DEDHAM, Mass. - Rising country music singer and Southboro native Jessie Chris stopped by the Boston 25 News studio to talk about her anti-bullying tour.
Her rocket-ship career has taken off, but things weren’t always great for Chris. She said she was the victim of extreme bullying when she was younger.
“Growing up, I had classmates telling me to give up on my dreams and it wasn't just that,” Chris said. “It was cyber-bullying for everything about me - my voice, what I look like, what kind of music I sing - because growing up here, it wasn't common to be singing country music.”
She even recalled trying to join the field hockey team to make friends at a new high school her sophomore year.
“I showed up to tryouts and the captain said, ‘Nobody pass with the new girl,’” Chris said. “I went home that night and they had a team Facebook page where they posted my songs on it, and the whole team was just commenting the most terrible things you could say about everything about me.”
Chris said that moment was her turning point. She pushed through and won her battle with depression and anxiety. Her secret to success was the one thing she was bullied for - her music. She never gave up on her dreams.
“Never change for anybody,” Chris said. “No matter what they say.”
Now just 21 years old, Chris was recently named Artist to Watch by Billboard Magazine. Her current single and empowerment anthem is called “ROME.”
“I said that I think it needs to be something as simple as those little sayings your parents say to you as a kid when you're having a bad day - like Rome wasn't built in a day,” Chris said.
She is also a children’s book author. “DREAM” tells her story of growing up while being bullied.
“Kids are saying I made them realize they have the confidence to get through whatever they're getting through or now they're going to be nicer to other kids because they realize being cool doesn't mean you need to be mean to people,” Chris said.
Despite her busy schedule, she is on a mission to visit 100 schools in 2018 to share her story with the hope of touching at least one child’s life.
“My goal is to remind them that I was right there with them and that you can be successful after all of this,” Chris said.
October is National Bullying Prevention Month.
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