Who: Toy Holmes
Stopped: Outside the Signature Theatre on 42nd Street
What are you doing in the neighborhood?
I’m meeting a friend who I haven’t seen in two years. We’re both artists so we like to catch up and share war stories about the arts.
What kind of artist are you?
I’m a singer-songwriter and a voiceover actor. My music is a mixture of funk, rap, soul and hip-hop. It’s a fusion of my musical influences growing up and everything that has inspired me. Where I went to school in North Carolina, most people at school listened to country and heavy metal, but at home we listened to a lot of funk and soul. I’m also preacher’s kid, so at church, it was gospel.
Who would you say was your biggest musical influence?
Prince. I’m broken-hearted right now. He was my main inspiration. I was four when I first saw Prince, and it was the first time I had permission to be different and to be myself. It was as if he was the embodiment of what I felt but couldn’t express because I didn’t have the language. When I saw him naked on that Pegasus, I knew my life was changed forever.
Who introduced you to Prince?
My brother, who I lost this New Year’s Eve. When he passed away, I felt paralyzed. It’s been really hard to push past the grief, but in a way, it’s made me take responsibility for sharing my art. I’m doing what I’ve been put here to do: telling the truth and being authentic.
What is in your red suitcase?
The projects that I’m working on; I walk around and find a space to sit and work.
What is something that only the children of a preacher might understand?
The struggle to be human and not this ideal of what perfection looks like to the outside world.