Gwen grew up in a musical family in a small town in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains of Canada. Everybody played multiple instruments and everybody sang: uncles, aunts, parents, and grandparents. Many weekends the family would party until the sun came up and/or the beer ran out! 

After graduating from Berklee College of Music in Boston with a focus on songwriting, voice and multiple instruments, she moved to Vancouver, BC, Canada, for a decade, working in recording studios, performing in blues bands as a sideman, fronting original groups.

After relocating to Nashville, Gwen returned to songwriting, mentoring under hit songwriter Ralph Murphy.  Wanting to share her passion and knowledge, she volunteered on weekends as a piano teacher at the W.O. Smith School of Music (for underprivileged children) for several years before taking a position at Jan Williams School of Music in Brentwood, TN, for six years.

Photo by Danielle Shields

For the past 10 years she’s been teaching privately from her home studio in East Nashville. Gwen teaches voice (including studio vocal coaching/production), piano, guitar, bass, harmonica, sax, ukulele and songwriting, and facilitates blues, rock and pop student bands for both adults and children.

She continues to write, record, produce and perform. Can't get enough? Keep on reading!

Photo by Michael Weintrob

Photo by Michael Weintrob

Gwen fronts The Gwen Holt Duo (vocals/keyboards/acoustic guitar/sax/harmonica)(original acoustic, easy listening pop) as well as the Nashville-based, original alt rock band Sister Gypsy and the Pirates of Time (vocals/guitar/harmonicas) (80s pop meets classic rock). In addition, she's working with Mark Antony Wray on his Mystery School project (unique, instrumental world music: YouTube Link). All three groups are currently recording their debut albums.

Gwen's song “Mama Drove the Getaway Car” was recently picked up as the theme song for the online TV show about female race car drivers EmPowered Women with Emme Halle and Charlene Bowers on the AutoWerkz network: FaceBook Video. Over a dozen of her songs have been recorded by independent artists. She co-wrote the theme song for the Canadian TV show Powerplay and her jingles have received heavy rotation on Nashville’s radio station Lightning 100. In Vancouver, BC, Canada, Gwen won the KISS FM lyric writing contest and starred in an award-winning TV commercial for Larrivee Guitars, which was in heavy rotation for two years. Her song “She Ain’t Got Jack,” was recorded and released by indie artist and climbed to number seven on the Roots Music Chart and to 21 on the “Top 30 Indie” chart.  She’s had songs on hold by artists such as Martina McBride and Jessica Andrews. She’s done a national (Canada), award-winning TV commercial for Larrivee Guitars. 

Photo by ArtnMotion Images

Photo by Michael Weintrob

In 2017, Gwen performed with Nashville's two-time, blues-band-of-the-year NIMA award-winner Eight-o-Five Jive on sax and harmonica at their CD release party. She also did studio vocal coaching/production on their album as well as on Jayson Bowers' EP Southern Southern Nights. Additionally, she sang back-up vocals on his record, played bass on the title song, and sax on another cut. Gwen has also done vocal coaching for The Voice semi-finalist Preston James, rising indie country star Grayson, renowned songwriter Chase McGill, Mike Marsh (The Avett Brothers), and others.

Over the past 15 years, Gwen has enjoyed performing with various groups. She toured with The Rhythm Angels as well as Colleen McFarland as harmonica player/backup singer/rhythm guitarist/percussionist. The former group opened for Jessi Colter. Both groups toured the Northeast. Gwen played sax/keys with Darko Blo, opening for Bush and Candlebox in Nashville and she sang backup for Markey Blue (NIMA Awards Best Blues Artist) and Nick Nixon (ex-Platters). As a bassist/back-up singer/harmonica player, she toured the Southeast with the cover band Kung Pow.

In the 90s, Gwen performed (bass/vocals/harmonica) with blues/rock club icons The Vaqueros in Vancouver, Canada. There she regularly shared the stage with rock stars such as Matt Frenette from Loverboy and Pat Steward, Bryan Adams’ touring drummer. She also played bass for Kathi McDonald (former backup singer for The Rolling Stones (Exile on Main St. album) and Ike & Tina Turner). In addition, Gwen wrote, played guitar and harmonica, and sang backup vocals for Kelli Brock (BCCMA country vocalist of the year) in a duo called Juliet & Juliet. She also worked as an assistant recording engineer with artists such as DOA and Skinny Puppy.