HOMETOWN: Woodstock, N.Y.
INFLUENCES: Mariah Carey, Sade, Sting
ALBUM: Hope, due out early 2011
WEBSITE: followhope.com

In a way, Hope’s destiny in music was preordained by the bittersweet circumstances of her birth: Her twin sister, Faith, died just days after both were born. “Sometimes I feel like half of me is not here,” she says. “Music has become a huge part of that other half. I rely on the music to give me sanity and inspiration.” As she grew up, her interest in music was encouraged by her parents—her father had served as musical director for the original Broadway production of Hair in the 1970s.

She learned piano and guitar, and by 13 was writing her own songs. After high school she headed to Los Angeles with $40 in her pocket. She got her start playing at Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade and on the Venice Beach Boardwalk, singing for passers-by and selling the independent CD she produced with her brother Christian. “I remember cutting off the top of my green gloves to play my guitar one winter,” she says. “It was the best learning experience I’ve ever had.” A copy of her album found its way to Atlantic Records—and within a few months the label had signed her.

Hope went to work on her major-label debut, including sessions at the historic Abbey Road studios in London. “There was a 65-piece orchestra playing my songs,” she says. “It was surreal, and I was in tears.” Her new single, the optimistic “Love, Love, Love,” reflects her frame of mind as she awaits 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 says. “When I listen to my record, I’m so ecstatic to finally be able to share my songs with the world.”

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