YouTube extraordinaire Mike Tompkins is taking the music world by storm. He's just released a new mash-up video for "Feel Again & Dog Days", plus, he's joined the Stand UP! Network with Family Channel in support of bullying prevention. With the 10th annual Bullying Awareness Week (November 12-18) just around the corner, now is a great time to do the same. Yesterday, Family Channel even hosted a Stand UP! rally to get students charged and ready. The Magazine had the chance to speak with the performers and guest speakers before the big day! First up: the talented Mike Tompkins!
How did you get involved in the Stand UP! to Bullying campaign?
I wrote a song called "Stand Up" about six months ago alongside the BULLY documentary that was coming out. Around that time, Family Channel reached out to me and told me about their campaign and I thought it was so cool!
Were you ever affected by bullying?
I was really affected by bullying when I was in public school. I grew up in a really small hockey town. If you weren’t into hockey, you were weird. I was into musical theatre and got made fun of for that. It was a really dark time for me. I remember what that was like and I know that there are a lot of other kids that are going through very similar things. I wanted to write a song to empower people to stand up.
When you were being bullied, who did you turn to for support?
I have a great family. That was huge for me. I don’t know what it would have been like if I didn’t have them. It would’ve made it a lot harder. That being said, that part of my life really shaped me to be the person who I am and believe it or not – change me for the better. I struggle with confidence as a singer and as an artist in general. It’s still something that I deal with. I am now getting more confident and I am starting to change in a good way. I know where I’ve come from. Confidence is such an interesting thing because there is such a find line between confidence and overconfidence. I am learning more about that as I go.
What advice would you give to someone who is being bullied?
It gets better. It really does. It was a pivotal time with figuring everything out. You just want to be accepted. It’s a tough time, but it gets better.
When you’re having a bad day, what cheers you up?
My wife, my dog, my friends and also, the fact that I get to make music for a living and for people around the world. There are people who would give anything to have that opportunity. I never take that for granted.
Describe the moment when you decided that you wanted to have a career in music.
I took one year to try to make it. It was after college. I worked for a year in a music store and decided to take one year to do it for a living. Me, as a singer, wasn’t even a thought at that point. It wasn’t anywhere on the brainwave. But during that year, I started gaining confidence as a singer and as an artist. That was three years ago. About two years ago my first video went viral on YouTube and it developed from there.
What do you think about the kids expressing themselves on YouTube about being bullied?
There are a lot of good things about it and also a lot of scary things about it. Cyber bullying is a huge thing now. It’s hard to read a negative comment sometimes. If you're going to put yourself out there, you have to realize that sometimes kids are going to say negative things. You either have to make a conscious decision not to read comments or stand up for yourself and realize that this is a person who’s trying to get their anger out.
Do you have any new music videos in the works?
I just released a mash-up of Feel Again (by OneRepublic) and Dog Days (By Florence + the Machine). It’s really exciting. I am also working on a lot of original music. I started out as a songwriter and producer, so now people are able to see the “me” that is the real me.
Thank you, Mike Tompkins!
To learn more about how you can join Family Channel's Stand UP! to Bullying Network!, click here! Be sure to check out Mike Tompkins' new video for "Feel Again & Dog Days" below!
Plus, the original anti-bullying song "Stand Up" by Mike Tompkins: