My professional music career began at the age of thirteen ... as an organist at a local Lutheran Church in my home town of Biloxi, a popular resort community on the Gulf of Mexico in the state of Mississippi (USA).
I studied music and piano with Dr. Laurence Oden, a graduate of the Julliard School of Music. Dr. Oden was convinced that I had the talent to become an important concert artist but, to his great disappointment, that was not to be.
I began playing night clubs during my college years. During summer vacation after my second year at Southern Missionary College, in Chattanooga, Tennessee I spotted an ad in the local paper for a piano player at a place called the San Beach Steak Inn in Biloxi. "Although I do play the piano", I mentioned to the owner, "it's too bad there isn't an organ in the establishment." The owner invited me to bring mine in.
Night clubs were much more popular then. Not too long after starting out at the San Beach Steak Inn, the biggest and most popular night spot on the coast, the Fiesta, beckoned. I worked there until two brothers who owned a night spot in Detroit saw me and heard me play. They invited me to move to the Motor City to play for them.
Coming to town in the mid-1970's I soon became a familiar and popular performer at several of the Metropolitan Detroit area's more popular night spots, and even "across the river" in Ontario (Canada), playing such popular spots as Windsor's Top Hat supper club.
Moving to Detroit brought exciting opportunities and steady work. But it also proved to be a non-stop ride. When you're playing clubs, the money is good and the work is steady, but there's no such thing as taking a break or paid vacations. After performing professionally for several years, I decided to try something completely different.
The entrepreneurial spirit caught up with me and I moved to Clinton Township, a far-north suburb of Detroit, to start my own music school. I developed my own teaching method designed for classes instead of private lessons and wrote over two hundred lesson plans. At its peak my school had over 200 students. It was during this time that a friend approached me concerning an opening at a church, Unity of Livonia ..."
I went to Unity in 1988. Moving full-circle, I was back to where I'd begun, playing for congregations on Sunday mornings. But as Director of Music at Unity, I not only participated in planning the church's ministry of music, but was also responsible for its choirs and for the provision of music at weddings, funerals, special seasonal celebrations, and all other special occasions. In between these responsibilities, I wrote music, and soon had over sixty songs to my credit.
From time to time during each year, Unity presented special concerts which I planed and conducted. We presented my first Danny Holley special in May of 1977. We called it Danny Holley — His Music and His Friends because this particular concert featured my compositions exclusively, sung by a cast four singers. This was a departure from the way I usually performed, in that I did very little performing. I created the orchestrations for my songs using my computer, professional software and my sound synthesizers, and let the spotlight shine mostly on the cast.
During the past few years, several of my compositions and arrangements have found their way to various sites featuring electronic music in the MIDI format on the Internet's World Wide Web. The exceptional quality of these works have brought unexpected inquiries to my email in-box, with commissions for special arrangements of songs suitable for use on Internet web sites, for polishing the work of other MIDI composers, and so on.
Originally trained as a classical concert artist, but well experienced as a professional performer of popular music, I bring a broad, versatile talent to this new episode in what has been an interesting and varied career. Like any accomplished artist, I'm often told that I make it look so easy. Perhaps that shouldn't be surprising, from someone who's learned that ...
Music is my first love, and always will be!