus of Navarro.

My second year, I attended Briar Cliff University in Sioux City Iowa and here is where my talent, and love for music grew significantly. I took classical piano and it really helped me tremendously on my discipline. Unfortunately, college didn’t work out for me. I ended up moving back to Fort Worth and starting a career in finance at Washington Mutual. I swapped between credit card departments and auto collections until I landed in the mortgage world. I ended up working for Fannie Mae as an escalation analyst, playing for my church on Sundays, and playing for weddings on Saturdays, living life the good ole Texas way.

However, a nasty divorce would deplete me in more ways than three. As a result, I placed all bets on my God-given talent. I took my playing even more seriously and began playing for Tamela Mann. This led to me to catching my first tour with Child Prodigy, Lucky Peterson. Lucky took me all over the world: Canada, Canary Islands, Europe, Africa, all over North America, it was such a blessing and a great experience. Most importantly, Lucky took me to Los Angeles, we had a show at a small blues club in Los Angeles and my life literally changed forever.

My high school drum major Jimmy Smith had been living in Los Angeles for years and was dancing and choreographing for J-Lo and other artists. Jimmy picked me up from my hotel and took me to Hollywood to a Jam session at Hotel Cafe. When we walked in someone was playing the Bass as if they made the Bass Guitar. His name was Ethan Farmer. That was all I needed to hear and see! The energy and the vibe at Hotel Cafe was so vibrant and creative. I had to find a way to move here. It was what I needed to get better, Fort Worth was so slow and boring. Los Angeles gave me a feeling I never felt before.

First thing I did was research, I had to find out if I had any family in Los Angeles. I remember my Grandmother mentioning it but moving to Los Angeles never would have crossed my mind in a million years. When I asked my grandmother If I had family in Los Angeles, the answer was, “YOU SURE DO! Your cousin Kay!” So, I called Kay to see if I could stay with her and her family for a week so I can check out the city. Kay and her Husband Rickie opened their house for me to do exactly that. I took them up on their offer and as a result I moved that December to LaLa Land!

Leading up to my move I began to position myself for greatness. I paid to have access to a Los Angeles based Craigslist for musicians, guess what happened? Yup you guessed it, I landed my first audition for a Pop Artist! Her name was Nikkole.  Just what I needed. In addition to that, my new and close friend J Mack (by the way of Alabama) connected me with his close friend, who is also from Alabama Kerry Marshall. Kerry was my eyes and ears for what I needed to do to prepare for Los Angeles as a Music Director Producer and Keyboardist. Kerry forwarded me an invite to a meeting for a music agency ran by Grammy Award-winning producer Keith Harris. The name of the agency was The Gobo Music Agency (TGMA).

I wasn’t able to make the physical meeting because I was in Texas. I was at choir practice at Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas Texas to be exact with the youth choir. My phone went off with the info. Something told me to scroll down to the bottom. I scrolled down and seen that I could submit my EPK and EP to the agency. I did just that, and to my surprise, I was accepted! This can’t be true, I thought! Now I had a Nikkole lined up and I was a part of an agency ran by a Grammy Award-winning producer and drummer whom I’ve never met. Not to mention I had a place to stay to get on my feet with my Cousin Kay. I wanted to get more into the industry live band world ,from a programming perspective versus the raw live band vibes. So, this move made so much sense to me, don’t get me wrong the live band fusion blues vibes are still my favorite, because of the freedom to express yourself! However, I felt like I hit the ceiling as a band member in that field and lets be honest, the bag is a little different.

In December of 2014, I bought a one-way ticket to LaLa Land. I moved in with my cousins off of 68th and Normandie, I would walk to the bus stop every week and ride the bus to Koreatown. So focused on my dream it didn’t bother me one bit that I was walking through multiple different Gang Sets who were enemies just to get to the valley which is were all of the creatives are. From Koreatown, I would get on the Red Line (underground subway) to North Hollywood with no plans. I would go just so I could be around the energy, I’m really big on the law of attraction. In my mind, if I hang out in North Hollywood, eat there etc. the opportunity would meet me via an invite to a rehearsal, getting to a jam super early, and or even just bumping into someone. All of the above happened!

After meeting Keith and Nikkole, thanks to them I immediately began being booked for sessions, doing show tapes for Fifth Harmony, the Band Perry, as well as having studio sessions with Estelle, Willie Taylor from Day 26, Seraya from Empire and more. My first huge gig wasn’t for Nikkole directly but she performed for the concert, and that featured over seven different artists. The Live your Dream Gala, featuring The Emotions. This was indeed an honor to be able to play and be the MD for the night for all of those amazing Artist and of course the living legends, The Emotions!

This led to me working with Chrisette Michelle, I toured with Chrisette, I also produced eight songs for her album that was later dropped. What an experience though! Recording at East-West Studio was amazing to say the least, I was able to play and meet some of LA’s best musicians which expanded my network, circle and finances. At this point, the opportunities began to pour in and every year I was growing and putting myself in better situations than I was the previous year.

I played at a church every Sunday in Los Angeles as well, church fed me and my family. It was perfect for when I wasn’t on the road. Playing in church put me in a better position to pursue my career as a Music Director/Producer/Keyboardist. I was blessed to be able to fill in for the keyboard player  at Pastor Nisan Stewarts Church. Nisan is also a beacon in the Los Angeles music scene as a music director, playing at this church allowed me to play with other touring musicians as well and this allowed me to showcase my gift. Before I played for Pastor Nisan Stewart’s Church, I played at the Late Great Andre Crouch’s Church right after he passed away.

The music director there was a man by the name of Wow Jones. I had seen Wow using pro tools to run the playback for the Praise Team and Choir and I could tell that he knew what he was doing, it was kind of frowned upon to use pro tools from a creative standpoint…still is even today. Everyone uses Ableton, Logic, FL and Studio One, not many people use pro tools to create in. Keith Harris creates in pro tools which means so did I, if you’re able to produce in Pro Tools from scratch you OVER-STOOD a few things to say the least lol.

Me meeting Wow changed my life, we still work on accounts together. If anyone calls or called Wow for Musical Direction, HE made sure that I am involved and/or in the room. Because of Wow, I was able to assist him as co-music director for three Post Malone Tours, Swae Lee Coachella performance and tour, Kelly Rowland, Estelle, Jimi James, James Davis, Bazzi, BJ The Chicago Kid, Layton Greene and more

With the help and blessings of Wow Jones and Keith Harris, I was able to gain my respect in the Los Angeles music scene as a music director, producer, programmer, and keyboardist. Iron sharpens iron, and these two guys in particular have made sure that my blades remained sharp. It’s so important to stay dedicated and focus because your life can literally change overnight.

Perfect example: last night I was helping put together a show for quality controls Layton Greene, this morning I was discussing upcoming plans for Warners JoJo, and now I am currently on a plane flying to Toronto to do a show with Warners Ali Gatie! I can remember sitting at home wishing my phone would ring, applying hard work and dedication, I have achieved everything I ever dreamt. It’s extremely vital that you keep your energy at an all-time high frequency, opportunity comes often but only to the ones who attract it day in and day out.

Today I am a successful entrepreneur, music producer and music director. There is so much in store for Holliewood Productions in this year alone so stay tuned! Make sure you Subscribe to my YouTube Channel (MARTIANVILLE) as well as my Instagram @Marv_themartian_  

Thank you for the opportunity to share my journey. I am forever grateful.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The road to success is never easy, a few of the struggles that come to mind outside of obviously being homeless is being so close to capitalizing on so many LIFE-CHANGING opportunities and coming up short. When you reach a point to where you know the right people and nothing is happening, that is a never-ending struggle.

We’d love to hear more about your work.
I am the owner of my business, I created Holliewood Productions so I cannot only create opportunities for my peers, and other talents across the globe, but to also show people how important it is to brand yourself. So, what you’re just a janitor, a bus driver or a bass player the world needs to hear your story! I am proud of the fact that Holliewood Productions is able to have a direct impact both on the West Coast and Down South (Texas) with a growing partnership in New York!

People may have known me as the Music Director/Producer/Keyboardist for Artist such as Post Malone, Swae Lee, Ali Gatie, JoJo, Jack and Jack, etc. who always brings the vibe with him. However, Holliewood Productions is not just focusing on the Music part of things but we are 100% focus on the lifestyle of the Artist/Creative.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Humility, always remain a student, dedication, resilience and smile!

Contact Info:

  • Email: Holliewoodproductions@gmail.com
  • Website: www.marvinhollie.com
  • Phone: 818-405-0450
  • Instagram: marv_themartian_

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