Middle School students assembled in the Big Room this Wednesday were treated to more than just songs when musician Casey McQuillen stopped by BB&N on her “You Matter’ tour. While she did perform several tunes, the focus of McQuillen’s visit held much higher aspirations than simply entertaining people with her guitar and voice.
A native of Andover, Massachusetts, McQuillen began writing songs in the seventh grade before an impressive showing on season 13 of the television show American Idol thrust her into the spotlight. Rather than resting on a taste of success, McQuillen’s career has branched out into sharing a positive message and trying to make a difference in school-age kids’ lives.
Her show, both poignant and funny, plays more like a conversation punctuated by songs than a proper concert. Through her musings and music, the singer empathized with students about the teen constructs of being “cool,” “fitting it,” and being true to oneself despite the myriad pressures facing kids in school.
“It’s so much easier to believe bad things about yourself than good things,” she noted at one point, while discussing anxieties she herself experienced in middle school and high school. “I finally realized that I had spent too much of my life not doing things out of a fear of failure.” It was a theme that held throughout her anecdotes and songs, and one that proved meaningful for everyone in attendance.
McQuillen was honest and relatable in her takes on the teen psyche. She cautioned students about the drawbacks of social media, while not eschewing its positives. She noted how a three- second put down from a bully says more about the bully than it does about the person being insulted, but also noted that it’s one thing to tell yourself that, and another to actually believe it.
By the end of the visit, McQuillen had the entire Big Room standing and singing along to a cover of Alicia Keys’ “Girl on Fire.” It was a fitting anthem and ending to an empowering show.
For more information about McQuillen, click here.