Talk about turning lemons into lemonade.
After being bullied at school two years ago, then 13-year-old twins Carly and Martina launched a music career with the goal of empowering and inspiring young women like them.
“I came home one day after being bullied and decided I could continue to feel this way and be upset, or I could do something to make myself feel better,” said Carly. “We loved writing songs and decided to write ‘Make Me Happy’ because you’re ultimately the gatekeeper of what makes you happy.”
The song, which landed the Chicagoland singer-songwriters a record deal, was also the basis of break-out sessions about anti-bullying and self-esteem Carly and Martina, who are now 15, hosted at a middle school in late 2015.
In addition to music, the sisters’ Girl Scout troop served as a safe space for them to be themselves.
“It was a place where we knew we didn’t have to worry,” said Martina. “We knew our friends would be there and we wouldn’t be judged. Girl Scouts was a nice mental break.”
Their mom, Rose Marie Spiro, agreed.
“Girl Scouts provides a place where girls don’t have to worry about all the other stuff that’s going on in the world,” she said. “For their Silver Award project, they created exercise videos for senior citizens. It’s all about giving back to the community and a place where they could learn to be together, where they can be supportive and do things not only for themselves, but for others as well.”
Carly and Martina, who have been taking piano lessons since they were 4, are also passionate about using social media platforms to engage with their fans and followers in a positive way.
“We’re very active on social media because we want to show that we’re real people, not just music artists,” said Carly. “We reply to every single comment on every single photo. For example, we’re talking to this one girl on Snapchat who gets bullied because she doesn’t wear makeup. We want to create a space to uplift others.”
Earlier this year, Carly and Martina spoke at the TEDxIIT2017 event in Chicago about how their debut single, “Make Me Happy,” inspired them to launch a music career built on positivity.
As for aspiring artists, Carly and Martina’s advice is to start now doing what you love.
“Find whatever industry makes you happy and pursue that nonstop,” they said. “And take lessons, don’t ever stop learning. On days when you ask yourself ‘why am I doing this?’ just keep at it. Don’t quit.”
And most importantly, believe in yourself.
“You have to love yourself enough not to let others control your happiness,” they said. “Living your dream is really important.”