Hooked Like Helen

Biography 2020

In a house in the woods about 40 miles west of Cleveland, Hooked Like Helen began as the musical brainstorms of husband-and-wife, Jon and Nikki Stipp. Experimental home recordings quickly developed into an alt-pop vision; within a year of the project's inception, Nikki and Jon had shaped a new sound that reflected their truth and their influences in a seamless blend of organic and electronic production. The band’s 2019 five song EP, Tragedy Of Physics, co-produced by Nikki and long-time friend and collaborator, Grammy-winning Isha Erskine, garnered international attention: The music video for the angsty-beautiful piano ballad "Liar" premiered on Radio Disney platforms and the song was included on the Motion Picture Soundtrack for High Strung: Free Dance. The film - starring Thomas Doherty (Disney’s Descendants 2 and 3), Jane Seymour and Juliet Doherty - was released on Netflix on May 31st, 2020 and prominently features "Liar" in an emotional, groundbreaking dance sequence choreographed by Tyce Diorio (So You Think You Can Dance, Taylor Swift’s ‘ME!’).


Popularity of “Liar” spread like wildfire in the dance community; talented influencers began to perform their own choreographed dances to the song, inspiring a viral effect among aspiring dancers across the globe. Notably, the world-class dancer Autumn Miller shared an emotional performance to “Liar” on Instagram, the acrobatic Tik Tok queens, The Rybka Twins, posted their lyrical interpretation of the song on social media, and renowned choreographer Mark Meismer created a lyrical piece to "Liar" for the dance tutorial platform, The Space TV.

Hooked Like Helen is the recent recipient of several prestigious accolades in the independent music scene: the band was honored with the Duo Of The Year award at the 6th annual Josie Music Awards held in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee this September. "Liar" received an Honorable Mention in this year’s prestigious International Songwriting Competition, and was most recently named a winner in two categories in the 2020 Unsigned Only Music Competition, whose panel of judges include Charli XCX, Robert Smith and Grouplove among other well-respected industry legends.


Hooked Like Helen's Tragedy Of Physics EP has been decorated with acclaim by several leading music publications. The first single, "No Turning Back”, was premiered by CLASH Magazine who praised it as “a soaring, vastly uplifting piece of bouncy, addictive alt-pop”. The song was then used in the official movie trailer for High Strung: Free Dance, making it the 5th musical composition in total that Nikki and Jon contributed to the film. The EP’s 2nd single, "Tear This Place Apart”, premiered via the highly influential UK-based The Line Of Best Fit and received rave reviews from the magazine.


Nikki and Jon have managed to flourish musically in 2020 - against the odds in the current state of instability in the world - and the band is very humbled and grateful to be thriving. The year began with a set of custom musical placements in the wildly popular, 3 time Emmy winning Netflix docu-series, CHEER. Nikki composed tracks for 9 pivotal scenes across the 6 episode series, including the final credits for episodes 2 and 3. Upon its debut on the streaming platform in January, CHEER garnered viral status with tweets of approval from Reese Witherspoon, Chrissy Teigen, Amy Schumer, Gabrielle Union, and many more. Hooked Like Helen is no stranger to scoring music for docu-series’; previously, the band’s tracks "Get Well", "Surface Break", and "Concrete Tub" were placed on MTV’s Unlocking The Truth and were included on the show’s official Spotify playlist. “Surface Break” was also featured in the emotional final segment of Davis Guggenheim’s poignant documentary, The Dream Is Now which chronicles the struggles of the children of undocumented immigrants in the U.S.

The band enjoyed a very successful live residency at world-renowned Cedar Point this past August, performing for a diverse and international audience who immediately adored Hooked Like Helen’s universal musical appeal and dynamic, energetic stage show. The duo had the privilege of playing a livestream from the historic 1500 seat Sandusky State Theatre on May 20th which was broadcast to local fans via the Sandusky Register. This Hooked Like Helen show would be the last live performance on that stage before the beautifully painted theatre was severely damaged in a storm on June 10th. Fox 8 News Cleveland aired clips from the Hooked Like Helen livestream on June 12th, 2020.

Hooked Like Helen is currently working in their home studio, preparing a new EP for release in early 2021. The duo’s sound embodies a unique vein of pop music; Nikki’s haunting, layered harmonies and lush vocal arrangements create a surreal atmosphere of simultaneous melancholy and hope, dissonance and resolve. Dark lyrical themes of existential pondering provide an eerie contrast to HLH’s sonic sensibilities in a timeless, ageless context in which melody reigns supreme. Piano hooks, intricate, rhythmic bass lines, and epic, driving drums carry the songs of Hooked Like Helen through a slightly sad world view, always with a groove and a constant sense of Pop.

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© 2020 Hooked Like Helen