Radio Disney’s Jessie Chris On Her Fight To End Bullying #ChooseKindness

Radio Disney's Jessie Chris On Her Fight To End Bullying #ChooseKindness

Recently, we got the chance to talk to Radio Disney’s Jessie Chris. She shared with us all about her very cool collaboration with 98 Degrees’ Jeff Timmons as well as many other well known artists. She also talked with us about her work with the Wounded Warrior project and her gratitude to those that served our country. And we discussed her personal story of being bullied and how that’s shaped her as a person and an artist today.

Radio Disney's Jessie Chris On Her Fight To End Bullying #ChooseKindness

Rock: So, you’re a teenager, right?

Jessie Chris: I am, my last few months of being a teenager. I am 19 and I will be 20 on May 31st.

Rock: Oh wow! That’s exciting. My daughter {Amber} will be 20 next month. So, you know, you are around the same age.

Jessie Chris: Awww… tell her happy birthday!

Rock: I will! And happy early birthday to you, too!

Jessie Chris: Thank you {laughs}.

Rock: So, are you excited about no longer being a teen very soon?

Jessie Chris: Um, it’s bittersweet because in the music industry world you definitely want to be as young as possible…and all of a sudden it’s like I am not a teen anymore so I have to be responsible {laughs}. But also I am excited because it’s a new decade of my life and I am really excited for what that is going to bring.

Rock: Right. So, I was reading on your website that you have opened for a lot of big name acts {Luke Bryan, Chris Young, etc}, so who did you like opening for most or who would you like to work with that you haven’t had the opportunity to yet?

Jessie Chris: Ummm, my favorite act that I got to open for was Billy Ray Cyrus because I actually got to sing “Achy Breaky Heart” with him! And that was really cool because I grew up watching him on Hannah Montana and he was on that show everyday so it like made my childhood complete to not only meet him but to get to sing with him on one of his hits. So, that was really cool. And, like my dream artist to open up for would be either Keith Urban or Rascal Flatts because they are my musical inspirations.

Rock: Yes! I love all of them. So, I saw that you also did an acoustic version of 98 Degrees’ “I Do,” with Jeff Timmons. That’s a song that I listened to when I was around your age so how did you even learn of that {laughs}.

Jessie Chris: So, my manager has been good friends with Jeff Timmons for years and that was my first collaboration with a celebrity. I was really nervous and I had never done anything like that before so I had no idea what to expect. I didn’t know what he was going to be like. I didn’t know if I was good enough to hang with him or that he would want to do that video and sing this song together but he was so sweet and I felt like we got along really well together. He has become a really good friend of mine and he will give me a call every once in a while to check in on how I am doing. He is just so awesome and that was really cool. And, you know, I have friends who are a little bit older than me and they grew up as a teenager listening to 98 Degrees so, like you said, when they were my age. I felt like a lot of teenage girls super “fangirled” over him and then I got to “fangirl” over him.

Rock: Yeah, and a lot of people, especially my age are really jealous, I am sure {laughs}.

Jessie Chris: {laughs}

Rock: And that’s a really good song, too. I mean I think it’s a song that will last and still be good for years.

Jessie Chris: Definitely! And it came out really cool acoustically. It is really a great song.

Radio Disney’s Jessie Chris On Her Fight To End Bullying

Rock: So, I was reading about your initiative against bullying. Do you want to tell us a little bit more about that?

Jessie Chris: Yeah, so, I always wanted to do music since I was a really little girl and I got my first guitar when I was 10 years old. I thought it was the coolest thing in the world but people my age at school didn’t think it was very cool. So, they gave me a really hard time about it and I wanted to get myself out there in anyway that I could. I did every school musical. I did chorus. I played in restaurants. I did everything that I could to get my name out there.

And anytime that I had a little ounce of success, people would say that I didn’t deserve it or that I would never be good enough or that I would never be pretty enough. And growing up, hearing that from my peers and people that I thought were my friends – it definitely took a really big toll on my confidence. I mean, it was so much more, too. I have been shoved against the lockers. I have been cyber bullied. I transferred to my highschool as a sophomore and I wanted to try out for the field hockey team but a girl posted my music in a private Facebook page and they were trashing on me saying that it was not good and that it was probably all autotuned and a bunch of stuff like that.

So, I didn’t try out for the team and I focused on my music. So, for me to be able to go into schools when I am not busy on the road and talk to young kids about what I went through – because I know they are going through similar things because people being mean to you is a part of growing up – I just tell them my story and it really means a lot to me. I am actually in the process of writing a children’s book about it, about my story and what I went through. I just want my fans to know that I want to be like a big sister to them and that they are not alone. And whatever you are going through, it’s going to make you stronger. That’s why it means a lot to me.

Rock: And that’s the thing that people need to realize. Just because someone says something about you – it doesn’t mean that it’s true. And usually when someone says something bad about you, that’s their own insecurities coming through, you know? They are just trying to make themselves feel better by bringing others down.

Jessie Chris: Yeah, and like, you try to tell yourself exactly what you said but when you hear it everyday, and all the time, from people you thought you trusted, it really hurts. And then you start to believe it. It’s just so sad and I have a brother who is 12 years old and some kid, the other day, just called him “ugly.” And so now he makes me wake up every morning and help him spike his hair because he is so insecure and it breaks my heart because all it took was one kid saying one stupid thing and now, everyday, my brother is insecure. It really breaks my heart.

Rock: I totally understand and empathize with that. So, tell us about performing for the Wounded Warriors.

Jessie Chris: So that was really special because that was my first time ever going to Washington DC. I actually missed out on my class trip to Washington DC because of being bullied really badly. I lied to the school and made up any excuse just to not go and be stuck with these kids who made me miserable. So, that was my first trip to DC and I have so much love and support for people who have served this country. And just to be able to go in there and play them a few songs and shake their hands and say, “Thank you,” for everything they do means so much. I wouldn’t be able to chase my dreams if they didn’t keep us safe. And I wouldn’t have the freedom to do that, so it meant a lot to me.

Rock: So, hopefully you got to have fun on your Washington DC trip. Did you get to do anything that you might have missed out on, on your school trip?

Jessie Chris: I went back again a 2nd time and I got a private tour of the Pentagon and I filmed an anti-bullying Public Service Announcement inside the Pentagon. That was way cooler than any class trip with the mean girls so I feel pretty good about that.

Rock: And who knows. Maybe they will see that and be like, “Oh man!” So, where would people go to get your music? Where all can they buy it?

Jessie Chris: It’s on all music online retailers like iTunes, Google Play, Spotify. And then, also, we sell hard copies of my music CDs at my shows. And you can find more information on my shows and the cities that I will be visiting on my website which is JessieChris.com. And this spring I have brand new music coming out that I am really excited about, so be sure to be on the lookout for that.


Hanging around doing phone interviews all day

A post shared by Jessie Chris (@jessiechrismusic) on

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About Dawn McAlexander

Dawn has been a music lover her entire life. She went to college at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, an area that is rich in music and culture. She also worked as a radio deejay for 8 years and grew up in Southeastern, Va, a melting pot of different musical styles and traditions. She has been to more concerts than she can count in every genre you can imagine. She resides in North Carolina with her daughter, Amber, and her furbabies.

Comments

  1. This is such a cool interview opportunity. Sounds like she’s doing a great job!

  2. How fun! I was a huge 98 Degrees fan! Now I feel so old…

  3. Love how she is setting a positive tone for others in her dedication to help reduce/end bullying behaviors. When famous role models take a stand, it makes a difference.
    Karen recently posted…Coffee Table Style Essentials in 5 Easy StepsMy Profile

  4. I love that she is setting down a positive image and helping with the struggle against bullying. It is super important to teach kids to be more inclusive and kind hearted.

  5. I have never heard of her. But I don’t pay much attention to the disney channel. Good for her for taking a stand against bullying.
    Angela Tolsma recently posted…Days of WeeknessMy Profile

  6. fighting bullying is so important and getting important figures to stand up is definitely a great way to try and eradicate it. It can have such devastating effects!
    Charlotte recently posted…The Early Bird Entrepreneur ChallengeMy Profile

  7. She has a lovely voice and I love that song in the video clip. It’s so sad when you hear of such talented lovely people being bullied so badly, I’m glad she turned it round though!

  8. It’s great that so many important young stars are working so hard against bullying. I do that there are a lot of great changes taking place. I know cyber bullying is still horrible, but I do think the age of the clique is dying, which is wonderful. Very cool interview!

  9. I remember being bullied when I was a kid and now that I have two boys not in school yet, I worry about this! I’m so glad that public figures are stepping up to end bullying! That is so inspiring!
    Katriza recently posted…Win & Travel to Duns Castle in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast SweepstakesMy Profile

  10. It never ceases to amaze me how cruel kids can be at just about any age, but I am also amazed by the strength of those who overcome it all. If more young people stood up it would be a great thing.
    Heather @ Country Life, City Wife recently posted…International Women’s DayMy Profile

  11. This is a great topic to focus upon.
    Today, we see so much bullying and of many types, such as cyber bullying.

  12. This is such a great thing that she’s doing. Bullying is such a big topic, especially as kids. I loved reading this interview!

  13. Sounds like a great interview to do. It’s great that she is tackling bullying it’s such an important cause and I’m sure it’ll help a lot of kids.

  14. Great interview and it is awesome to know she is using her celebrity status to speak out against bullying!
    Amber Nelson recently posted…Boost Your Baby’s Immune System, Ease Tummy Trouble With #UpSpringMy Profile

  15. Great interview and she seems like a really sweet girl! It is so sad to me when people can’t be happy for someone else’s success and support them. The sad thing is it doesn’t end after we finish school! Good thing for her though to be using her fame for such a great platform to stop bullying!
    Heather recently posted…Let Me Introduce You to Smither ParkMy Profile

  16. This is a great campaign. I feel like a lot of people dont think about what they say, or how they should build people up and not tear them down. This is a big talk I had with my kids so they could be aware and always choose to be kind and even stand up to people who aren’t kind.

  17. It’s great to see celeb’s using the position to help others. Being a teen is a lot harder these days thanks to social media. Fighting bullying is a very important cause to take on.
    Blythe Alpern recently posted…Baby Daddy Cast Interview Plus Baby Shower #BabyDaddyMy Profile

  18. I am not familiar with her although she sounds like a very nice and smart young woman. I love that she helps raise awareness on bullying. We need more people like her in the world. I would love to check her songs out, thanks for that video!
    Amanda Love recently posted…How to Travel When You’re BrokeMy Profile

  19. How wonderful and important is this. Last night hubby and I watched a documentary about bullies and children as young as 11 took their lives due to it. I cried to much. Thanks for sharing this love.

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