Amy Allen Debuts Divine Single “Heaven” to Raise Awareness for National Recovery Month
After years penning hits for the likes of Harry Styles, Halsey, and Selena Gomez, Amy Allen is taking the leap into the spotlight with her forthcoming solo debut, finally writing for nobody but herself. And today, she’s releasing “Heaven,” her most deeply personal single yet.
Based on a real-life experience, it’s a plea to a friend who’s struggling with addiction, “Heaven” is an ode to a lover who’s fallen victim to drug addiction. “You’ve never been to heaven but you got pretty close last night,” she sings to the friend, trying to wake them up to the fact that their luck of surviving is running out. Allen is putting the song out now, as September is National Recovery Month, and she’s using it to raise awareness for MusiCares’ resources for those in the industry who need help, and the non-profit To Write Love on Her Arms, which aids those struggling with addiction, suicidal thoughts, self-harm, depression, and more.
MusiCares caught up with Allen on the eve of the release of "Heaven" to discuss the song, her album, and her message for people who are having trouble with substance abuse.
You've said "Heaven" is a very personal song. What can you tell us about the real-life inspiration for it?
I think it’s a very human experience to grow up connecting the dots about substance abuse by watching someone you love struggle through it. I tried for so many years to avoid writing about it because I was afraid I would say the wrong thing, or it would be too dark and no one would want to listen. But about a year and a half ago, I reached a point in my life where I couldn’t think about anything else. Eventually, I just broke down and shared this one lyric I had, “You’ve never been to heaven but you got pretty close last night,” with my friend Jon Bellion and we wrote it.
What was the writing process of this song like? It must have felt like a big moment to decide to sing about something so personal.
The writing process was actually incredibly cathartic. At the time, I hadn’t talked much about this topic because I wasn’t the one struggling with the addiction, so it never really felt like my story to tell. But since writing it, I’ve realized most people I know have experienced that unbearably painful waiting game where are you watching someone you love walk such a fine line every day of their life and you would do anything to take their place but you can’t.
If someone is struggling right now, what message or messages do you have for them?
Lean on the people you love.
What do you think the music industry can do to be better, as a community, to take care of each other? Are there any changes you'd like to see?
I think the world should have more open conversations about it. Maybe if more people in the music industry used their platforms to speak more openly on addiction, it would lead to more families letting down those “everything’s okay, nothing’s wrong here” walls and more conversations could be had.
How did you get involved with MusiCares and To Write Love On Her Arms? What can you say about their resources in these areas that people should know about?
I went to the annual MusiCares event last year [Person of the Year] and was blown away with how emotional and beautiful the entire night was. Aerosmith was playing so that was a plus, but it was so heartwarming to see people coming together within the music industry to support. And a friend of mine told me about TWLOHA because since recovery she had been reading and loving the blog on the site. I fell in love with it too and have been a supporter ever since.
Personally, how do you take care of yourself to stay mindful and healthy, especially during a year as tough as this?
I try to talk to someone in my family every day. I live in L.A. and they’re all in Maine and Boston, so hearing their voices helps me stay centered and more mindful of myself and what matters the most to me at the end of the day.
Can you share any other details on your debut LP? What else can your fans look forward to this year and into 2021?
I’m just so psyched for the whole album to be out. It’s obviously exciting to put out singles, but I wrote the album with the intention of someone listening to it start to finish and walking through a story. It had meant a lot to me to make it and I hope it resonates with people not just in 2021 but for years and years to come.