13 year-old pop-opera singer Sara Stevensknows all too well what it feels like to be bullied for being “different”. Instead of being defeated by the teasing and harsh words she found solace and a new-found confidence through singing.
While she is only 13, some of Sara’s accomplishments include performing in La Boheme with the Atlanta Opera; singing the National anthem at the New York Giants vs. New England Patriots game; and gracing the legendary stage at Carnegie Hall. She's now working on her album with famed producer Paul Schwartzof Phantom of the Opera on Broadway.
This is her story:
My name is Sara Stevens. I'm 13 years old and I'm a singer. Have you ever been picked on, called a mean name or just simply left out and ignored? This is something kids deal with every day.
I understand. I was bullied too.
I was told that I was too tall, that I like to draw too much, and that I like to sing too much. Some kids even said I was fat. That hurt, but it never stopped me from being myself.
I remember one night I couldn't sleep and cried because I was so worried about going to school in the morning.
My mom taught me to be strong and I believe that tough times can make you stronger. When something is difficult, you can develop a confidence in yourself that you never knew you had.
My grandparents have also been very supportive of me following my dream, and they have done a lot to make it possible for me to do just that. My grandmother has told me many times to never try to be like anyone else, but to just be myself. My granddad reminds me to keep going when things don't go exactly the way I want. He tells me to keep working at what I am trying to accomplish.
There are other people who have been there for me. My vocal coach Amy Zorn has taught me so much about singing, and to never be afraid to show my feelings to the audience. And my producer Paul Schwartz, who is the first to congratulate me when a performance or recording has gone well, is also the first to remind me to continue working hard.
I also met a man named John Roberts. He's a music producer in Atlanta. Together, he and I wrote a song called Dance In This Dreamwhich was inspired by what I had gone through.
All these encouraging words from the people in my life make me feel good and happy. The best advice I can give to anyone out there struggling is believe in yourself never back down. Always stand up and know that your dream is waiting for you.
I hope with all my heart that this song will touch many lives. It has a powerful message about looking for the positive and overcoming the negative.
The most important thing a person can do is to be him or herself. Don't let anything hold you back, take your chance, find your dream and everything is possible!
Listen to “Dance In This Dream” here.