Sixteen-year-old Sydney Lett dreams big. Midwest country singer Jason Brown helped her with that when she was just 12 years old.
“I’ve always loved music, and I actually met Jason Brown at a concert and asked if he had any advice for me,” the aspiring country singer and Des Moines native said. “Basically (he told me) just follow your dreams and never give up. Actually, he wrote ‘dream’ on my jeans that night and ever since then ‘dream’ has been my signature word.”
She keeps that pair of jeans in her closet and pulls them out every now and then when she’s having an “off day” to remind her how good her life is.
But it hasn’t always been easy traveling the road to stardom, something Lett chronicles in her debut music video “Rain,” which premiered at Newton’s Capitol II Theater between movie showings on Saturday.
The song is an emotionally charged tribute of sorts to three of Lett’s friends who tragically committed suicide, and is a first-hand account of the Des Moines native’s own experiences with bullying in the Norwalk Community School District.
“Everybody just started targeting me and bullying me,” she said, noting she was once physically attacked in a park and even had death threats on her Youtube videos.
Lett said it was mainly one group of kids at the school targeting anyone who was different or had big dreams.
“You don’t ever want a society where everybody’s the same. You lose all flavor, all uniqueness,” said Stacie Lett, Sydney’s mom.
To overcome the situation in a healthy way, Lett said, “It took a lot. I reached out to all my close friends and put all my feelings into ‘Rain.’ I didn’t want anybody to have to feel like I felt.”
Lett’s music video was shot in several Iowa locations, including Lincoln High School in Des Moines as well as the Smokey Row coffee shop, a city park and a cemetery in Oskaloosa. She hopes it will raise awareness that bullying is a serious issue, and serve as a reminder to those struggling that they’re cared for and suicide should not be seen as the easy way out.
“You’re impacting somebody’s life,” she said of bullying. “You don’t know if the last thing you say to them is going to be the (words) to make them end their own life.”
Lett hopes that the fact that she’s “not trying to be anybody else” sets her apart from other young musicians in the entertainment business, especially now that she plans to move to Nashville after the start of the new year to further her career as a singer/songwriter.
Already, she’s caught the attention of country music greats like Blake Shelton and Diamond Rio, both of whom she’s performed with on stage.
“It’s still kind of mind-blowing to me,” she said. “It just kind of hit me that every single one of my dreams is falling into place. Every time I look back on it it makes me smile.”
For more information on Sydney Lett and her music, visit her website at www.sydneylett.com.
Amy Martens can be contacted at (641) 792-3121 ext. 426 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.