Believer

Album: American Authors (2013)
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Songfacts®:

  • "Believer" is an optimistic track about keeping your chin up. The band gave this statement to Marley's Musicality on how the tune came about: "2012 was a very intense year for everyone. It was a very violent year. Sandy struck us really hard in our home of New York City. There was a lot to devastating things that happened. We decided to be optimistic about the new year. For 'Believer' there was really no formula in mind. We were all in the room where we write and we were playing around on a guitar, and then someone started to play a really happy fun riff. We added some banjo and then someone chimed in with a melody. The rest came very organically."
  • This is the song that earned the band a deal with Mercury Records. Formed at the Berklee College of Music in 2006, the band was known as The Blue Pages until 2012, when they went in a new, more upbeat musical direction and changed their name to American Authors. They recorded "Believer" with a new producer, Shep Goodman, who had some industry connections and was able to circulate the demo.

    "People were asking about it like crazy - 'Who's this band?'" American Authors bass player Dave Rublin said when he appeared on the Songfacts Podcast. "The demo wasn't even mixed or mastered and it was already getting a lot of love from people in radio because they wanted something positive for the moment."

    When Mercury signed the band, they pegged "Best Day of My Life" as the hit, and they were right. It was used in various commercials and rose to #11 in the US. "Believer" didn't do as well, stalling at #121, but it holds up as one of the group's most popular songs.
  • Lead vocalist Zac Barnett recalled to American Songwriter magazine: "When we wrote that, we wanted to do something completely fun and upbeat. James (Shelley, guitar) had just found a banjo under his girlfriend's bed like two days before that, so he actually learned banjo for that song."
  • The song urges listeners to look optimistically towards the future. "In the verses it's talking about all these flaws and insecurities that we have as people," Zac Barnett explained to Radio.com. "It's saying, 'I'm sheltered, I'm scared, I'm nervous that I'm not getting anywhere. I'm jealous and I'm slow. But at the end of the day, these are the things that make me who I am.'"

    "When the chorus hits," Barnett added, "it's 'I'm a believer that things are going to get better.' You can be who you are and stay true to yourself, but in the end things are always going to get better in life."

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