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.
Hold on Tight arrived in October 2008 under a joint partnership with Columbia and Pete Wentz's own label, Decaydance. The group spent the next year touring, supporting Fall Out Boy and All Time Low as well as spending some time as a headlining act. Near the end of 2009, drummer James left the band and was replaced by Patrick McKenzie. The band then spent the first half of 2010 recording new songs (with session drummer Stacy Jones behind the drum kit), and released the six-song EP Beneath It All in August. ~ Andrew Leahey, Rovi