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!
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