This folky ballad is about unrequited love. Conan Gray's crush doesn't reciprocate as they only have eyes for a girl named Heather.
Watch as she stands with her, holding your hand
Put your arm 'round her shoulder, now I'm getting colder
But how could I hate her? She's such an angel
But then again, kinda wish she were dead
The song explores Gray's feelings of frustration that his crush doesn't love him back and his love/hate relationship with the angelic Heather.
The song is based on an actual teenage experience of Gray's. When he was in high school, he spent four years in love with a person who didn't love him back as they were in a relationship with a girl named Heather. "Heather was gentle and beautiful, inside and out," he explained. "She was warm like a summer day, and had so many friends. She was soft and so easily lovable - everything I am not."
Gray wrote the song with his regular producer Dan Nigro (Sky Ferreria's "I Blame Myself
," Freya Ridings' "Castles
"). Nigro also played the piano, guitar and bass.
Jack Latham, aka Jam City (Kelela's "LMK
," Troye Sivan's "The Good Side
") supplied additional production.
When this song took off on TikTok, "Heather" became a term for a beautiful girl. Urban Dictionary
describes "Heather" as "when someone says that you're Heather, they mean that everybody can't help but like you."
Dillon Matthew and Conan Gray directed the intimate video, which shows the singer dressing himself and styling his hair in the same way the idolized Heather might.
Said Gray: "The 'Heather' video is my way of becoming all of the things that I envy about Heather. I would've done anything to be like her. Wear the right pretty clothes and act the right effortless way. Reject all the things that made me who I am. Anything to be loved back by the person I loved. Anything to be their first choice. The slow transformation throughout the video was made to represent the feminine and masculine traits I constantly switched between in order to become who I knew my crush would like. Somebody soft and sweet. Somebody like Heather."
Conan Gray told Apple Music that this gentle, heartbreaking ballad is the most honest account of his love life he's ever written. He said Heather is sweet and pure and "smells like daisies," but he hated her because the person he really liked was in love with her and not him. Gray confessed that it's a "humiliating thing to admit, but it's true."
Gray went on to say that though he shouldn't despise someone as wonderful as Heather, he's not the only one to have such feelings but has never heard anyone else admit to them.
Asked by Radio.com if the real-life Heather has heard the song, Gray said he's unsure as he's not in contact with her. "We don't have matching friendship bracelets or something," he said, adding that Heather may not even know who he is.
Conan Gray admitted to James Corden when he performed the song on The Late Late Show that it almost didn't make the cut for Kid Krow.
"I just thought that maybe nobody would relate to it, I thought that maybe I was insane for feeling the way I felt," he said. "It's not a very nice song; it's not nice to tell someone that you want them to disappear."
"So yeah, I almost didn't put it on the album," Gray continued. "I thought that I was crazy, and turns out that I'm not the only one that's felt that way about someone. I think everybody as a Heather in their life."
Producer Dan Nigro likes to make music that sounds personal to the listener and this song is a case in point. "The vision was to keep it as cinematic as possible and also to keep the vocal almost uncomfortably in your face," he told Billboard
. "I was like, 'I want it to feel like you're in the room and hearing this person talking to you,' in terms of the verse."