We recently had the opportunity to chat with singer-songwriter Whitney Woerz about her anti-bullying efforts, mental health advocacy, and her music.
Think Before You Type: What inspired you to start singing?
Whitney Woerz: I’ve been singing since before I was talking, my mom likes to say. I grew up doing musical theater, and ever since a very young age, I knew music was what I wanted to do with my life.
TBYT: How did you get into songwriting, and what is your songwriting process?Whitney: I wrote my first song for a friend who I only knew over social media. She told me that she wanted to kill herself. I wanted to help her, but I couldn’t physically see her. So I sat down and wrote her a song called Ghost Story.
TBYT: Who are your musical influences?
Whitney: A big musical influence for my is Lorde. Her lyrics/music are so intricate and unique, and I just love her sound. Another artist I am inspired by (lyrically) is Twenty One Pilots. Their lyrics are so inspirational and hold a message about mental health which I love.
TBYT: What was the inspiration for the video for Ghost Story? What was the process of making it like? What was it like to see the finished product?
Whitney: I worked with director Liz Garbus to put together a documentary/music video centering around six kids who are struggling with mental illness to share their story. The objective was to let people watching know that they aren’t alone in anything they are going through and to show that it’s ok to talk about these things. The process was really fun and inspiring. I am really close now with the people in it. Seeing the finished product for the first time made me cry. I was so so happy I would be able to share this message and so happy for the other kids that they would be able to help people 🙂
TBYT: Since releasing Ghost Story and coming out with a pro-mental health/anti-bullying message, what type of response have you seen?
Whitney: Some responses I get triggered by the music video are “this saved my life” or “this inspired me to keep going.” Comments like these make me want to continue doing what I do and keep making music to help people.
TBYT: How have you been able to use the internet in a positive way?
Whitney: I respond to almost 100% of comments on each of my social media platforms. By doing this, I form relationships with fans and can help them through anything they might be going through. I also always try to spread a positive message through anything I post.
TBYT: How do you deal with negativity online?
Whitney: I try to ignore hate comments. I tell myself they are jealous, and I focus on the positive.
TBYT: If you could speak to someone who is being cyberbullied, what would you say to encourage them?
Whitney: I always let them know that they aren’t alone. I also tell them (if it’s cyberbullying) that whoever is doing it is clearly not confident and would never say those things in person. The people who try to take others down over the internet are usually sad and have nothing better to do than to bully, which is uncool and shouldn’t be taken.
TBYT: Can you tell us about your work with Bring Change 2 Mind?
Whitney: I am a teen ambassador for Bring Change 2 mind, which is an organization run by Glenn Close to help end the stigma around mental illness. I got involved with them before I wrote Ghost Story, and they helped me through what to do with my friend who wanted to kill herself. They told me to call the suicide hotline for her, and after that, I wanted to be a part of their mission to save lives and end the stigma.
TBYT: Do you have anything exciting coming up in 2018?
Whitney: Yes! I am planning to release new music around February and also planning on touring over the summer.