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Catching up with Sally Boy

Erez Potok-Holmes says growing up in Philly shaped his career

Philadelphia-born, Los Angeles-based singer songwriter Sally Boy just released his single/music video ‘Bongo’ from his upcoming EP, ‘Lies I Tell Myself.’ Image | Elias Ginsberg

Philadelphia-born, Los Angeles-based singer songwriter Sally Boy (Erez Potok-Holmes) just released his single/music video “Bongo” from his forthcoming EP “Lies I Tell Myself,” out in October. 

“Bongo” is a rip-roaring track about trying to escape the endless cycle of the mundane and meaningless. Another report done, another email sent, all to do it again the next day. Anchored by a hard-bodied trap beat and skittering synths, “Bongo” hits a deeply relatable note of being stuck in work, sleep, repeat “Groundhog Day” loop. 

Sally Boy hit the scene in 2020 with the release of his debut EP “EREZ,” all while being a senior at USC majoring in popular music and minoring in philosophy. The EP garnered accolades, including being listed as one of Pigeons & Planes Best New Artists in September, and features in Wonderland Magazine, Flaunt Magazine, American Songwriter’s Bringing It Backward Podcast, One’s To Watch and more.

Sally Boy’s music is playful, with drums that get into your system at the molecular level, forcing you to move; the lyrics have swagger, even when dabbling in self-deprecation. It’s an amused celebration of accepting yourself, flaws and all.

PW recently caught up with Sally Boy to talk about the new music and how growing up in Philly shaped him.

Let’s go back to the beginning. When did you first become interested in music? Who were some of your earliest influences?

I don’t think there was a time when I wasn’t interested in music. I started playing very young, and writing songs came naturally. I don’t even have distinct memories of any of those firsts really. I just always did them. 

Influences, on the other hand, I have a better grasp on. When I was really little, I had two records always running; one was a Bruce Springsteen album, and the other was the Spongebob movie soundtrack. I think that really laid the foundation for what became my musical fervor later in life. Always gotta show love to Ray Charles for teaching me to sing, and the Beatles for showing the extent to which the boundaries of music can be pushed, and that even if you go weird, people always come around.

What’s the inspiration for the name Sally Boy? 

I wrote this song called Sally Boy when I was just sittin’ listening to my dad and his friend talk, and then when it came to picking a name that just felt like the natural choice. I often get this question, and I feel like it’s an underwhelming response but that’s the truth! Sometimes you just gotta do what’s easy. Should be easy!

How does being from the Philadelphia area influence your music?

It’s everything. I wouldn’t be here without my experiences in Philly growing up. I learned how to perform in front of people at stuffy basements in West Philly, learned how to record in North Philly, and was formed by the artists in the Philly scene. If those records I mentioned prior were the foundation to my career, the Philly music scene was the basement and part of the first floor. Forever grateful for this city; it easily has my heart.

Sally Boy (Erez Potok-Holmes) says he wouldn’t have made it this far without his experiences in Philly growing up. Image | Elias Ginsberg

Your EP, “Lies I Tell Myself,” is out in October. Talk a little about how it came together. How will people be able to get it?

“LITM” was a labor of love. Been workin’ on most of it for probably the past 8-10 months or so, and I’m just happy other ears are gonna ingest it. Super proud of how it turned out. Feels like a new step for me sonically and in my writing. In the past, certain lines have stood out as fillers, or just don’t feel true to me anymore, but this project is entirely intentional, and I’m proud of that. 

I take that last question in two ways. One, you can get it on any streaming platform on the face of the Earth; Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Music, Deezer, Tidal etc. Or, two, you can get it by pretending like you wrote these lines. My dad the other day said that sometimes he feels weird listening to music because of how he is feeling these emotions about experiences other people went through, and I replied by saying that though the details are unique, the underlying emotions are unequivocally human. That’s what this project is all about, the human experience through love, growth, self-doubt, etc. So just remember those themes and feel them yourself and you’ll more than get the project, you’ll feel it.

In addition to the EP drop, what’s ahead for you? More new music? Live performances?

Man, everything’s ahead. I have like 50 songs I can’t wait to see daylight. I’m itching to hit the stage and meet people I’ve been talking to online for over a year and more. I’m just excited. Really feel like I’m only just now understanding shit at a different level. I’m always learning. Gonna be cool to see how that all manifests.

What are the best ways for your fans to stay current with what you’re doing?

Socials, baby. Sallyboy or Sallyboyboi on every platform. I post a lot, I talk a lot. If you hit me, I’ll do my best to respond. Never really had an email chain, but maybe I’ll hop on that, idk. In the meantime, hit my Insta, and if you want unreleased, then hit my TikTok. Easy peasy.

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  • Eugene Zenyatta was raised on old-time Memphis 'rasslin' and strongly prefers the company of dogs to people. His greatest heartbreak came in the 2010 Breeders' Cup Classic.

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