High Dive Heart is a Nashville and Los Angeles-based musical union of multi-platinum songwriter and solo artist Jason Reeves and singer-songwriter Nelly Joy. The duo caught my attention immediately with their new single, Misfit. And I couldn’t believe I hadn’t heard about them prior to its release because their sound is totally my cup of tea, and I’ve been listening to their debut EP Sonic Graffiti ever since. Their second EP, HDH VS MTR (Part One), will be released this summer so be on the look out for that. Please support these two whenever they pop up in a city near you because with awesome vocals and thought-provoking lyrics, you’ll never regret a moment of listening to High Dive Heart. They’ll become your next addiction once you do.
I’m thrilled to have gotten the chance to interview them for our site, so without further delay, check out the video for Misfit, which features teen transgender activist Corey Maison, and continue below for their awesome answers!
EY: How did you come up with the name High Dive Heart?
We wanted our name to represent what we believe in, which is diving fearlessly into love instead of running from it in fear. After writing down about 50 different ideas we showed our friend and she instantly chose High Dive Heart as her favorite. We took that as a sign and went with it. Luckily enough it was one of the rare names that wasn’t already taken on all the social media sites. Pretend you are a band, come up with a name, and see if it’s already taken. It’s fun and ridiculously difficult somehow!
EY: Who are some of your biggest influences, in music or otherwise?
We both have so many people who have inspired and influenced us throughout our lives. Musically, Nelly was raised on the Beatles and Jason (I’m typing at the moment, by the way, and feel super uncomfortable referring to myself in the third person) was inspired to make music by the musical jambalaya of Bob Dylan, James Taylor, Pink Floyd and Radiohead, among many others. The writers Jack Kerouac and Ray Bradbury were very influential for my writing. Also, we both grew up obsessed with Michael Jackson. The first album both of us ever bought was ‘Bad.’ Beyond that, we’re inspired by anyone who stands up for love in a world full of hate. There are so many people all over the world, now and throughout time, that have moved us and continue to move us. We are only trying to give back in thanks for all the inspiration and vision they’ve given us.
EY: Describe your musical style and what separates it from the rest?
We are an interesting combination because Nelly came from the country world and I came from the pop, singer/songwriter world. We try to blend both of our styles together to create an interesting mix between not only those genres, but everything that inspires us as well. We recorded our new EP with the amazing producer Morgan Taylor Reid, and he brings more of an edge and a bigger sound to our songs. Our goal as a duo is to always evolve and expand our sound to fit the emotional universe we’re in at the moment. We like keeping acoustic guitars a part of our sound because we write most of our songs on them. They’re like our sonic backbone.
EY: How is it recording as a husband and wife duo, as opposed to being solo artists?
Before we were married, we were friends for years and we would write and sing on each others’ albums.
It was so fun being able to work together we started to get lonely when we toured separately. I started bringing Nelly on the road with me eventually and that naturally turned into us just calling it a duo and giving it a name. There’s a certain creative comfort in not being alone and having a partner in the adventure. Being married makes it really easy to be on the same page, which is extremely important in collaborating. We are also always together, so whenever there’s inspiration we can capture it in the moment when it’s fresh. Also we can tour together now so we don’t have to leave each other all the time. That’s the best part.
EY: What inspired your debut single, Vintage?
We wrote and recorded our debut single “Vintage” with the incredible Grammy Award-winning producer Nathan Chapman. We all love vintage things and Nathan and I (Jason here still) are obsessed with photography and old cameras. We decided to create the beat for the song out of the sounds of some cameras Nathan had at his studio and from there we started recording strange items like a spray bottle, a dog bowls and some couch flops. We wanted to write a song about our love for old things and not wanting to let them disappear. Also, we want our love to be a ’Vintage’ love, one that lasts forever and never goes out of style.
EY: Did you ever anticipate the success of that song and video? How has the reception impacted you as musicians?
We had no idea anything would happen with the song! The response blew us away and opened so many doors for us as a new duo. We got our music out to so many new fans and got to tour with the incredible artists Colbie Caillat and Christina Perri. Also, pop radio stations started playing the song and that lead to us doing a national radio tour we’ve been on since last fall. The video, which was made by our visual member Patrick Tracy (http://bit.ly/1UbNEBf) has gotten such a wonderful reaction and has helped us be seen by people all over the world. It’s just incredible to know that you can put a song on the internet and if people like it, if they’re inspired or moved by it, there’s no limit to the places it can end up. We did this all without a label too, so it feels good to have success when you’re doing everything yourself. We’ve been able to build a dream team and can’t wait to do more with our new music!
EY: Death of Me is another favorite of mine on your debut EP. The lyrics are so full of meaning and that video is intense. You said you wrote that song fast, how come? What brought about such a beautiful ballad?
Thank you so much! We’re really proud of that song and the video is another PTracy work of art (http://bit.ly/1LMpyGf). He is brilliant and we put so much into shooting that one. As for writing it, we also wrote this song with Nathan Chapman. One night we were in his studio messing around on guitars and he sang the line “I wanna kiss you in a tidal wave.” That line was like a key that opened up the whole idea for the song and it came out very quickly, all three of us throwing out lyrics and melodies left and right. We wanted people to be able to feel the words and see them vividly at the same time. It was so fun coming up with abnormal concepts and word pairings that we finished the song before we even realized what was happening. We wanted to write about infinite love, and we wanted it to be real.
EY: Tell us about your new anti-bullying anthem “Misfit” and why you decided to work with teen transgender activist Corey Maison and The Bully Project.
We wrote our new single Misfit (http://bit.ly/1VxcRHT) because we saw our world being torn apart by hate and misunderstanding. We wanted to encourage anyone that feels like they don’t fit in that being different is beautiful and necessary. Bullying has become such a serious, widely spreading threat to our society. We saw Corey in a photo online and were so inspired by her story we got in contact with her and her parents. She decided to share her incredibly courageous story to our song using notecards and it was so beautifully powerful. Partnering with The Bully Project was perfect because of how much they do for the victims of bullying everywhere. We knew they could help us get Corey’s message to people all over the world and we have been blown away by the response. The video got over a million views in only TWO DAYS (SmartUrl.it/MisfitFB) and continues inspire people, especially us.
EY: How does HDH VS. MTR (Part One) differ from your 2015 debut, Sonic Grafitti? Can we expect more songs like Misfit on your upcoming EP?
We wrote and recorded this new album with Morgan Taylor Reid, who is the ‘MTR’ from the title, and the sonic landscapes of the songs have changed since Sonic Graffiti. Misfit is a good representation of the rest of the songs, but they each have their own atmosphere and vibe. We wanted to create a diverse group of songs sonically, that also fit together as a cohesive album. We tried to make each song sound like the lyrics and message and we wanted to push ourselves to go places we haven’t been before musically.
EY: What is the one thing you hope will stay with anyone who listens to your music?
We want to spread positivity and love through our songs. We want anybody that listens to us to feel what we’re feeling. We want them to know that they’re not alone, no matter how lonely they are. We want to celebrate being different and encourage others to do the same. There’s so much darkness in our world, our main mission is to keep the light alive.
EY: What’s next for you two? Any tours? Full length album?
We have a very exciting tour this fall that we can’t announce quite yet. And after HDH vs. MTR (Part 1) we will be releasing Part 2 to complete the album. We’re about halfway done writing and recording Part 2 and plan on spending the rest of the summer finishing it up!
EY: Thanks for taking the time. Please leave a message to your supporters and any tips for aspiring musicians.
Thank YOU for these amazing questions and for wanting to ask them!
All we can do is love each other. Hate is a distraction, a disease, and it will only leave us in the dark. We want to share the love we have found in each other with anybody who will listen. That’s where our songs come from. We’re grateful for anyone that will give them a moment of their life. And to aspiring musicians everywhere: Find your vision, work hard, word harder, be infinitely patient, be grateful for your path, and never give up. Believe in yourself and surround yourself with the best people you can. Ones that make you better, not worse.
Find out more by visiting the following links:
Credits: Patrick Tracy & Renee Harrison PR