Voice of Reason
How did you start singing?
Every summer my parents and I go to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. There is a local theater called the Jackson Hole Playhouse. I was 6 years old. I couldnâ€™t even read yet. [My mom] would read the lines to me and I would repeat them back to her. I loved being in front of people. Thereâ€™s something so special about sharing that human experience. I started playing piano at 6. When I was 9, I sang my very first professional national anthem for The Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.
Youâ€™ve promoted your anti-bullying message in more than 300 schools nationwide. What was your experience with bullying?
I was teased and bullied when I was younger. That was hard for me. I didnâ€™t understand why I was being treated that way. It just happened. As Iâ€™m going to these schools, and as Iâ€™m being exposed to more classes and grades, I realize that I just happened to be the kid who was picked on.
Tell us about the school tour.
The theme of the tour is that â€śnobody has the power to ruin your day.â€ť My dad told me this on my way to school. When I did [learn to brush it off], the kids that were being mean to me, they stopped. I talk about encouragement and loving your dreams. Thatâ€™s so closely tied to the message of anti-bullying.
How does it connect to your music?
The theme song is â€śButterfly.â€ť It has a message of spreading your wings and flying. We follow the life cycle of a butterfly. You start out as a cocoon and shy, and then you eventually blossom and spread your wings.
The message carries a lot of responsibility. How do you handle it?
If you want to go into this field, you have a responsibility to be someone that is looked up to â€“ someone who really assumes that role. I want to spread my goodness around and [share] my vulnerability in my songs. Thatâ€™s whatâ€™s so special to me about music. As an artist, we have a message that we want to convey. Whether itâ€™s a message about the world, or about liking a guy. Thatâ€™s what I love about music.
When youâ€™re back in South Florida, what do you enjoy doing?
One of my favorite places is Lauderdale-by-the-Sea. [My friends and I] just like doing Florida-y things. If you live by the beach, you donâ€™t take advantage of it as often. We go mini golfing and bowling. Weâ€™ve always wanted to go paintballing.
I donâ€™tâ€™ think I would be a happy person if I was not able to perform. Itâ€™s such a passion of mine â€“ a love of mine. Iâ€™m in it for all the right reasons. There is no plan B. My goal is to impact the world â€“ to be a name and to be somebody who is remembered.