The name Danny Wood from New Kids on the Block might conjure images of choreographed dance moves and arenas of screaming fans, but outside the popular band, Wood is a singer and songwriter in his own right. Recently, he teamed up with country singer Jessie Chris to record an anti-bullying anthem called "Bodyguard," an inspiring track about protecting someone from hateful words.
"People are getting the song right away, and they get the message," Wood told PopCulture.com. "It's been pretty effective, and I've gotten a lot of thank-you's from parents that have younger kids saying, 'Thank you for writing the song. I've had my daughter listen to it, and it's helping her.' Stuff like that is really...one person saying that to you, that's well worth the song being written, and me and Jessie singing it together."
Wood approached Chris to collaborate on the song because of Chris' own experience — after being bullied when she was younger, the singer now travels to schools around the country to speak to students and offer them advice about how to deal with whatever they're facing.
"I encourage them to talk about it with anyone, because it's scary when kids never talk about it and then end up hurting themselves," Chris shared. "That's a big thing I emphasize when I talk to them is talking to adults about it."
After hearing Chris' message, Wood was so inspired that he ended up penning "Bodyguard" and reaching out to Chris to record the track.
"I just took inspiration from the things Jessie was saying," he explained. "Now after writing the song, she's definitely a bodyguard when she walks into these schools and speaks to these kids. She's a good role model."
Jessie revealed that when she was growing up in the Boston area, she dreamt of becoming a country singer, something that made her stand out for the wrong reasons at school.
"I somehow fell in love with country music when I was a really little girl. I realized that that's what I wanted to be when I grow up, but that wasn't popular here," she recalled. "It was something that made me unique and made me an easy target for my classmates to bully me, so I really struggled in school. I changed schools twice because it was so bad. In the end, it really did shape me into the person I am today, and it's made me more confident and stronger, but not every kid comes out feeling that way. That's why I think it's important to go in and share my story with the kids and let them know that what they're experiencing, they're not alone. Other people are experiencing it, too."
"It's helped me heal from everything I went through growing up," she added of her work visiting schools. "I've learned a lot from them, the kids that I speak to. It's just been a really special experience."
As a father himself, Wood shared that he thinks parents need to understand that bullying is a real issue, especially online.0comments
"I think parents who aren't from the social media generation, they need to be aware of that it's real," he said. "When people get bullied on social media, it sometimes has more of an effect on people. I think we can't take our own experiences and apply that to our children, because they're growing up different. So you have to listen to them, and be aware, and let them know that you're open, they can talk to you about anything."
Photo Credit: Instagram / @jessiechrismusic