Fun facts: Conrad Sewell’s full name is Conrad Ignatius Mario Maximilian Sewell. He’s 28 and was born in Brisbane Australia. His music career began when at age 8 he began creating demo tapes. Though he failed to pass auditions for Australian Idol, he continued trying to break into the music business big-time which he did successfully in 2014 when he wrote and sang for Kygo’s “Firestone,” which was hugely successful around the world. “Hold Me Up” is his debut single that preceded announcements about traveling with both Ed Sheeran and Maroon 5.
“Hold Me Up” is pure pop. It’s fun and exciting, upbeat and adventurous. It pounds home a single idea: the idea that Sewell needs someone to hold him up and that someone has. According to Wikipedia, critics have said “Hold Me Up” is a “soulful, vaguely disco-tinged pop anthem,” “an upbeat, anthemic, just-about-impossible-to-not-get-swept-away-in pop track,” and “effortlessly cool, eternally optimistic, vocally impressive and filled with enough pop sunshine to brighten even the greyest of days.” With most listeners, the key best themes in Sewell’s song seem to be its party-like atmosphere and driving happiness.
[You may also enjoy this acoustic version of the song which better showcases Sewell’s voice.]
In the first verse of “Hold Me Up,” Conrad Sewell sings, “In a minute you can realize you lost it all.” Apparently, the song’s narrator went through a difficult time in which his life fell apart. But the person–the woman–he’s singing to was “always there to break my fall.”
Interestingly, the person isn’t positively identified as a female until the very end of the song when Sewell refers to her as “Baby.” Until that point, the song seems almost to be platonic and about non-romantic friendship.
The first verse continues with Sewell singing, “Till you came and saved my life / In the lonely hour / In the lonely hour / Oh I’m praying for some help.” He felt alone and abandoned, but even in that difficult time, this woman was there for him. She was the answer to his prayers.
In the pre-chorus, Sewell explains to her and to his listeners that without her help, he’s completely lost: “I can’t do it by myself, need you now / Need you right now.” He admits his own inadequacies to show how much he needs her: “You know there ain’t nobody else / Who can save me from this Hell / Need you now, I need you right now.” The experience he’s going through is difficult and more than he can handle alone.
So, in the chorus, he continues to laud his friend for how much she has helped him. He sings, “So hold me up, oh / I know you’ll never let me down.” He needs “someone like you around” because she helps him to stay strong and to keep going. The song centers on the idea that this person supports Sewell’s narrator, suggesting the image of a battle buddy helping an injured fellow soldier to escape harm or to continue a dangerous mission.
He finishes the chorus asking “Can you hold me up?” a question the woman’s actions suggest he already knows the answer to.
In verse 2, Sewell’s narrator explains for two lines how he plans to thank his girlfriend/wife. He wants to promote intimacy and closeness with her. He wants to give himself: “I wanna tell you secrets no ones ever heard before / I wanna give you everything, all of my heart and more.” He wants to be dedicated to her; to demonstrate that, he will tell things about himself that only he and she will know–all of this because she saved him from his loneliness and despair.