by Daniel Warren Hill
Anna Hamilton can be seen on Season 2 of NBC’s Songland as a featured writer for Ben Platt, and you may have heard her acoustic cover of “Bad Liar” made famous by Imagine Dragons, garnering millions of fans. Her latest release “Self Help,” during this time is no coincidence as it speaks now to the feelings of millions of listeners who have had to readjust or re-imagine what their lives should look like while facing various stages of quarantine.
The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are affecting every household and every industry. Time and attention are being re-routed, diverted, and restructured to meet the unique demands of individuals and families. Corporations and governments are acknowledging and having conversations about the effects this unique circumstance is having in restructuring the priorities of the modern human experience. So what Anna says of “Self Help” feels entirely real and natural, “We can’t be there for our friends or for our work if we aren’t there for ourselves first. And if we really want to make a difference, we need to be the best versions of ourselves.”
Anna says that she finished recording the track back in February, and let it sit for a while. “I went back and forth on whether or not to release this song; wondering if it was going to be too [different] from the next few songs [I plan on releasing]. Then, I was listening to it in the middle of quarantine and I said, ‘Alright, this is definitely something I need to release now. I needed to hear this and I think other people will need to hear this.’”
People have been spending more time at home, either by themselves or with a more encapsulated group of people; spending an increasing number of time using technology and social media to engage with the outside world. There is a legitimate question as to whether we can become the best versions of ourselves during a time when many of us are unable to exist naturally as the social creatures we are. This dynamic restructuring of who we are and what contributions we can make while achieving our personal ideal sense of self within the world around us are also voiced by DMV musician Meghan Leigh in her 2020 release, “In This Space.”
The space in which “Self Help” was written was actually a remote one as well, before remote was even a requirement.
“I was on a writing retreat in the smoky mountains with some of my best friends and co-writers [Sara Davis, Kendall Brower, Joel Blackmon] when I wrote Self Help. We were all in the writing room talking about how nice it was to take a step back for once, when we had the idea for Self Help. The song just poured out of us in what seemed like 2 minutes, but in reality it was probably more like an hour or so. It felt more like therapy than writing a song. We finished
the track, and I recorded the demo vocals while laying on the floor of the cabin, and those are the vocals we used for the final version of this song. I thought I’d go in and change some parts later for the master, but we ended up just using the original vocals. This song has a lot of nostalgia tied to it, and that’s one of my favorite parts about it.”
Living in the word that currently presents itself, many listeners are understandably looking for an escape from the world around them, but some are looking for music to help them make sense of the rapid & continual changes happening around us on a daily basis and our need to adapt. The raw and honest emotional charge conveyed in Anna Hamilton’s “Self Help” does just that.
“I could write about love and heartbreak all day, and sometimes I do just that. I love love. But I think that there are so many other existential things to be writing about too, and I’d hate to just skate over the surface. When I write and perform my songs, I want people to feel known, and if I can pull that off, I’ve made it.”
So if you feel a connection with Anna Hamilton and her music, drop her a line and let her know via her website at annahamiltonofficial.com
Daniel Warren Hill is an American musician, writer, and motivational speaker. He is best known as the frontman for Washington DC area Alternative Rock band YellowTieGuy, as co-founder of Capitol Groove Collective, and increasing the exposure of artists on a global scale through his work with Alchemical Records.
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