Torrey Mercer is a multi-award winning talented Pop Singer, Motivational Speaker, and Actress from San Diego, CA.
Torrey added two awards to her resume this year when she took home Best Teen Artist and Inspirational Artist of the Year at the 3rd Annual Artists In Music Awards held at Jon Lovitz Theatre in Hollywood, CA on February 7.
Torrey has received multi-nominations from the Indie Channel Music Awards and Los Angeles Music Awards, received many accolades including winning, Best Inspirational Singer in 2009 at Universal CityWalk in Hollywood in a competition called “Hollywood’s Best New Talent”., and won several competitions including winning first place at the National Key Club Talent Competition, Del Mar TV Idol, Search for Talent, and more. Torrey has also made appearances in leading roles in over 30 musical theatre productions.
In 2011 Torrey was invited onto a National Anti-bullying tour, on both the East and the West Coast, where she performed at Boys and Girls Clubs, Summer Camps, and even Six Flags to talk to kids about ending bullying. Since the tour, Torrey has connected with schools across the state of California to talk to assemblies of children about the importance of speaking up and standing up for themselves when being bullied. Since the No Bully Tour, Torrey was inspired to reach out and work with charities such as the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the National Eating Disorder Association, Rady’s Children’s Hospital in San Diego, The Trevor Project, and Natural High. Torrey has worked hard to inspire thousands of kids all the way down the coast of California anywhere from ages K-8 at schools.
Torrey is a firm believer that bullying causes of a variety of issues, such as depression, self-harming, suicide, eating disorders, low self-esteem, and even abuse. Torrey tries to reach out to kids of all ages on a regular basis in hopes that one day, she could change some of their lives, and help them on their road to recovery.
“I think the thing that makes me stand out is my motivational speaking, and my work with real middle schoolers as part of my own anti-bullying program. The fact that I can speak to kids for 90 minutes about bullying and building character is something I am very proud of, and that in pairing with my music I believe is what makes me unique as a pop artist.”
VCT: I see you have struggled personally with bullying, do you want to share your story?
– Sure, I can definitely share my story. When I was in elementary school I was mostly bullied because of my weight, because I was overweight as a child, and I wasn’t good at sports when all of my friends were athletes. It was before I knew that I could sing, and that singing and music were really my calling. But when I figured this out much later, I had many people express negativity and jealousy towards what I did by cyberbullying me online, telling me that I have a horrible voice or that I would never make it as a singer. It was discouraging for a while, but ultimately, if I’d listened to those people back then, I wouldn’t be where I am today. And I truly think that many of them gave me the motivation to accomplish the career feats that I have.
VCT: Bullying is part of life sometimes, why do you think it’s so hard to rid the world of bullies?
– Really, I think the main reason is because many people are immature, or think that the best way to handle certain situations is through mean spirited or petty means. Everyone goes through those phases in say, middle school, or even high school, but with some adults even, it sticks. Unfortunately there is a portion of society that believes that threats and mean spiritedness get people further in life than kindness and positivity, perhaps because they are jaded by something that happened in their past or because of their own insecurities, but in my work with kids and in speaking in general, I’ve found that it’s possible to convert those who might have once thought that over to positivity and goodness, and so it’s my hope that I could help to influence that for those I work with in some way.
VCT: Is there any special thing you do to gain strength when things are not going well?
– One of the best ways that I gain strength, as cliche as it might sound, really is listening to music. Music has so much power over people who are going through a difficult time, of any circumstance. I really believe that music has the power to really help people through a difficult situation, and it’s most definitely helped me at many points in my life. Talking to those you trust and people who support you is also another way to gain strength when they give you encouragement in their own way, but sometimes, all you have is yourself, and if that’s the case… music can help anyone I think.
VCT: Do you think the world will ever evolve enough to stop fighting over things that may not be worth fighting for?
– I’d love for that to happen, but that is a big question. Unfortunately there are many people who think that fighting brings good to certain countries, or to certain aspects of life (such as the economy), and for this reason, it is hard to really see everlasting peace. I would like to hope that with enough effort, we could really truly influence the world for the better if positive messages are sent to children now to influence their futures later, but truthfully, it’s hard to say! I’d love to live in a perfect world where none of that happens, but I am just one person. I hope to contribute in any way I can, and encourage others to do the same, but those are big questions!
VCT: Do you think education is a primary reason why there is so much inequity in this world?
– Maybe to some degree, because certain members of society of a particular socioeconomic background have more privileges to obtain higher education than other members of society, but I am also a firm believer in the fact that anyone, no matter what your background is, can work against the odds. Just because someone comes from a particular place or background, does not mean they are stuck there for life. Many celebrities have proven that, and many other members of smaller communities in their own way have as well. Education does in many ways set people up for success in life, but where a person comes from does not ultimately have to determine what they do with their lives. There have been thousands of first generation college attendees in recent decades, and I have many friends who are exactly that. It is possible to obtain higher education if you work hard enough, I really truly do believe that.
VCT: People often use religion as a grounds to bully and find refuge, why not remove this dilemma all together?
– It’s sad, truthfully, that people do use religion for hateful means. As someone who was raised Roman Catholic on both sides of my family all my life, I do have a belief in God and a connection to religion, but am not at all for the hate that is spread by much of religion. People get caught up in the ideas that the church teaches them, and often are taught to believe the scripture from such a young age, that the affects later become irreversible, and they lose sight of what is important. It would be wonderful to remove this dilemma, but I think these things have to come with time, as it is very hard to erase these kinds of mentalities from people entirely, as unfortunate as it is. But I am a BIG supporter of diversity and people of all kinds…. I’m a huge LGBT supporter and social justice activist in general, and I have a very Conservative family, so it’s possible! There is hope for future generations for sure.
VCT: When faced with a bullying situation what is the best thing you can do?
– The first step in action when facing a bullying situation is to try to confront the person directly, whether in a message online, or to their face. Ask them why they are doing what they are doing, ask them why they think it will give them power or what good it is doing. From there, if a situation is really serious or if the person is not listening, that is when parents, teachers, school counselors, or an adult figure of some kind should be informed. I’m also a believer that bullying exists in work environments for adults, so if this is the case, a supervisor or manager should be informed at that point, or close friends, so they can give you support. Hopefully, if the situation works out, the authority figure should be able to intervene and help resolve the situation from there, but sometimes, even after this point a bully will find ways to continue. And really, at this point… one of the best things that you can learn to do is to walk away from the relationship, and to learn to not give the person power. The less interested or affected you are by what a bully does, the less likely they are to want to continue what they are doing. It’s a skill that comes with time, and often takes a bit of maturity and learning, but I believe everyone is strong enough to stand up to someone like that, and to get themselves out of these situations. No one has this kind of power of over any of us unless we let them, and it’s important to always remember that in life.
VCT: What is the main reason people bully others, is it jealousy, anger, spite, or something else?
– There’s a lot of reasons why someone could bully someone else, and while a lot of it can come from jealousy or insecurity (someone not liking themselves), it can also be very peer influenced, or influenced by even outside sources, such as family or home life. Many times in middle school and high school, kids get caught up in “cliques” with their friends, and because they want nothing more than to fit in, they’ll do anything to stay with their group, including bullying someone else. Also, a lot of negative influence can happen at home for some people, and it causes them to show up to school angry or upset because of how they are being treated at home, which can make them want to bully others.
VCT: When times are their darkest what can you do to rekindle your inner light?
– Always, always remember that you are a living, breathing being that has cells inside of you fighting for your right to exist and survive on this Earth every second of every single day. That even if it seems like no one loves you or no one would remember you if you were gone, there will be a number of lives affected by your death. As someone who has had a family relative commit suicide, and who watched my family go through that grieving process…. even if people seem far away, or even if it seems like they might not care, most people if they really knew how low someone was, would do anything to stop them from hurting themselves. Every single person on this Earth is worth something, and brings something unique to the world. There is only one you and only ever could be one you, exactly the way you are, with your experiences and personality and appearance all in one…. and that is a treasure. It deserves to be cherished, and defended, and protected. It’s always important to keep these things in mind if you’re in a dark place. And if anyone reading this needs someone to talk to… I’d be happy to help. There are also lots of resources online about ways to avoid hurting yourself in any way or to avoid actions that can never be taken back. Please consider them, read through them. You deserve to be helped.
VCT: Is there anything you want to say about your song and any message to all your fans?
– Really, it’s that I care about all of them, and hope truly that they will all be able to one day, if they don’t see it right now, see how extraordinary and capable and unique they all are. Everyone brings something unique and fantastic to the world, and unless we believe in ourselves, we might never find it. That’s how important faith in yourself is, and really, I just wish all of them the best in their journey to realize this.
Official Website: http://torreymercerofficial.com