MuzicNotez: First off, it’s an honor to be doing this interview with you Torrey, thanks for taking the time to sit down with us.
What motivated you to start creating music? What age did you begin?
Torrey Mercer: Well, I did musical theater for about eight years before I started creating music and working on music seriously, and during that time I was in a variety of singing competitions, and did some antibullying work on a National Antibullying Tour. Based on the feedback and response of all of these factors, I knew that this was what I wanted to do.
MuzicNotez: Who were your musical influences, idols, or bands growing up that have helped mold you into the musician you are today? Or helped mold the music that you create?
Torrey Mercer: There are so many! I have a lot of influences for different reasons, because I believe that there is so much that goes into being successful in this industry, and in many ways I admire some artists for their business smarts, some for their talent, and some for the kinds of people that they are. From a young age I was always inspired by Lady Gaga. I loved that she was a humanitarian and fought for LGBT rights, but was also a successful musician. I love her for the person she is, and for what she gives back to the world. Demi Lovato and Kelly Clarkson are also huge influences, for their songwriting abilities and their “storytelling” kind of writing. I strive to be a story teller in a lot of ways with my music too, and to tell my story of struggling with self esteem and body image as a younger girl in hopes of inspiring or touching other younger teenagers who might be going through the same thing. A couple of other influences include Katy Perry for her image, Beyonce for her business smarts, Imagine Dragons for their inventive pop sound.
MuzicNotez: What’s the greatest concert you’ve ever been to or performed?
Hmm, this is a tricky one! I would say my favorite places to perform are definitely my antibullying assemblies. The most recent one I did was for over one thousand kids, and after I finished the assembly I got a huge mixture of sobbing teenagers coming up to hug me, and kids swarming me asking for my autograph. It was surreal! Working with those kids is so fulfilling, and it really does allow them to connect to my music, which I absolutely love!
MuzicNotez: What’s the ultimate goal you want your music to achieve, or for you to achieve in your career as a musician? Any particular message you wish to send?
Torrey Mercer: I most definitely want my antibullying and kindness messages to come through in my music, and I really do strive to make a difference with my music and my influence just as much as I want to release music and be a part of the music business. I have become somewhat of a motivational speaker for K-8 schools, middle schools especially, and I really have discovered a passion for it and think that it’s such an important message to leave. I speak about a variety of topics regarding bullying, but also I speak quite a bit about life, and how our lives all are determined by our choices and actions. It’s a message I want to continue to push with my music as I continue, and I definitely want to give other kids strength to change their ways and to be the best possible individuals they can be.
MuzicNotez: What started your mission to fight against bullying? What do you do to fight against it?
Torrey Mercer: Well, the No Bully Music National tour in 2011 was my first exposure to singing for a cause in this way, and because I was bullied for 12 years in my younger years, I really found that I was very passionate about it. I now have created a 90 minute long program for middle schools, and about a 45 minute long program for elementary level, and I go to schools and speak to the kids on a serious level about bullying and how much it affects their school specifically, interact with them and play the “Cross the Line” activity, which allows students to open up about their experiences, and I sing my music in between it all. At the end of the assembly I always give students a chance to speak on the microphone, and to apologize to their peers for anything or to open up about a bullying experience, and so far I’ve had over a dozen middle schoolers from various assemblies get on a microphone in front of all of their peers and apologize for bullying. It’s really amazing to see, and I’m so passionate about what I do.
MuzicNotez: In 2011 you were invited onto the National Anti-Bullying Tour. That must have been a big honor, what was the tour like?
Torrey Mercer: It was a huge honor! The tour was amazing, and we traveled on a full sized tour bus from state to state on the daily. It was a LOT of driving, but we also got to do a lot of amazing stuff with kids at Boys and Girls Clubs and summer camps!
MuzicNotez: You won the 2013 Indie Music Channel Award for ‘Best Pop Song’ for your track “Looking Glass”. What is the inspiration behind this song?
Torrey Mercer: I did! It was such an honor to win this awesome award. My main inspiration behind “Looking Glass” is really my previous struggles with body image, and with self-esteem. I used to be so insecure about how I looked, and was bullied for being chubby in my elementary years. It took a long time for me to learn to love myself, but that song definitely helped me in that process!
MuzicNotez: You also have plenty of other nominations and awards under your belt, how does it feel to be recognized like that?
Torrey Mercer: It feels absolutely amazing, and so so surreal. The fact that all of this is happening is just a dream come true. I’m so honored!
MuzicNotez: Working on anything new? What can we expect from you in the future?
Torrey Mercer: Yes! I just released a brand new single that is a No Bully anthem called “I Believe In Me” and it is on iTunes now! The music video for the song is coming soon, and will feature clips from my No Bully assemblies!
MuzicNotez: Anything else you wish to say about yourself or your music? Any message for your fans?
Torrey Mercer: Thank you so much to all who have supported me. Music and working with kids on bullying issues has truly changed my life for the better, and the support means the world to me. I would always want to remind my fans, and those kids I work with at No Bully assemblies to always stay strong, be your best self, and to love love love!