In those early weeks of the pandemic, singer-songwriter Hillary Reynolds proudly clung to the good news from her hometown of Appleton, Wisconsin. Instead of waiting for federal help during that perilous time, the citizens of Appleton came together to meet all community members’ needs. The good deeds of friends, neighbors, and frontline workers inspired Reynold’s first solo release since her debut EP in 2012.
When Reynold’s was ready to share the single, civil unrest swept the country as protest erupted in the face of heinous acts of racial injustice and police brutality. Shelving her new song, the artist waited and listened, educating herself on the struggles faced by fellow Americans.
On August 14, the singer-songwriter delivered “What Faith Is” with an accompanying video. Her care for timing and tone led her to select the Loveland Therapy Foundation as the benefactor for proceeds from the release. The Loveland Therapy Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing therapy support – primarily mental health therapy – to black women and girls. In her research, Reynolds found the organization provides critical resources to are a largely under-served community in the mental health care sphere.
“I wanted proceeds from this song to help those find space to process these things we’re experiencing. I was reading testimonies from the front line and started to think about how essential workers like grocery store clerks, that are not in the medical field, were coping with these experiences,” says Reynolds. “
As I was reckoning with all of that, racial injustice protests began in response to murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. It was no longer my time to share music. I used my solitude to learn and unlearn. That’s when I found the Loveland Foundation.”
The video captures the very soul of her single. Footage of mask makers, assisted living caregivers, frontline healthcare providers, and familiar faces of the community fulfill the lyrical messaging of hope. The emotive video breathes life into the ballad, celebrating unlikely heroes who stepped up to the plate to serve in the darkest, most critical hours.
“I’ve slowed way down,” she says. “I came out to Wisconsin for the summer, and am living in a cabin right now. I needed to clear my head, get back to my roots. All of these Zoom sessions are breaking my soul a little bit. Right now, it’s just not about music for me. It’s sad, but if I’m honest, there’s just so much to process. There’s not this same palette of colors to work with that I typically can, so it’s just my moment to focus on life.
She’s been learning to fly fish and watch caterpillars become a chrysalis, then butterflies. Reynolds finally started listening to music again, reacquainting with old favorites, including Fleetwood Mac, Ella Fitzgerald, The Beach Boys, and Keith Urban. While listening, she’s drawing inspiration from new artists like Pheobe Bridgers, Emily King, and Aurora.
Since her debut in 2012, she has spent her time in LA songwriting and collaborating with writers from Warner/Chappell Music and Sony/ATV and film composers such as Andy Forsberg for scores/songs in feature film projects for Lifetime and Netflix. Her Americana/Pop trio Peridot also signed a licensing agreement with Aperture Music with owner Jonathan Leahy (HBO Girls, New Girl), Reynolds now writes with Charlie Snyder (Machine Gun Kelly), Mike Jade (Backstreet Boys, Andy Grammar) and Dani Rose and Kalie Shorr (Honey County).
Reynolds is tapping in-and-out of making a new record, slowly taking steps towards this goal over the last year. She says, “I trust myself that I’ll know when it’s time to start again. I think there’s this collective depression of surrendering to the moment. I feel like I’m in this acceptance phase of things that have changed, and it’s going to be a slow rebuild. Burning myself out, make something happen, isn’t going to change anything right now.”
Reynold’s is thankful for the silver linings everywhere. As the song suggests, there is good news out there, and she’s looking out for signs of life to garner inspiration going forward.
Watch Hillary Reynold’s video for “What Faith Is” that she says is her “small contribution to add hope to the world.”