There's no limit to what music can do. Combined with the right lyrics and chords, music has the power to heal wounds, open conversations or just become an escape from reality. Pop band After Romeo has not only incorporated this mindset into their music, but built their entire fanbase by empowering today's youth to help stand up to issues, like bullying.
The band, made up of members Drew Ryan Scott, Jayk Purdy, Blake English and TC Carter, took it upon themselves to help stop this problem, which they view as "an epidemic" in America with their "Bully Proof" Tour.
Since 2014, the band has traveled around the country, performing their songs for school children, all in the name of anti-bullying. By doing so, After Romeo has created an incredibly passionate and loyal fanbase who have been patiently awaiting the band's newest EP, Good Things, which was released in June.
AOL.com had a chance to sit down with the band, who talked about why they feel so passionate about this issue, the most rewarding thing about their "Bully Proof" tour and more!
You all are very passionate about anti-bullying and have even launched a "Bully Proof" tour. Can you talk a bit about why this cause is close to you and about the tour itself?
TC: Growing up, we all got made fun of for different reasons because we were interested in different kinds of art -- so whether you were a singer, dancer, people are going to hate on you for that.
DREW: TC played baseball and he would literally get picked on for dancing, so people would call him "gay" and say he's a loser and blah blah blah. And each of us went through stuff like that. Thus, we created this thing called the "Bully Proof Tour" so we could help kids going through the same stuff that we were going through.
BLAKE: And it's so big on social media too, people getting picked on. I don't know why everyone feels the need to be mean on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, whatever. There are a lot of mean people on social media for some reason. So, we experience that and we wanted to take that and create something positive around it that you can spread to kids. So we decided to go on the road and go to a lot of schools and spread this anti-bullying message that really help people out. We also got to promote our music at the same time and we've stayed in contact with these kids as well. They've been DM'ing us and telling us their stories and we try to help them out.
JAYK: And the crazy thing is that it wasn't for profit, so we did everything ourselves. We funded it ourselves. We did it -- us four and our manager -- we literally booked everything and arranged everything ourselves. So, it was a lot of work.
TC: It was exhausting. We were performing probably 9 times a day and waking up at five in the morning, but it was so worth it in the end to see how much we impacted these kids. They're more inclined to listen to people their own age because their teachers and their parents are always just trying to put it in their ears, so it was cool.
JAYK: We performed for every grade separately. So, different performances for 6th grade, 7th grade, 8th grade and so on. We did three schools a day and then at the end of the day, we performed a 12 to 15 song concert in the area, so it was exhausting, but so rewarding.
How did this tour start? The idea is amazing.
JAYK: When we first had become a band, we had an opportunity to go to Las Vegas and meet with one of our old vocal teachers in the area. He invited us to talk to his choir class and tell them about life in the industry and whatnot. His wife is in charge of a lot of middle school choir departments. So we went out there for a week and just talked to kids in the industry. We decided to have a little meet-and-greet and probably expected to see maybe 50 people. And we got down there and there were like, five hundred people at this mall -- it was just craziness.
DREW: So we were thinking and were like, "We may be onto something." So, we went back and met with our manager and were like, "What's something we all have been through that we can talk to kids about?" And this is what we came up with. It's good because bullying is such an epidemic and we got to do a free concert for the kids too. They get to have some fun and get out of class, learn some stuff, dance.
Where do you hope to see yourselves in the next five years?
DREW: Honestly, we'd love to get a GRAMMY, sell out Madison Square Garden.
BLAKE: We'd love to be successful, is where I think Drew's going with that. We'd love to have hit songs and have a bunch of fans that love us.
JAYK: I think we want to find people who connect to us, musically, and what we do. I think that's kind of what we're looking for. Not fans, but people out there that actually see what we're doing and believe in us and support us and what we are.
BLAKE: I think we all have a lot of strong opinions about things that can help and change the world and I think that we want to be an inspiration to other people, whether they want to be up-and-coming artists or doing their own thing.
TC: I just want to be successful with you guys!
YouShouldKnow is a feature that showcases up-and-coming social stars. To see more of past interviews, including more After Romeo exclusives, click here.
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