Holly Cole is a Canadian jazz singer, particularly popular in Canada and Japan for her versatile voice and her adventurous repertoire, which spans such divergent genres as show tunes, rock, and country music. In 1983, she travelled to Toronto to seek a musical career. In 1986, she founded a trio with bassist David Piltch and pianist Aaron Davis. Offered a record deal in 1989, the Holly Cole Trio released an EP, Christmas Blues, that year, which featured a version of The Pretenders' "2,000 Miles". This was followed by their first full album, Girl Talk, in 1990. A succession of releases followed through the early 1990s. For example, 1991's Blame It On My Youth, covered songs by Tom Waits ("Purple Avenue", aka "Empty Pockets"), Lyle Lovett ("God Will"), includes show tunes such as "If I Were A Bell" (from Guys and Dolls) and "On The Street Where You Live" (from My Fair Lady), and even remakes "Trust In Me", from Disney's The Jungle Book, into a strikingly sultry and sinister song of seduction and death. Also recorded in this period was "Alison", a reinterpretation of Elvis Costello's original.
Cole grew up surrounded by music; her parents are classical players, her brother is a composer and jazz artist, her uncle sang and acted on Broadway and her grandfather played C & W accordion. In her youth she listened to everything from Broadway Musicals, Country and Western and Classical to sixties rock and the pop of her generation. In her mid-teens she discovered Nina Simone, Sonny Rollins and Betty Carter and for a long time listened exclusively to jazz. “Jazz is a big influence on my sound but ultimately it’s a fusion of many styles”.