When I was in the second grade, a bunch of classmates always picked on a boy in our class. I suggested to the other girls in circle of friends that we do something about it. I went to the head of the school with one of my friends and described everything I saw. The head of the school had a talk with the victim and the bullies and told the other teachers to keep an eye on the situation. But there were times when no one teacher was around and the boys would still get to him. My friends and I started to guard him whenever teachers weren’t around and when we saw the boys bothering him, we told them they’d better stop, and they did. This situation stayed in the back of my mind, and I always made sure to keep my eyes open watching for bullying.
In January of 2010, we saw on the news that Phoebe Prince, a fifteen-year-old student at a Massachusetts high school, hanged herself after being severely bullied. We were emotionally impacted by her story and how horrible her situation must have been for her to take her life. Whenever we write songs, our goal is to motivate the listener or impact them in a way that makes them think. We decided to write a song about the role of the bystander and how one bystander choosing to step up can not only save a life but can set an example for other bystanders, causing an even bigger impact.
Phoebe was the new girl at school. Her problems started when she dated a boy that a girl in the popular crowd had her eye on. This girl, along with her posse, made it their mission to make Phoebe’s life miserable. They bullied her badly every day until Phoebe could not see a way out of her situation. Everyone around Phoebe at the school could see what was happening, but no one did anything. The bystanders could have helped her and even saved her life, but no one wanted to take the chance of becoming an outcast. Our song “The Same” takes the listener through the mind of the bystander as she weighs her options.
We wanted to turn the visions behind the lyrics into a music video that’s being played in schools nationwide, and from these schools we hear that the video is hitting home with students and helping bystanders to take that difficult step. Schools not only play the video, but they are teaching the song in music classes and performing it at school concerts. What still amazes us is that Phoebe Prince’s aunt saw the video and traveled two hours to attend the video release event at House of Blues because she felt so strongly!
But we know there is so much more to do. We are spokespeople for PACER Teens Against Bullying and make appearances at schools and other anti-bullying rallies whenever we can. We also participated in a movie documentary called “Bullied to Silence” which will be released later this year. The movie trailer is extremely moving and we know the movie is going to make a very strong statement. Our new single, “Beautiful Comeback,” addresses what we struggle through as teens and we hope gives its listeners an uplifting perspective. So, we continue to use our platform to help, heal, empower and inspire others The goal for our music is to help heal, empower, and inspire others, and our plan is to put all of our energies in that direction.
-Michael & Marisa