Will Smith and DJ Jazzy's first song together since 1998's "Lovely Daze," the pair debuted the song at Blackpool's Livewire Festival on August 27, 2017. Addressing the crowd at Blackpool's Tower Headland Arena, Will Smith explained the track was made in response to the recent "chaos and confusion" in the world.
He continued: "I wanted to make a song that allowed people to let their light shine. We all have an inner light and sometimes this world…people can say stuff to you and tell you you can't do and you know you can but when they tell you that it kinda knocks you down a bit right so I wanted to make a record that reminded each and every one of y'all to let your light shine."
The lyrics to "Heartbreak Hotel" were written by a steel guitar player who was once a dishwasher repairman. He was inspired by a newspaper story about a man who killed himself and left behind a note saying only, "I walk a lonely street."