For singer/songwriter/producer Hope, her name pretty much says it all. She's a gifted performer with an angelic voice and a naturally sunny disposition. She's a lyricist for whom the word "love" comes easily. Armed with a message as she readies for her major label debut, the radio dial is about to be infused with Hope.
A native of New York, growing up not far from Woodstock, Hope sang from a very early age. Drawn to the piano and guitar, she taught herself to play and write songs. Born into a musical family, her mother frequented the Apollo Theater and her father was the Musical Director of the original 1970s production of Hair on Broadway.
Though her parents discouraged listening to popular radio, they encouraged Hope to sing and enrolled her in piano lessons. She found herself infatuated with the songs of Sade, Mariah Carey, Phil Collins and many others, who she'd listen to in secret. Hope studied their songs and developed a true love of pop music.
After graduating high school, Hope arrived in Los Angeles with one suitcase and forty dollars. "There was so much beauty in the landscape and diversity in the people, that I completely fell in love," remembers Hope with trademark positivity. She quickly developed a massive loyal following by singing and selling copies of her independent CD, produced by Hope and her brother Christian, titled "Rain=Flowers=Love=Poetry". Choosing the grassroots approach, Hope became a regular performer at Santa Monica's popular Third Street Promenade and the Venice Beach Boardwalk. "I remember cutting off the top of my green gloves to play my guitar in one winter. It was the best learning experience I've ever had."
Those fans have already responded overwhelmingly to her first single on Atlantic Records. "Love Love Love" is a buoyant, bubbly song that springs from Hope's acoustic roots. The island-inflected tune is an ode to the dizzying experience of a new infatuation, but it also describes Hope's outlook as she nears the release of her album. "It's about feeling so much excitement and anticipation that you don't know what to do with yourself," she smiles. "When I listen to my record, I'm so ecstatic to finally be able to share my songs with the world. I'm watching my dreams bloom right in front of me, it's beautiful, it's all I see."
Hope's self-titled debut is a revival of acoustic and soul. Hope also recorded some of the album at London's historic Abbey Road Studios. "There was a 65-piece orchestra playing my songs," says Hope, "It was surreal, and I was in tears."
Hope bravely explored emotional boundaries in bringing this album to life. Each song carries a different message of love and positivity while maintaining a strong sense of social awareness. The American Red Cross utilized "The Rain Don't Last" in their PSA for hurricane Katrina to help the victims during the aftermath. Her song "Drive" tackles the tribulations of a friend struggling through an unhealthy relationship, while "Mother Earth" serves as a "call" for our generation, urging us to take responsibility on behalf of our environment. Pair the messages in those songs with the sparkling "Love, Love, Love" and smoky ballads like "Who Am I To Say" and "Bring Me Flowers", and the result is an incredibly well-rounded and thoughtful body of work.
Hope has landed her songs in Tyler Perry's, "Why Did I Get Married", "P.S. I Love You", "Step Up 2", MTV's "The City" and many more. On popular social networks such as Youtube and MySpace, her songs have accumulated 50 million plus streams and hundreds of videos can be found of fans singing her songs.
Fans might be surprised to learn that Hope was actually born a twin. Her sister, Faith, passed away just days after their birth. "Sometimes I feel like half of me is not here. Music has become a huge part of that other half. I rely on the music to give me sanity and inspiration."
For now, though, Hope is poised and ready for the release of her much-anticipated debut. "I feel really grateful and emotional all at once. I'm just loving this time and not taking it for granted."
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