Often, you come across entertainers who sing about heartache or some other deep issue, but you think to yourself, “Do they really have the experience behind what they are singing about?”
Well, in the case of 21-year old Hope Vista from New Jersey, the struggle has been real. First, she experienced the trauma of nearly losing her mother, who was on the 48th floor of the second tower of the World Trade Center on 9/11 when a plane crashed into it. Then, she was tormented every day as a teen in high school by bullies. As if these experiences weren’t enough, she tragically lost her beloved father earlier this year to lung cancer.
But, despite all the turmoil, Hope lives up to her name with a positive outlook on the future and a perseverance which will serve her well in the music industry. Scroll down to find out more about this remarkable singer/songwriter.
Hi Hope, nice to e-meet you. Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi! E-meet is an awesome word, I’ve never heard anyone use that before. Nice to e-meet you, too! My name is Hope, Vista is my middle name so that’s where I got my stage name Hope Vista. My last name is ridiculously long & Polish, so Vista is much, much easier. It’s like the computer program, Windows Vista. I’m 21, I currently live in North Jersey across the Hudson from Manhattan and I’m a musician! My little catchphrase I came up with is “a splash of sass and a Fender Strat” because I play electric guitar, too.
Describe your sound and your influences for people who haven’t heard your music yet.
It’s definitely rock influenced. I never really had the resources to record the style of music that defines me as an artist until now, so the music I put out this summer is finally going to reflect that. Heavy guitars, strong (I hope) lyrics. I grew up listening to classic rock, so that’s kind of where my roots are. The Rolling Stones, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, The Eagles, Aerosmith. Those were my earliest influences and Joan was a massive reason why I originally picked up an electric guitar in 5th grade.
I’m also strongly influenced by another era though, the 90’s pop era. Everyone who knows me knows that the Backstreet Boys are basically the loves of my life, but also NSYNC, Britney, the Spice Girls, even the New Kids On The Block. Those artists knew exactly how to captivate an audience and essentially the world. So I draw a lot of influence from their performances and longevity. Especially because I’m a 90’s kid.
You’ve written a single that benefits the American Cancer Society called “To: Daddy” Can you tell us the story behind the track?
“To: Daddy” was a tough one. That whole month-long time frame is kind of a blur because it was pretty traumatizing, to be honest.
My dad was my biggest influence. He shaped me as both a person and a musician, and it’s difficult to explain what our relationship was because he was just my absolute #1 person in this world. Almost a year ago, in June 2014, he was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer that had already spread to his brain. He deteriorated very, very quickly and passed away 7 months later, in January of this year. January 8, 2015. It had only been 7 months. To lose that kind of a person, it just really isn’t something I can describe. This was my biggest fear in life, to lose my dad.
I had been working on “To: Daddy” before he had passed. It’s not my typical style of music but what’s important is the story behind it, so that’s why I kept it unplugged & raw. Two days after he did pass away, I decided to record it and release it as a charity single with all the proceeds from the sales going directly to the American Cancer Society.
All I want to do in life is live up to the legacy he left behind.
What has helped you most through the difficult moments with your dad’s illness?
Distraction. That was a big one. I had to find things to do in order to keep myself level-headed throughout his illness because at the time I was still maintaining my music career, while also being a full-time college senior, working, and going home on the weekends to take care of him. I have some pretty phenomenal friends who helped me out quite a bit. Some new, some old. But my friends really, really helped.
I can never thank them enough for sticking with me through all of that.
Photo credit: Elena Ansman for E.Schulte Photography.
What would you say is your biggest accomplishment professionally so far?
This is going to sound lame, but just getting through this past year alone has been my biggest musical accomplishment. Doing shows, writing “To: Daddy,” seeing the fanbase grow so much, recording, selling new merch, continuing work with my manager.
The whole past year alone, the fact that I’ve gotten through it and am still standing on two feet a huge accomplishment to me. I’m honestly not really sure how I’m still standing. My dad instilled a lot of his strength in me.
Looking back on your high school years, where many of our readers are right now, what would you give as the best advice for making it out of those years with your sanity intact? : )
Ah. High school was a rough one for me.
I’ll be totally honest, I was bullied every single day up until I graduated. I kept to myself and had about 3 friends, because I was picked on for pursuing a music career. There was always a name being called, there were horrible YouTube videos and Facebook pages made about me, I got shoved into lockers. Nobody really understood why I was never at the Friday night football games, or why I chose to stay home and write music instead.
So my advice to anyone who is currently in high school would be to stand your ground. Don’t let a single person diminish your worth or tell you what you should be doing. High school can be a shark tank, but if you keep sight of yourself, that’s how you stay sane 🙂
Photo credit: Elena Ansman for E.Schulte Photography.
Why are your fans called “Hurricanes?”
Hurricanes! I love them. Growing up I was given the nickname “Hurricane Hope” because I am the clumsiest person alive. I break everything, I bump into things. So the name was given to me because someone said when I walked by it was like a hurricane passing through, but wrecking everything. I’ve had that nickname for at least 10 years now. I think it’s hysterical, and it’s completely accurate.
So a few months ago, someone DM’ed me on Twitter asking what my ‘fandom’ was called. I NEVER even thought about that. I don’t really like using the word ‘fan,’ I like using ‘family’ much more. That’s what the people who support me are. I jokingly said “Hurricanes” to that person, and under a minute later, they put that they were a Hurricane in their Twitter bio. It just kind of caught on from there! It still blows my mind.
Tell me something people might be surprised to know about you.
What’s coming next?
Can you please send us a quick selfie of whatever you are doing right now (chillaxing, kissing your pet, eating, throwing up a peace sign, whatever). We like to keep it real!