Theater & Arts

Artists you should know: John Holiday

Rapper/singer John Holiday will release his much-awaited debut album "Cadillac in the Sky" on Saturday night at Babylon.

It's happening in style, as Sen Dog (of Cypress Hill) is in town to join him on the bill. Showtime is 7:45 p.m. Tickets cost $20-$25.

We caught up with Holiday to talk about what distinguishes him from the average local rapper and what people should expect from his CD.

How did you get started in music? As a youngster, I always loved music, and in high school, I was challenged to freestyle. Later that week, I recorded my first track and have been doing it ever since. I couldn't be more happy.

I know you're not a typical rapper -- you wear AC/DC and Beatles T-shirts, sing and play guitar. Who are your influences as an artist? In the rap world, OutKast is my biggest influence. But I love a lot of old school R&B, rock and soul music from Beatles to Bob Marley, James Brown to Phil Collins. But lately, I credit most of my creativity to artists like Amos Lee, Damien Rice and others in that realm.

Tell us about "Cadillac in the Sky." Start with the name. What's that about? The Cadillac represents what you see mostly in and around the ghetto, and where's the last place you would expect one? In the sky. It's a way of saying where you are from does not determine where you end up. The album itself is a mix of my many different influences -- hard-hitting bangers to soul-driven ballads.

Who did you work with on the album -- both guests and producers? On the album, I produced all the tracks myself but I had the vocal stylings of my little songstress Ke'Nethia Young -- she's great -- collaborated with J. Martinez of Down Word on a track. I also had some live guitar and bass played by Steve Tran and Christian Jessen, also from Down Word. My producer homie G-Flo helped me out on some tracks.

What's your favorite song on the album? Why? "Cadillac in the Sky," because I think it's all my styles and taste on one track. It pretty much sums up the entire album.

It's big that you got Sen Dog here for your CD release. How'd you work that out? I did a few shows with some out-of-town talent, and it was like a friend-of-a-friend type deal. He's a real cool guy for doing it. He is a legend. I couldn't ask for a better intro to the game.

Where will people be able to pick up the CD after the show? On, at FTK, Kaleidoscope, maybe Rasputin and at any upcoming show I will have.

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Know a local musician that more people should be familiar with? Send the who and why to Mike Osegueda,