Singer-songwriter Lisa Heller is inspiring us to “Light The Fire” with her brand new music video in partnership with #ICANHELP, exclusively premiering today on CelebMix.
Released just over a month ago, “Light The Fire” is a song about people joining together to stand up for what they believe in. Lisa told the website Songfacts: “The chorus of this song was inspired by the pain occurring in the world. I wanted people to have a positive outlook and hopefully join forces to peacefully stand up for what they believe in.” The lyrics use the metaphor of a fire to convey the sheer power that lies in the world coming together. “When I say ‘strike one match,’ I am referring to the fact that it starts with the individual to make an impact,” Lisa adds. “Then it will grow into a fire as more people join the cause.” It can be seen as a follow-up to Lisa’s most popular song, “Hope”, another inspirational ballad with a strong message about holding on when times get tough.
“Light The Fire”, both the single and video, are in collaboration with an organization and movement called #ICANHELP. The organization was founded by Matt Soeth and Kim Karr after a student created a hateful social media page about a teacher which initially attracted lots of attention among students before being taken down. #ICANHELP aims to teach teenagers about common sense when it comes to social media, and help them deal with harrassment, cyberbullying, and other negative online behaviours. They host interactive school assemblies and Digital Leadership Training workshops to get their message across to teens and parents alike.
Later, when another nasty social media page about the same teacher was created, the students were equipped to deal with the negativity. The page didn’t gain any followers, and the students and flooded the teacher with supportive comments.
The organization’s most recent campaign, #Digital4Good, connected Lisa Heller and several handpicked student leaders to not only shoot the “Light The Fire” music video, but to share stories of how they used social media in a positive way to make an impact. The music video was shot on the beautiful shoreline of San Francisco. And yes, it features an actual bonfire! It was also directed, filmed, and edited entirely by students.
Watch the official music video for “Light The Fire” below!
We got a chance to talk to Lisa before the release of the music video about #ICANHELP, her personal experience with cyberbullying, and much more! Read our full interview below:
You struggled with anxiety and low self-esteem as a teenager- how much does that influence your music today?
Experiencing such high levels of stress at the young age of 14 has shaped how I will live the rest of my life- in the music world and overall. Music was something that saved me from succumbing to the sadness and anxiety of feeling alone. I can easily tap into that deep emotion, but in the positive space of songwriting to this day, which is something I feel is rare and valuable. Many of my songs directly or indirectly mention the struggle I have experienced, in the hopes of paying it forward to fans and listeners of my music who might need some inspiration to get through their own challenges. I don’t think that deep level of emotion could ever leave my music as a songwriter.
How have you evolved as a singer and songwriter since you started at 14?
When I was 14, I never thought that I could share my music with the world. I just thought it was something for my living room to share with my close friends and family. When I was writing music at the beginning, it was so that I could have an outlet to get through the adversity I had faced. Now that I have grown up, and grown thicker skin, I have learned to write music to inspire other people and spread the love.
You’re an ambassador for the #ICANHELP campaign! Can you explain the message they’re trying to spread and your overall experience with the campaign?
Co-founder of #ICANHELP, Matt Soeth, and I started talking about how it would be cool if I had a song that would fit well with their next online campaign. #ICANHELP is a non-profit organization that educates and empowers students to use social media positively. I mentioned to Matt that I had this song “Light the Fire” that has a similar message to #ICANHELP. Once we decided this collaboration would work perfectly, he asked me to talk at the #Digital4Good event in San Francisco at Twitter’s headquarters, where I had such an amazing time. That same weekend we filmed the video on the San Francisco shoreline on beaches and cliffs with the Golden Gate bridge in the background, so even filming itself was an experience to remember. I am so excited to release this video to the world.
Did any personal experience with cyberbullying, or perhaps things you’ve witnessed, influence you to get involved in this campaign?
I felt a strong connection to the campaign right when I learned about it from Matt. The reason I started doing music in the first place was because I felt a sense of alienation growing up before I even posted anything online. I wanted my music to give me an outlet that could let me grow to be a strong person, who could handle criticism. When I released my first video, “Hope”, it received some criticism despite its positive message. Most songs on YouTube have some trolls. I have grown through these on- and off-line experiences and #ICANHELP is a perfect tie-in because I and the campaign are dedicated to making a positive space online, and being supportive to students facing adversity.
You spent some time with the winners of the Digital4Good campaign, who were also featured in the “Light The Fire” music video. What was that experience like?
At the event at Twitter HQ (even being in that building was so cool), the student winners who flew in from all over the world, talked about their experiences in having a positive impact on and offline, and shared their accomplishments in middle school and high school. I spoke about my “Hope” video and announced the collaboration between “Light the Fire” and the #ICANHELP campaign. The video features all of these student winners, who I was able to connect with further at the campfire for the video shoot.
What is the main piece of wisdom you’d give to targets of cyber-bullying, or those who bear witness to it?
Cyber-bullying is a painful experience. I’ve experienced it myself, and I know how much it can hurt. You just have to remember that what others think and say aren’t true reflections of you, the only thing that matters is what you think of yourself. And you should LOVE yourself!! If you are experiencing cyber-bullying or any form of bullying at all, it is SO important to find a friend, parent, guardian, or someone you can trust to talk about it. Having a solid support system is vital in staying confident in yourself while going through adversity like cyber-bullying. And remember that it WILL get better. Hard times always subside, so staying strong will help. We don’t have control over other people’s actions, but we have control over our RE-actions.
What direction do you hope to take your future music in?
I am excited to be working with producers that can really see my vision. My next unreleased songs have some really modern and original sounds to them that I feel are catchy while staying authentic to my original style.
What plans do you have for 2018?
I have a bunch of songs in production right now so I am excited to release them. I plan on releasing more singles, then ultimately an EP or album this year. I also plan on doing a bunch of shows, especially towards the middle and end of 2018.
Is there anything else you’d like to say about the “Light The Fire” music video, or to supporters of your music?
I just wanted to thank co-founders Matt Soeth and Kim Karr, and all members of the #ICANHELP campaign for bringing me on board and letting me share my perspective on social media and positive change. And Nick Garcia made this video come to life. I greatly appreciate the student winners of the campaign that are creating change at such a young age in their communities. Those students are the real stars.
We’d like to thank Lisa for taking the time to answer our questions! Both “Light The Fire” and the #ICANHELP movement are spreading valuable messages about the importance of coming together to spread positivity both online and offline. Everyone deserves to have safe spaces where they can be loved and accepted for who they are.
Be sure to keep up with Lisa by following her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and her official website. Learn more about the #ICANHELP campaign and how you can get involved by visiting their website here!
What are your thoughts on Lisa Heller’s campaign with #ICANHELP and her “Light The Fire” music video? Feel free to share with us on Twitter @CelebMix!