Songwriter Greg Holden Discusses the Success of Phillip Phillips' 'Home'
"It's the biggest thing that's happened to me," he said of the season 11 winner's coronation song, which debuts on the airwaves this week.
Phillip Phillips’ coronation song, “Home,” hits the radio this week, and the man behind the lyrics, Greg Holden, still can’t believe it.
“It’s the biggest thing that’s happened to me,” Holden told the Scotland website, DailyRecord.co.uk. “If sales reach 500,000, I will get myself a little gold disc, which would be incredible.”
“Home” was the first Idol victory single to debut in the Billboard top 10 since 2008. It shot to No. 2 in the digital charts, eventually selling 400,000 copies in its first two weeks of release.
The 29-year-old Scot said he is overwhelmed by the attention “Home” has received since Phillips performed it on the American Idol finale May 23. Despite his newfound fame, he maintains that his feet are still firmly planted “on the ground.”
“It has been totally off-the-chart insane,” said the Aberdeenshire songwriter. “When I heard my song on American Idol, I couldn’t get my head round it. Then my phone just exploded with calls and texts…I will definitely, eventually, earn money from this, but it’s not like the song is on American Idol then somebody hands me a cheque for a million dollars.”
Holden grew up in up in Methlick, Scotland, moving to England when he was three. From the time he picked up a guitar at the age of 18, he fantasized about American success.
“I always dreamt of living in New York and being a successful singer-songwriter,” he said.
He moved to London in 2007 to attempt a career, but booked a flight to New York after what he described as a “light-bulb” moment.
“I thought, ‘You have to go to New York now.’ I got online, booked my flight and gave myself a month to quit my job, sort my things and go,” he said, taking a huge gamble on a 90-day work visa.
Magically, he landed an opening spot on a tour with singer/songwriter Ingrid Michaelson, but was disappointed when a record deal didn’t materialize.
He self-released an album in 2011, and experienced overseas success in Holland with the single, “The Lost Boy.” A Dutch on-air personality felt a personal connection to the song, and tied it in with a charity event, raising money for the Red Cross.
“It was added to the playlist of this huge radio event and became the second-most-requested song that week,” he said.
Holden, suddenly successful, found himself in front of an audience of 10,000 people and a radio audience of 11 million on Christmas Eve.
Shortly afterward, Holden was paired with songwriter Drew Pearson in a Los Angeles studio to work on new material.
“This is the crazy thing, we just wrote it – our publishers put us together to see what we came up with,” said Holden.
He was further surprised when just six months later, his manager called to inform him that Interscope chief Jimmy Iovine listened to the song and decided it would be perfect victory song for Phillips.
“The song I had been playing on tour was suddenly being played in front of 20 million people,” he said.
Holden is now fielding calls about future prospects, and his next single, “As Far As I Can,” will be released in Holland this September. He is working on a deal to re-release his album, as well.
“Now I have people wanting to write with me and I will have the opportunity to sit in a room with influential people,” he marveled. “Who would have thought it?”
Watch Holden perform "Home" below: