TI Exclusive: Interview With Meredith O’Connor — Read Here!

meredithEighteen-year-old Meredith O’Connor is an upcoming singing sensation that debuted her first hit single “Celebrity” just a couple years ago in 2013. She has come a long way since then creating hit singles such as “The Game” and “Just The Thing”, the inspiration coming from her own experiences as a bullied teen. Currently, she’s finished her first part of a UK tour!

TeenInfoNet was lucky to get a chance to speak to Meredith about her music, anti-bullying, what we can see from her and more! Check out what she had to say below!

TI:  Everybody gets to a point in their life when they realize there is one thing they want to do. How did you realize that music would become a part of yours?
Meredith: I discovered that I loved performing, in general, at a very young age, maybe 7 or 8. I initially loved to dance, but the only problem is I was not very good at it. My first time singing in public was in a local community production of Little Shop Of Horrors, I played the dynamic role of Plant number one. However, I enjoyed it so much that I literally begged my parents to let me audition for a theatre company in New York City. I was then cast in the company of “Turtle Shell Productions” and one show led to another. It became my life. I loved to sing and wanted to get really good at it, in the hopes of landing lead roles within the company’s productions.
TI: How did you feel when your debut single “Celebrity” became a great hit?
Meredith: Since “Celebrity” was the first song I have ever written, it was intended as just a fun experiment. After being scouted to model (by an agent during one of the matinees) I met Rick Galvin, the owner of CG talent management while I was modeling at a benefit fashion show for Bright Pink and the foundation he ran (The Carol Galvin Foundation). I told him I had one song written about my first breakup (I was fourteen at the time) and he introduced me to my first recording contract. It was experimental, so when it reached over two million views and was on rotation for radio stations all around New York, I had this incredible boost of confidence. I was overwhelmed at first, because I really didn’t expect the attention I got from it, but now I see it as something that led to so much more!
TI: Being a songwriter, as well as a singer, do you write all your own music? How about writing  for other artists? 
Meredith: My first EP (including “Celebrity”) was written by me entirely. After that they paired me up with Heather Holley and we wrote “Just The Thing”. She is the co-writer of many of Christina Aguilera’s songs and her music also has an empowering message behind it that can be found in “Just The Thing” and the rest of my songs on my upcoming album.
TI: We understand that most of your music is in dedication to the cause of anti-bullying. When did you first come to the conclusion that music would be your platform to help spread awareness? 
Meredith: I wrote “The Game” right after “Celebrity” found its viral success. Growing up as a victim of bullying, I often wished there were a teen out there that I could look up to.  I spoke about bullying because I knew that there were people listening to the song “Celebrity” that were the same age I was when I was bullied.  I felt that I owed it to myself, to them, and to my own conscience to put out a song that I wished I heard when I was bullied. So that is really what the message behind “The Game” is.
TI: You have an anti-bullying anthem known as “The Game” that came out in 2013. How do you feel this song differs from any other that may have been written on, or hinting, at the subject?
Meredith: The song “The Game” was written to my younger self. I was bullied maliciously for reasons that are so silly, and thought I did something to deserve it. The Game basically says everything I needed to hear to not feel the pain I did. Hearing about bullying from someone who hasn’t gone through it themselves will never carry the same amount of weight. Because it is easy to feel alone when you are being picked on. But, hearing that someone they look up to was also bullied is sometimes all they need to feel like they aren’t the only one who has fought the battle.
TI: With your dedication to anti-bullying, you not only perform your music but take the time to speak out to your fans about the issue. How does it make you feel knowing that you are helping to make a difference in their lives?
Meredith: Before I released “The Game” I was terrified honestly. I hadn’t told or talked about being bullied to anyone. Not even my parents, because of how ashamed I felt of myself. I knew that millions were listening, and to say it to that big of an audience was a huge leap of faith, being that I still wasn’t convinced that the terrible things they called me weren’t true. Once it came out, and after seeing thousands of messages to my email, my managers’ email, Facebook, etc- hearing stories of how the listeners related, are going through bullying, have confidence issues and what have you, I was amazed. I genuinely thought I was the only one who could be such an outcast- but my fans taught ME something. And they still do, at every concert, and through each message. I feel and felt so much more confidence in myself once I learned that it wasn’t my fault for the harassment I faced, and honestly I just want to give that feeling to everyone who hears my music, and everyone who’s suffering.
TI: Another hit single of yours called “Just The Thing” has an absolutely fantastic music video to bring it to life. 
a. How long did it take to make the video?
Meredith: The filming of “Just The Thing actually only took 12 hours! My manager was the producer for it and he made sure all the actors, MUA’s camera crew and the staff stayed on schedule. It was hectic, but fun filming with my backup singers, my band (they played some of the characters in the video) the students and fans (who won a contest to be in it) and Luke Bilyk from Teen Nick’s Degrassi, who played the boyfriend in it.
b. Where did the idea come from to create these different student “characters”? 
Meredith: In the preproduction phase, my manager thought of this idea and worked with the video team to make it come to life, demonstrating that there really is no distinction between what’s weird and what’s normal.
c. What was your favorite part of filming the video?
Meredith: Seeing the ideas come to life, and the makeup! Tawni Mitchell (owner of Dramatization makeup) came on board and handled the makeup of over 30 kids.
TI: Currently, you finished the first part of your world tour in the UK. What was it like performing your music overseas and knowing you have so many fans around the globe?
Meredith: It’s really amazing to see that even in different countries and cultures, the same issues of excluding and bullying still happen. The fans were an amazing audience out there, and I am so excited for the next stop, Australia!
TI: Is there anything new you are currently working on that you can give us a hint about?
Meredith: The people who made the anti bullying hit film and novel “The Fat Boy Chronicles” are in the process of making a sequel. What I can say about it, besides being super excited to play one of my favorite characters in literature, is that there will be a song I’m writing too for the film, and it will have a lot to do with mental health. Something that I have personal experience with, and learned a lot about from overcoming my problems with OCD and anxiety. A lot of my fans write me about depression, anxiety and eating disorders. These are all things the film will cover, and just like the first movie, kids will love and relate to it.
TI: Where can fans find you on Social Media? Any specific sites to keep up on all things Meredith?
Meredith: The only handle I run entirely on my own is Instagram and that’s @meredithoconnor and my Youtube is @meredithter, Facebook is @meredithoconnor and Twitter is @meredithter
We’re extremely thrilled we got a chance to get the inside scoop with Meredith and we’re looking forward to more in the future!
Make sure you tell us what you think of the interview with Meredith!

Popular Anti-Bullying ‘Teen Nation Tour’ Set To Hit Road Again In 2015!

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In 2009, a man named Lee Wilson came face-to-face with the harshness of bullying when his own son faced a situation with a bully that turned physical. With this happening, Mr. Wilson stepped up, this experience pulling him to create a community program that needed to make kids and teens aware of the bullying within their own communities, including ways to help prevent it. Thus, the Teen Nation Tour was born!

The Teen Nation Tour is a peer-to-peer community service program that prides itself on educating and entertaining youth about bullying in a way students can relate and that is through the power of music.

Aiming toward schools, this tour features young music artists from across the country who are known for their top music hits appearing on radio shows, YouTube, television and more. Not only do these amazing young people take the time to share their experiences and knowledge of bullying, they also perform concerts at different venues.

They recently ended their 2014 Tour in December. Now, the Teen Nation Tour will be ready to hit the pavement starting this January 2015 coming to a city near you with their 2015 Teen Nation “”Timeout” To End Bullying” Campaign. Their plans are all set to visit over 20,000 kids in schools, Boys & Girls Clubs, children’s hospital and other youth organizations. An amazing part of this tour is where Teen Nation will choose a nominated student in each city they visit to award the Teen Excellence award.

The tour plans begin on January 12th making stops in Dallas, Texas; San Antonio, Texas and Austin, Texas then picking back up in the fall heading up the west coast to Boise, Idaho; Salt Lake City, Utah; Las Vegas, Nevada; Phoenix, Arizona and so many more wonderful places!

Many performers will be joining the Tour this year, including the face of the Teen Nation Tour and headliner, JRyan. Others joining in on this fantastic campaign are Dylan Rey, Simply Rayne, Aingea Venuto, Celeste Kellogg, Jared Salas, RebelMann, Faith Marie, Jeremiah Jay, Savannah Garza, Rudi Alizah, Colton Jacobson, Kaylin Roberson and Delaney Ann!

It’s truly amazing what Teen Nation Tour has accomplished so far in the last few years for many communities. They began with only with a few cities back in 2012, but Teen Nation Tour has grown in 2014 to reach more than half a million people — more than 330 schools and venues in over 40 cities in 22 states! And this year, they’re ready to reach even further!

Perhaps one day, every community in the country will join them in the fight against bullying; helping to raise awareness and learning prevention methods.

Did you know that bullying has become one of the greatest widespread issues children, teens and young adults face a lot of these days? What some people don’t know is that it can happen anywhere, not only in school or on the bus. Bullying has no limitations or restrictions as it can range from simple teasing and name-calling to a severe physical altercation to a nasty text message you receive on your phone.

Many different forms of bullying exist that you or someone you know might be dealing with/have dealt with such as:

  • Verbalinsults, mean jokes, teasing, etc.
  • Physicalhitting, kicking, physical attack upon a person, etc.
  • Indirectcruel rumors, purposeful exclusion from group/activities, etc.
  • Cyberbullying an electronic medium-type of bullying which can consist of text messages, emails, chatrooms, IMs, etc. Also fits in with “Indirect” bullying.

If you or someone you know has experienced any form of bullying, help make a stand and say “TIMEOUT!” as it’s time to stop!

For more information on the amazing Teen Nation Tour, please head to www.TeenNationTour.org!

Rising Music Sensation, Dylan Rey, Selected To Join Teen Nation Anti-Bullying Tour!

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You don’t have to look very hard in today’s society to see just how serious bullying has become in our schools and communities. According to statistics reported recently, nearly 30 percent of students are either bullies or victims of bullying, and 160,000 kids stay home from school every day because of fear of bullying. This comes as no surprise to Dylan Rey, Dallas native who has personally felt the wrath of bullies himself in school.

Dylan Rey is a young rising star who is grateful for his fame and success but has never forgotten how blessed he was to be able to overcome those bullies and learn to believe in himself and his talents and gain the strength to make these dreams come true!

Dylan Rey has a big year ahead for 2015. Not only will he be joining the Teen Nation Tour ,that just wrapped up their 2014 tour after visiting over 1.3 million teens in schools across the U.S. Dylan Rey will also be releasing his brand new single, Gray- being produced by Music A&R and multiple platinum, double Grammy Music Producer , Andrew Lane. Dylan also recently performed at the Ryan Seacrest studios at the Dallas Children’s Hospital and has been selected by Make-a-Wish to help one young girl with big music dreams come true! In addition to all of this Dylan will be shooting his first music video in LA January 5th for his song, “She Gets Me”. Also while in LA. Dylan will be opening for Diggy Simmons, Jacob Latimore, and Trevor Jackson from Disney and hosted by Zendaya from Disney Channel. Dylan Rey will also be performing for the first time in Dubai at the Red Fest Music festival!

Dylan Rey will join the tour January 19th when the tour kicks off in his hometown of Dallas following that stop he will then he will head to in the Houston, San Antonio, Salt Lake, Las Vegas, Phoenix and many more cities.

Dylan looks forward to being a role model to other teens out there not just with bullying but helping others become more understanding and compassionate of others, this is something that is especially close to Dylan’s heart. Dylan Rey is already being called the next Bruno Mars meets Michael Buble with dimples by industry experts.

Dylan Rey has recently wrapped up performances in Austin, Dallas and performed at the Nascar Bank of America 500 fan zone in Charlotte, NC.

To learn more about Teen Nation Tour, visit their website at www.teennationtour.com.

 

Benjamin Stockham Hollywood Today Live Interview — Watch Here!

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Benjamin Stockham from “About a Boy” headed into Hollywood for a live in-studio interview at Hollywood Today Live. While being interviewed Benjamin talked about what it’s like on set of about a boy, anti-bullying, and he also talked about how he loves to draw.

Be sure to watch the full interview below!

Chloe Moretz Wants YOU To Help STOMP OUT BULLYING — See Her Anti-Bullying Message!

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All of us know of at least one person who has been bullied, are being bullied or may be a bully themselves. And all of it needs to stop!

In the movie, Carrie, young actress Chloe Grace Moretz plays a bullied around high school student. For Chloe, the subject of bullying hits home as she understands about the bullying issues personally. The movie star has joined up with STOMP Out Bullying for Blue Shirt Day on October 6th, 2014, the World Day of Bullying Prevention.

Check out Chloe’s anti-bullying message to you below. Will you help spread awareness?

Cimorelli Sings Original Song “What Would You Do” To Stand Up Against Bullying!

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The Cimorelli girls have teamed up to take a stand against bullying and AwesomenessTV has been following their journey of their new anti-bullying campaign. We already got to see the first two episodes and in the second one, the girls rehearsed an original song that a group of four students wrote after winning the Rocket21 Dream Big To Stop Bullying Competition. Not only were they the winners but they even get to hear Cimorelli sing the song they put together called “What Would You Do” which is all about putting an end to bullying.

Check out the girls from Cimorelli singing “What Would You Do” by watching the video below and let us know what you think of the song by commenting!

Cimorelli Rehearses An Original Anti-Bullying Song With Fans!

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The girls of Cimorelli have teamed up and decided to take a stand against bullying. In a new episode of their new web series with Awesomeness TV, we get to see Cimorelli rehearse an original song about anti-bullying that a group of four students wrote with the help of their teacher and classmates. The group of four boys were the winners of the Rocket21 Dream Big to Stop Bulling Competition in the Middle School teams category. After writing the song, Cimorelli joined them in singing it.

Check out the journey of the four students creating the song to Cimorelli joining them to sing it by watching the video below and let us know what you think by commenting!

TI Exclusive: Tara Nicole Azarian Talks Bullying At Galvanized Souls Event — Watch Here!!

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Tara Nicole Azarian was in attendance at Galvanized Souls event on July 17th. The event was to promote Galvanized Souls new single “Carry Out” and to raise bullying awareness. Tara took some time to talk with TeenInfoNet’s Crystal Ng about her films and also about how she was bullied for 2 years.

Be sure you check out Tara’s website for her films at http://www.frontporchfilm.com/ and watch our exclusive interview with her below!

TI Exclusive: Interview With Zach Callison At The Stop Bullying Event — Watch Here!!

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Zach Callison stopped to chat with our reporter Crystal Ng at Galvanized Souls Stop Bullying Event on June 17th. While chatting with Crystal Zach talked about projects he is currently working on, voice overs, and Galvanized Souls.

Be sure to check out our exclusive interview with Zach from Cartoon Networks Steven Universe below!

TI Exclusive: Galvanized Souls Launch “Carry On” Video Event — Photos Here!!

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Galvanized Souls celebrated the release of their new music video “Carry On” starring Facebook sensation Colin Cunningham of Colin’s Friends to bring awareness to help stop bullying in schools. Our reporter Crystal Ng was in attendance at the event on June 17th at Mack Sennett Studios.

Major anti-bullying organizations such as PACER, Not In Our Schools, I am Bully Free, Not the Target, Champions Against Bullying and Beyond Bullies all supported the event. The event ended with a performance from the talented Galvanized Souls.

Below you can view our exclusive images from the event!

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