Heather Youmans began her professional journey in theatre at only ten years old. She was discovered within the music industry at 13. In years to come, she was the opening soloist for an event headlining Sting and the late Natalie Cole, performed in professional theatrical productions across Southern California, and grew up in the studio alongside Grammy award-winning engineers/mixers and legendary, A-list session players.
Her debut single, “Girl To Change Your World,” was rated in the Top100 at Mediabase on the Top40 charts. The single went on to garner air time on Radio Disney and several other nationwide Top 40 radio stations. Through the years, she’s written and recorded original music for major motion pictures, including 20th Century Fox feature film Moondance Alexander starring Don Johnson, Kay Panabaker, and Sasha Cohen. Several of her songs are also featured in the movies Flicka 2 – alongside country music icon Clint Black – Marley and Me 2: The Puppy Years and High Strung, which premiered at Hollywood’s TCL Chinese Theatre and released in theaters nationwide.
Heather is a fantastic singer with such a vibrant voice. She performs at Southern California venues (Staples Center, W Hotel Hollywood, The Hotel Cafe, The Viper Room, Dolby Theatre) with her husband and guitar player Jon MacLennan. When she’s not performing live music or theatre in Los Angeles, she records as a session singer and continues to release new music. “I’m so lucky to have found an outlet for my music at such a young age, but this music will represent the woman and artist I have grown to become in the past decade – through love, loss, pain, triumph, and the beautiful moments’ life bring,” Heather said.
A LITTLE CLOSER TO HAPPY comes out today April 23rd! The music video bottles up good vibes, sunshine, and that “California Dreaming” lifestyle. Music fans may recognize Heather from Fox’s new singing show “I Can See Your Voice,” which was watched by 4 million viewers this Fall/Winter. Her latest artist project is a commentary on happiness — bringing together SoCal sunshine, good vibes, and an optimistic point of view with pop/indie rock tunes reminiscent of HAIM and Sheryl Crow.
Heather was born and raised in San Diego, just a 10-minute drive from the beach, so this song and video really sum up the California dream – from sunshine and contemplative beach sunsets to playing music around the campfire in flip-flops (with a White Claw).
Why did you choose “Youngblood” as a single to release? Does this song have special meaning to you?
Back in July 2020 I got the craziest phone call. It was a casting director from the now-hit TV show “I Can See Your Voice” on FOX, and they wanted to know if I was interested in singing on the show. It’s a mystery guessing game that challenges celebrity guests, a contestant, and fans at home to determine which “Secret Voices” are good singers or just posing as professional vocalists. These Secret Voices have pseudonyms (mine was the Tap Dancer) and throughout the episode, the contestant attempts to weed out potential bad singers, so they end up with a good one and a cash prize in the end.
On the show, my big reveal song was “Youngblood” by 5 Seconds of Summer, and naturally, I incorporated tap dance in my version. I’ll never forget the look of shock on the celebs’ faces after I tapped and opened my mouth to reveal my singing voice for the first time. It was a special moment in my career and one I got to share with Train’s Pat Monahan (a musical influence of mine) and an incredible group of fans. Ever since my appearance on the show, fans have asked me when I’d do a full version of “Youngblood.” It took me some time because I wanted to do it right, but it’s finally out into the world. I arranged and recorded all the vocals, tap tracks, and bass guitar from home and worked with producer Dan Sadin to pull it all together.
- Tell me a bit about “A Little Closer To Happy” and the creative process?
“A Little Closer To Happy” is a SoCal-inspired soundtrack to the pursuit of happiness. Ironically enough, I wrote this song pre-pandemic. I was home alone one evening, walked over the piano, played a few chords, and allowed myself to sing whatever melody or lyrics came out spontaneously at the moment. In early 2020, I took my demo to producer Dan Sadin (Frenship) and some incredible session musicians, like Sean Hurley (John Mayer) and Jake Reed (Seth MacFarlane), who brought it to life. I’m very collaborative in the studio, so doing virtual sessions amid the pandemic was a challenge at first, but we really defied digital boundaries to create something special and honest.
Throughout the creative process the song has taken on new meaning. It was originally written from the perspective of struggling with perfectionism and the impact that has on happiness. Now, I look at it like a realist’s commentary on happiness. People know me as an “eternal optimist,” someone who always seems to find something to smile about. But, happiness isn’t perfect, and feeling happy all the time is a myth. Truth is, we all get a little sad sometimes. “A Little Closer To Happy” centers on one truth: “Achieving true happiness is a journey. Once you find it – no matter how big or small – hold onto it.” In the music video, happiness is represented by a single yellow balloon. It’s fragile and can fly away at any moment. In the end, viewers are left with the question – is real happiness ever attainable or do we spend our whole lives chasing the concept of it? I was born and raised in San Diego, just a 10-minute drive from the beach, so this song and video really sum up the California dream – from sunshine and contemplative beach sunsets to playing music around the campfire in flip flops (with a White Claw).
Do you have your own personal view of happiness ?
Happiness is a journey. You can still be a happy person at your core, while struggling to find light in the dark. As long as I’m taking steps forward each day, I find solace in knowing I’m getting a little closer to happy. But do we every reach that pinnacle of true happiness? To be honest, I’m not sure. The power of focus is immense, and if you fixate on happiness long enough and make that a priority, it all keeps leveling up. There is no limit. It’s completely endless.
So many people base their happiness on expectations of how life ought to be. It’s been so freeing to release those expectations of society and others, so I can form my own vision for true happiness in my life. When I get sad, it’s when I expect something or someone will be a certain way, but then I get let down. Sometimes, I have this expectation in my mind of how life will play out, and when it doesn’t play out like the movie in my head, I get depressed and a little lost. So as you might imagine, getting rid of those expectations has made me so much happier these days.
What is your current rehearsal schedule like? I know you have such a strong work ethic.
Learning and practicing never stops for me. It’s integrated into my daily routine and more or less subconscious. At this point, it doesn’t even feel like practicing anymore. I’m always singing, listening, exploring my voice and the music around me. I have a lot of creative interests, so between singing, tap dancing, and bass playing, I’ve got my hands full.
My journey and progression as an artist are ongoing. The day I stop being curious, the day I stop learning and growing, will be the day I die. Music is a lifelong pursuit for me. I can’t help but create, because the music has always been in me and there’s a lot more in there to share with the world
You have accomplished so much but what is up next??
I’ve been doing some session singing work for major networks and continue to write and work on new songs. The next song – or chapter – in my commentary on happiness is all about holding on to that hopeful feeling in a relationship, even in the darkest of times. It’s easy to put artists up on a pedestal, but the best music is grounded in honesty and vulnerability. Frankly, I struggle with love and relationships just like everyone else, but this song takes all the mistakes, heartbreak, and struggles and turns them into a message of resilience. Great love is never easy, but worth it.
To keep up with Heather and all her projects