Holly Penfield, a luminary on the London jazz cabaret scene for over fifteen years, is a native of San Francisco. She began singing at the the age of 12,trained by the legendary vocal coach Judy Davis who coached Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr.
Moving to Los Angeles,singer/songwriter talent secured three record contracts, the most noteworthy being the records she made with Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn (producers for Pat Benatar, Blondie, The Knack, Suzi Quatro, Exile, and Tina Turner). She recorded five albums of her own material, reachingthe American charts. Many of the aspects of her rock 'n roll sensibilities Holly applies to her jazz cabaret performance.
Holly, like Josephine Baker, was lured by the European mystique, but made her career in London rather than Paris. Achieving great success as a jazz cabaret singer, she appeared at Pizza on The Park, Cafe de Paris, Beach Blanket Babylon, Pizza Express, China Jazz, and Scott's on Mount Street - where she was, (like Sally Bowles) the toast of Mayfair!
Holly has also performed for Prince Charles and Princess Diana at the opening of a major London film studio, wowing guests including the Lord Mayor of London.
She has headlined major dinner concerts for 250 guests at the Savoy Hotel, playing a two-hour concert with a 12-piece band, and has sung in many prestigious London hotels including The savoy (3 years weekly resident) the
Lanesborough, The Landmark, The Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Knightsbridge, The Dorchester and The Ritz (at a private party for Prince Andrew and SarahFerguson). She has been seen by Dame Shirley Bassey, Lionel Ritchie, Kate Moss, Tony Blair, Margaret Thatcher, Boy George, George Michael and Michael Jackson (with whom she performed at the 1996 Brit Awards) and many more.
In addition to public performances, she carries out hundreds of exclusive private parties all over
England and Europe.
In London Holly has blazed a trail on the lively cabaret and burlesque scene. Many performers have followed in her high-heeled footsteps at the venues Holly launched, including the Soho Revue Bar, Volupte Supper Club and the historic Cafe Royal. At The London Hippodrome in Leicester Square Holly participated in the "Alternative Miss World " pageant, wearing wild costumes inspired by her electric stage presence, designed for her by leading designers of the time.
Holly is often hired for her creativity with elaborate costumes to fit special themes, including ashow in the historic vaults underneath London Bridge for an event built around "Dante's Inferno" illustrating the seven deadly sins. In addition to performing in upmarket establishments, she also has a fondness for appearing in unorthodox venues including wine cellars, boats and hot air balloons.
Holly has toured Europe extensively. She has performed at ski resorts in the Alps,at a Russian art gallery in St Moritz (alongside Faye Dunaway, Jacqueline Bissett, Michael York and Geraldine Chaplin,) in an amphitheatre in Sicily and in many a chateau for French farmers. In Norway she conducted a 13-city tour culminating in a concert in Oslo . European credits include music festivals in France , Italy and Germany , gigs in Istanbul , Munich , Copenhagen , Tel Aviv and Tokyo (at the enormous Budokan Theatre where she competed in the Yamaha Song writing Festival, winning a motorcycle!) She has appeared with her quartet at Cairo 's legendary Mena Hou Oberoi Hotel, at the base of the Keops Great Pyramid, singing swing at the El Khalifa Room.
Holly herself is a fine pianist whose serious song writing talents come to the foreground in her original compositions on her CD's "Both Sides Now" and"Le Jazz Hot" recorded live at the legendary Pizza on the Park.