Led by powerhouse vocalist Cassadee Pope, Hey Monday debuted their fizzy emo-pop sound with 2008's Hold on Tight. The band formed in West Palm Beach, FL, where Pope was first discovered at a regional music conference. Although still in high school, the singer drew attention from A&R execs with her voice, which recalled the radio-ready wail of Avril Lavigne and Paramore's Hayley Williams. She then formed a band with fellow teenagers Jersey Moriarty (bass), Elliot James (drums), and guitarists Mike Gentile and Alex Lipshaw. Shedding their original name (Blake) in favor of Hey Monday, the group eventually won over A&R exec Jay Harren, who signed the band to Columbia Records. Hey Monday then entered the recording studio with S*A*M & Sluggo, the production team behind albums by Metro Station and the Academy Is..., and readied the release of their debut record.