According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, “more than one out of every five (20.8%) students report being bullied.” Many of these students are later affected by mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, and in some cases, as reported by the National Bullying Prevention Center, resort to suicide to find relief from the trauma.
Twelve-year-old singer-songwriter, known as Melody, like too many girls, has witnessed painful amounts of bullying and unkindness by other girls. Originally, she used her musical and writing talents to defend others who have been bullied. Recently, Melody’s album, Girl Behind the Piano, was released and is receiving many accolades.
One song in particular speaks to the bullying between young women. “Shine Bright,” which she penned, co-produced, and recorded sends a strong message about being an individual and encourages girls to be real and like themselves. The chorus repeats, “cause her over there with the pretty plastic hair, she thinks I’m better in the dark…go ahead and stare, cause I know I’m better in the light.”
Melody, who has been taking voice and piano lessons for two years, says she was first inspired to write the song about a year ago, and has been praised by her peers for doing so. “Bullying is such a terrible thing,” she says. “And I wanted to write a song that’s against it.”
Her father accompanies her on drums. “Melody is on a writing spree right now,” he says. “She talks about hard stuff in life for someone her age, and the songs that she writes have a really good message.”
The Colorado youth recorded “Shine Bright” at Far & Away Studios. Studio owner, Geoff Gray, says, “I knew she was a huge talent right away. She has excellent pitch awareness and musicality. I introduced her to Cass Clayton, whose album I also recorded, and Cass wanted to help Melody get her message out.”
Cass commented, “It makes me sad that girls are still doing this to each other. But I was also inspired, because Melody turned something that was bothering her into art. That’s what good musicians do.”
And so, Cass invited Melody to debut her song at a show with two other woman-fronted acts, Brigitte Purdy (a Grammy-nominated artist from L.A.) and Cass Clayton Band, which won the “Album of the Year 2018” for an album of the same name, through the Colorado Blues Society People’s Choice Awards. “Brigitte and I both wanted to support Melody in sharing her song with the world. She’s incredibly talented, and many of us women musicians stick together and push each other to reach our potential,” says Cass.
Cass believes more women need to support one another in promoting their passion and talents in the music world. She and fellow musician Kerry Pastine, recently founded SHE-EO, an organization dedicated to solving long-standing business problems that many women-led bands face. “We want to inspire the women musician community to think differently so we can help each other to succeed,” says Cass.
Pastine, who is the founder and lead singer of Kerry Pastine & the Crime Scene Band, says, “When women play music it becomes all-encompassing in terms of who we need to be on this planet. There’s a consciousness about who we are, and how we want the world to see us. It’s important. It’s just as important to us as how we raise our kids, who we are in business. We want to be taken seriously in all areas of our lives including on the domestic front, while raising our kids, and in the music business.”
It’s with that spirit of mutual support of women in the music industry that led to Cass and Brigitte welcoming Melody to the stage. Melody’s debut of “Shine Bright” at Dickens Opera House in Longmont, Colorado in March, between performances by Cass and Brigitte.
The pre-teenager never stood in front of a crowd and performed publicly, outside of school concerts and a few smaller restaurants.
“Melody’s lyrics, at this age, are so bold,” says Purdy, who has made her mark for decades in the music world. “To make those statements, and to use the power of music to heal people, to wake people up, and to acknowledge that bullying needs to be stopped is commendable. Bullying is not a way of building people up or of healing humanity. We should support these children in any way possible.”
Melody intends to keep on writing and recording and performing––tackling the world’s woes, one song at a time. And you can find her songs, “Shine Bright” and her highly touted single, “Breaking Rules,” on her debut album, Girl Behind the Piano on Bandcamp. https://melody6.bandcamp.com/album/girl-behind-the-piano-album