Hope

Album: single release only (2016)

Songfacts®:

  • The first single by the 20-year-old singer-songwriter Lisa Heller, "Hope" was released on June 24, 2016 and racked up over a million YouTube views in just a few weeks.

    Heller has an altruistic personality that impels her to help others. She started writing this song for a child in her Simsbury, Connecticut neighborhood with Down syndrome named Nicholas Higham. Seeing that he was delighted with the song, she set out to reach others and started an online "Hope Wall" where people could post their hopes and dreams - Nicholas's story was the first entry. The wall ties in with the key line in the song: "Hope for the best."
  • Heller wrote this song with Jim McGorman, whose clients include Avril Lavigne and Cassadee Pope. She spent much of her senior year of high school working with a less experienced producer in a local studio, which forced her to learn more about how to create a song. By the time she hooked up with McGorman, she had more confidence and was happy to share her ideas.

    In her Songfacts interview, Heller talked about writing the song. "I had grown a lot as a singer-songwriter so when we sat down to write my new EP of songs we started writing 'Hope.' We came up with some chords on the piano. This is how I write most of my songs. Some have a little variation, but once we find a chord progression we really like I usually hum along to find a melody and then we put words to it.

    So, when we got that hook, the main line was:

    Hope, hope for the best
    Hope for the rest of our life
    Till the day that we die


    We got that surprisingly super quickly. Most songs take us up to an hour to just find one good line which might just be in a verse, but we got the main line of the song in like five minutes. And after that, it was just amazing. We were building on each other's ideas. We built the whole chorus in less than half an hour, and then the verses were just super easy. We just went through different experiences of my life and what I wanted to say with this song."
  • The video was directed by Kurt Zendzian at the Lot 1901 studios in Tampa, Florida. Zendzian and Heller wanted to use the concept of the Hope Wall in the clip, where people hold up signs explaining their hopes and dreams, but getting the folks who shared their stories to Florida was impractical. Instead, they recruited locals to write their own hopes on placards, which were used throughout the video.
  • The song got some local attention when Heller performed it at a showcase staged by the Hartford radio station WTIC-FM, where she opened for another Connecticut resident, Rachel Platten. The song found its biggest audience in Europe - the video did very well in Canada, Finland, Denmark and Ireland.

    The song also took off in Australia just as Heller began studying at the University of Sydney as part of her semester abroad at Colgate.

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