My guest today is very young, very beautiful and very talented. She loves Jane Austen, of course, and that's the main reason for being here to meet you. Holly Christina is a promising singer/songwriter I discovered by chance thanks to her Youtube video, "Jane Austen" . We live on the opposite sides of the planet but we found out we had common ground. Meet Holly Christina and welcome her on My Jane Austen Book Club!
Hello Holly Christina! Welcome to My Jane Austen Book Club. Can you first of all, please tell us what you do?
Hello Maria – well I’m a singer/songwriter from Auckland, New Zealand. I also teach guitar with my business ‘GatSong’, and coach tennis.
You are very young. When did you start writing songs?
I started playing guitar and writing songs when I was 12. I really enjoy writing lyrics, inventing unique guitar chords, and creating music, and I’ve been doing it for 7 years now.
Gosh, you are only 19, Holly! Congratulations on being so young and so talented! And when did the idea of a “Jane Austen” pop song come to you?
It’s an interesting story actually. I started writing a fun song called “Fairytale Girl” when I was 15, and one of the lines in the first verse was: “maybe it is Jane Austen’s books that get my head into a whirl that Mr. Darcy will come knocking at my door”. I loved the chords I used in the song, and that line always stood out to me, but the rest of the lyrics didn’t quite fit with the concept. So in July 2011, when I was still 18, I sat down with my guitar and re-wrote the song using the title “Jane Austen”. I incorporated some symbolism and references to her books, characters and era – and hopefully Austen fans all around the world will relate to the ideas and humour in the song. It’s incredible how Austen’s books have stood the test the time, and are still loved by so many.
What is the message you want to convey to contemporary audience in your Jane Austen song?
I hope that people enjoy the song’s journey from the 2000s back to the 1800s, and think about how many things have changed since the “simple olden days”. I have also met quite a few young people that still haven’t heard of Jane Austen, so hopefully this song will enlighten more of them about this classic author, and get them reading her amazing books!
My Mum introduced me to Jane Austen books when I was 10. I remember firstly reading ‘Pride and Prejudice’, and I loved it! Over the years, my Mum and I have built up a pretty good DVD collection of the film adaptations, and we have watched them many times. My favourite ones are ‘Emma’ (1996 version with Gwyneth Paltrow), ‘Sense and Sensibility’ (1995 version with Kate Winslet) and of course the 1995 BBC TV mini-series ‘Pride and Prejudice’ – it’s a real masterpiece!
What is it that you appreciate the most in Jane Austen’s world?
The proper language they used, and the courteous manner in which everyone addressed each other.
What things would you miss the most from the modern days if you went back in time to live in her age?
I guess I would probably miss some things like the telephone, the microwave and my iPod!
My favourite Austen leading lady is Elinor Dashwood. She is a very sensible, thoughtful young woman – and I like her reserved disposition. I can’t decide on my favourite hero though – I like Mr. Darcy, Mr. Knightley and Edward Ferrars. All those characters have great qualities!
What have you learnt from Jane Austen?
Her books have taught me many different real life lessons. An example is about how we should be careful about what we say – as shown when Mr. Knightley gives Emma a stern talking to after she meanly insults Miss Bates. I also value the wisdom of Jane Austen’s quotes like “my good opinion, once lost, is lost forever” from ‘Pride and Prejudice’.
Do you think her novels can still appeal to young people nowadays?
Yes – there’s drama, romance and fantastic plots, and it’s quite remarkable how many of her storylines and characters can remind you of a situation or person from your life!
Yes, the gentlemen in Austen’s novels are great role models for boys these days. It’s a shame how many boys just dismiss Jane Austen as a “girly book” or “chick flick”, when really her writing and characters could offer them so much more. My brother (who is 17) has watched some of the Jane Austen DVDs, and he doesn’t mind them, so maybe introducing the film adaptations to boys is a good place to start!
What’s next for Holly Christina?
At this stage, I’m just working on promoting my new singles “Image” and “Jane Austen” - the official music videos are on YouTube. I had so much fun making the quirky “Jane Austen” music video, and I really just took artistic license with the costume and locations. I would like to release a couple of new singles and music videos throughout the year, and perhaps bring out a new album in late 2012/early 2013.
Good luck! We wish you all the best, and may all your dreams come true, and make you very happy.
Thanks so much for your support My Jane Austen Book Club!
Thanks a lot for taking the time to answer my questions, Holly. And now, it's time to watch your "Jane Austen" Video!
Jane Austen by Holly Christina is available on iTunes