Published on August 1st, 2014 | by Jameelah "Just Jay" Wilkerson0
There’s Something About Meredith…There’s Something About Meredith..
When did you first become interested in music? And, how did it actually all begin for Meredith O’Connor?
I have been an actress since I was 8 years old. I started with small town community productions, but since I grew up close to the city I was able to join several theater companies based in New York City. I learned I had a passion for music, and the stage, being in musical productions. I took a break from it when I signed with MMG [Model Management Group], and they helped me land different runway and print jobs as a model. One of them led me to meet my manager, Rick Galvin, and we started working together with my original songs that I wrote entirely for fun, never expecting them to find the success they did. “Celebrity” hit almost three million views within a few months, and we used that as a sign of success, and to keep going, and use the platform to convey a positive message.
Now you are a native of Long Island, New York, correct? So with that being said, growing up who all did/do you consider to be your strongest musical influences?
It changed a lot. Idina Menzel from Wicked was one, because musical theater was such a heavy influence on my life. Taylor Swift also was a big influence, especially on the song “Celebrity,” during my freshman year of high school. Lea Michele is also an inspiration. Similar start in the industry as me, and she uses her fame for a cause that is important to her and she brings attention to the fair treatment of animals, and I respect that a lot. Freddie Mercury from Queen as well — Love the theatrical flair!
How would you describe and/or define the style of music you create and perform?
It is certainly ‘Pop.’ Started out as ‘Pop/Country,’ but there’s also theatrical ‘Rock’ influenced in it; especially during the brigade of “Just the Thing.” That was probably my favorite thing or verse I have ever written.
Alright then, let’s go into this brand new single, “Just the Thing” — Tell me about this track specifically…And, how did it even come to fruition?
This track was so much fun to write! Heather Holley, my co-writer, is super sweet. We gelled a lot, making it more fun than work. The track is about being yourself. It can be to a boyfriend, girlfriend or just a best friend, who truly understands you and loves the quirkiness of your personality. That was what I was thinking when I wrote the song. The bridge has a theater influence as I mentioned before, inspired by Freddie Mercury. It was so much fun to write, and it really does describe me.
I understand, too, that 75% of all proceeds are being devoted to The Carol Galvin Foundation, which benefits women fighting cancer, right? In having said this, what exactly prompted your decision to do such a noble thing?
My manager, Rick Galvin, has inspired me so much to bring attention to his movement. Alongside managing, he started a foundation in the name of his mother, to help other moms out there so their kids don’t have to feel the pain he did. I have seen how The Carol Galvin Foundation helped to change the lives of families affected by cancer, and I realized that we both experienced pain…For me, it was bullying, but for him it was cancer, and that he is using his experience with cancer to help others, the same way I am with the song “The Game,” (making) school visits and appearances. I am honored to be able to help raise awareness to the foundation and show people how much it helps the mothers affected by cancer, and after meeting two mothers he is raising money for, I wanted to donate a piece of my music to them.
Being that this is your “official” third entry, on the heels of, of course, both “Celebrity” and “The Game” — How does “Just the Thing” either differ and/or compare to those first two compositions?
Well, “Just the Thing” is not too different from The Game” if you hear the message, but it is more upbeat, whereas “The Game” was an anthem and ballad, bringing light on the pain of bullying. “Just the Thing” incorporates a romantic feel to it, and appeals to those relationships that I have felt work only because they understand my weirdness! Ha,ha! “Celebrity” was a fun little song I wrote after my first relationship, with a catchy hook, and the biggest connection is that the success of “Celebrity” inspired the other two songs to happen. I am just grateful that I had the platform and fan-base to help others, and I hope my music will continue to do that.
Your previous offering, the aforementioned “The Game,” supports a very important, albeit serious message in the form of anti-bullying — Why did you opt to speak out on such a very controversial topic?
I was bullied at a young age, and it only got worse in middle school. After “Celebrity” came out, it was not as bad and I started to see the fake-ness in people’s kindness, and saw the whole topic as a “game.” Something taken so seriously, but so insignificant. Hence, the title of the song. I was able to — with some occasional tears — remember my experience being verbally abused, excluded, harassed and made fun of, with clear vision on how silly it all was. I wrote the song “The Game” with much honesty, hoping to prove to my fans that it would get better, no matter what they were experiencing at home or at school.
You are also appearing in the lead role of the upcoming horror film Red Head Randy — Please tell me more about this particular venture…And, what exactly can be expected from your first real acting gig?
Red Head Randy is something I worked on the same time as “The Game,” after announcing my anti-bullying platform and single. We teamed up in a sense, because either have heard of my work before, and I loved the message in their film. Red Head Randy is a “horror” flick, and has already started a lot of talk amongst teens that like the genre. I am so happy to be a part of the message behind the film, because it will scare people, and attract the right kind of audience. People can expect my role to be shocking, mean, but also funny. Playing the “queen bee” was hard, because of the rude things I have said on camera; I’m sorry, but easy to access that character because I am still a kid and can remember very clearly how they would act.
Talk to me about ReachOut, the non-profit organization you’re also involved in/with…
ReachOut partnered with me as soon as they heard about “The Game!” They immediately got on board with my message, because they saw we are both doing similar things. ReachOut provides direct support to those experiencing hardships in their youth, and I love how they are passionate about a cause that is so necessary in today’s society.
What plans do you have in place for sustaining longevity?
In today’s industry, that’s a hard task because people expect to be shocked, and want to see outrageous things. I have entered this industry and made a promise to not let parents and kids who look up to me down by doing anything that could hurt them. However, I do plan to continue with acting, and have plans for a feature film with Prince Lewis Productions in the near future, as well as a dance track.
Do you have any other additional/outside aspirations that you’d like to branch out and pursue, futuristic-ally speaking, maybe even completely away from entertainment?
Honestly, I have been in this industry for most of my life now, even though I am still just 18. It’s what I know, and it’s what I love…But, I do plan to study film-making, and what goes on behind the scenes, because as an entertainer it is important to know your industry from both sides, including behind the scenes. It is easy to be taken advantage of, and I want to make sure that will never happen to me. If I were to leave this industry completely, I would be a psychologist because I could help people through their emotional trauma. Or, a chef, because I love to cook!
To date, what has been your biggest career moment?
Hard to pick one…The (2 Cities In) 24 Hours (music video) premiere probably, (since) it is fresh in my memory as well. The attendance at both premieres was great. The Delfonics came out to support, as well as other actors and singers to show their support. My whole team was amazing, and Rick Galvin pretty much made it all happen. Traveling across the country with my current band was great — They are such cool people. The 10 city tour that I did in the fall was also amazing, and life changing for me. I saw cities all along the East Coast, met fans and young kids touched by my song “The Game,” and it inspired me so much.
Looking ahead, say five or even ten years from now, where do you see yourself?
I see myself doing many things in the entertainment industry, continuing to be involved with music and film, and also hope to direct and act in my own film one day.
As for the immediate future, what’s next for Meredith O’Connor?
More press tours for “Just the Thing,” and then the film with Prince Lewis Productions! We will be dropping a new track, recording the rest of my full album in Nashville, collaborating with another celebrity singer for an upcoming duet track that will be released in 2015, and, of course, the tour for “Just the Thing” — Looking to do twice the amount of cities!
Is there anything I left out or just plain forgot to mention?
Nope! *O’Connor smiles* I don’t think so. I may remember when it’s too late…Just remembered…Follow me on Instagram: @meredithoconnor, same handle on Facebook, @meredithter on Twitter and check my website: meredithoconnormusic.com for updates.
Any closing thoughts for our readers?
See you on tour!
Interview By: Hype StaffTweet