Holden was born in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1983, and lived in Methlick in Aberdeenshire until he was three. The family then moved to Lancashire in England, and he was raised in Morecambe and then Leyland. He went to St Patrick's Primary School, Heysham near Morecambe, then attended Leyland St. Mary's Catholic Technology College and the University of Central Lancashire. Holden started learning to play the guitar when he was 18.
After graduating in 2005, he went to Brighton with his band. He then moved to London in 2007 to attempt a career, before moving to New York City in 2009. He relocated to Los Angeles in July 2016.
Holden wrote his first song called "You Go Left, I'll Go Right" when he was 18. He won the Lancashire Evening Post Battle of the Bands in 2005.
Greg first gained a large following by posting live videos of himself performing his songs on YouTube. One series of videos was called the "Not My Living Room Tour" where he performed for his fans in their living rooms. Greg Holden's debut album, A Word in Edgeways (2009, 9 tracks) was followed by the EP Sing for the City. All of Holden's albums were initially either self-released or released on his own label, Falling Art Recordings.
In 2009, Holden moved to New York soon after the release of his first album. A few months later, he toured as a support act for Ingrid Michaelson in the US after she heard him live in his previous visit to New York.
His songs have been featured on several TV shows, for example a track from A Word in Edgeways, "Choking on the Concrete", was featured on an episode of the TV show Private Practice. Other shows include ABC's Make It Or Break It, One Tree Hill and the CW's Life Unexpected.
Greg Holden's second album, I Don't Believe You, was funded by fan donations using Kickstarter in 2010 which raised $30,000. In late 2010 Holden started recording his second studio album with producer Tony Berg in Los Angeles. The album was released in May 2011, and an acoustic version of I Don't Believe You was also released in March 2012, including 2 bonus tracks, one of which is "The Lost Boy".
"The Lost Boy" was written by Holden in 2011 but was not included in the original release of the album, but added in its subsequent releases. It was inspired by the book What is the What by American writer Dave Eggers about Sudanese refugees. Holden recorded it and released as a charity single on 20 December 2011, and it became a hit for him in the Netherlands, topping the Dutch iTunes singles chart on Christmas Day and reaching No. 2 on the Dutch Top 40. In December 2013, he released an official video for "The Lost Boy" after his album I Don't Believe You was re-released in the US when he became signed by Collective Sounds.
The song "The Lost Boy" was featured in an episode of the TV show Sons of Anarchy in 2012, where it was used as the musical backdrop to the funeral procession of Opie Winston. In the following week debuted at No. 36 on the Billboard Rock Charts, selling over 20,000 copies. Holden's single "I Need An Energy", which was released on 26 October 2012, is used on the soundtrack of the film, Chasing Mavericks.
Holden has toured throughout Europe and the United States as a headliner. The Dutch leg of his 2012 European tour sold out months in advance. He has also toured with A Great Big World, BOY, The Lone Bellow, and Jukebox the Ghost.
In 2012, Holden became known in the United States for "Home", a song he co-wrote with Drew Pearson. The song was picked by American Idol mentor Jimmy Iovine for Phillip Phillips as his coronation song for the final of the show's season 11. The song quickly topped the US iTunes singles chart and became the best-selling song by an American Idol alum with over 5 million copies sold. In 2014, "Home" was named one of the most performed pop songs of 2013 by ASCAP, and Holden also performed "Home" at the 2014 ASCAP Award Ceremony.
In 2014, Holden worked with Greg Wells to record a new album. He signed a record deal with Warner Brothers, and the new album, Chase the Sun, was released on 14 April 2015. It was preceded by the single "Hold On Tight", which debuted in the Triple A chart April 2015. The single was released on 27 January 2015, and its video on 18 February 2015. The album also includes "Boys in the Street", which was written after he was asked by Everyone Is Gay, an organization that supports LGBTQ youth, to contribute to their 2014 fundraiser compilation, The Gayest Compilation Ever Made II.
Holden co-wrote three songs on A Great Big World's sophomore album When The Morning Comes (which was released on 13 November 2015): All I Want Is Love, The Future's Right In Front Of Me and When The Morning Comes.????: Greg Holden
2009: Sing for the City
2012: "I Need an Energy" (on soundtrack of film Chasing Mavericks)
2015: "Boys in the Street" (in collective album The Gayest Compilation Ever Made II. Also included in Holden album Chase the Sun)
2011: "Home" (Phillip Phillips song, appearing in Phillips' album The World from the Side of the Moon)
2015: "When the Morning Comes" (title track) / "All I Want Is Love" / "The Future's Right in Front of Me" (3 tracks on A Great Big World's second album When the Morning Comes released 13 November 2015)