Drew & Ellie Holcomb (’03 & ’05, ’06)

Category: Alumni Promise | Awards

Love works in mysterious ways, and Drew and Ellie Holcomb are a living testament to that. The couple met when they were students at UT, but it wasn’t love at first sight. “He was my best guy friend that I swore I’d never date,” says Ellie. “I always tell people that it’s a great idea to marry your best friend.”

Drew graduated in 2003 with a BS from the College Scholars Program and took to the road as lead singer for the American rock band Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors. The band has released 12 albums and gained a loyal following after opening for national acts like Willie Nelson, Amos Lee, Don Henley, and others. Over the years, the group has headlined several major tours, performing at festivals including Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits, and California’s Stagecoach Festival.

The band’s songs have been featured on over 80 television shows including Criminal MindsHouse, and Parenthood. Later, Drew’s song, “American Beauty,” was featured prominently in 2014 on the Dick’s Sporting Goods holiday commercial, which USA Today named the top ad of 2014. (The ad was written by UT alumnus and 2014 Alumni Promise Award winner Johnny Dantonio.)

Ellie graduated in 2005 with a BS in English and in 2006 with a master’s in secondary education from the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences. Shortly after, she married Drew before teaching eighth-grade language arts at East Literature Magnet School in Nashville for a year.

Following her time teaching, she went full time as a singer–songwriter and collaborator with Drew and the Neighbors. “I sing. I write songs,” she says. “I travel the country in a van with my husband and our band. I love my job.”

Ellie and Drew toured together until they welcomed their first daughter, EmmyLou, to the world in 2012. In 2015, they had their son, Hampton “Huck” Holcomb. Their third child, Rivers, arrived in September 2018.

While taking on the role of mother, Ellie began her own musical career. Ellie recorded two EPs of songs based on the Psalms and scriptures, both of which hit No. 1 on the iTunes Christian/Gospel charts. After she released her debut album As Sure as the Sun in 2014, she was named the New Artist of the Year at the GMA Dove Awards.

Ellie released her second album, Red Sea Road, in 2017, with three songs charting in the Top Christian Singles. The album is deeply personal, inspired by Ellie’s personal struggles and her family’s journey during her father’s battle with cancer.

Since Red Sea Road, Ellie and Drew have returned to touring together and released a three-track EP, Electricity, that focuses on their partnership. In 2018, Ellie published her first book, a children’s songbook titled, Who Sang the First Song?, which features scripture-rooted illustrations and an accompanying album, Sing: Creation Songs.
Drew & Ellie Holcomb
2015 Alumni Promise Award Winners