I love chatting with young artists who are already blazing the music scene and have such inspiring stories. I got the opportunity to chat with Mercer Henderson who is not only an up-and-coming singer/songwriter but she is also a techie and also makes a positive impact in her community. This young philanthropist and artist make me question what I’m doing with my life, haha! She is truly wise beyond her years. But in all seriousness, it was great getting to chat with her about her new music, the impact that she’s making in the tech space and her own community, and what her plans are for the new year.
TYF: So tell us, what got you into music?
Mercer Henderson: When I was 7 years old, I asked my mom to send me to a musical theater program. I was already learning to play a few instruments but really wanted to be on stage. I was lucky enough to get the lead role which helped boost my confidence in performing.
TYF: For our readers who haven’t heard your music yet, can you describe your sound?
Henderson: I write at the piano so most of my music is less about dancing and more about listening and applying your own experience to the lyrics.
TYF: What was it like writing your new song, “Could’ve Picked Me”?
Henderson: It was really fun. I actually wrote it with the music video in mind. When I was working with my producers, I kept reminding them that of the feeling of not getting picked … like for a team, etc. Then I would share my vision for the video. I think keeping the visual representation in mind helped the composition of the song.
TYF: What was your thought process like when you were putting together the music video “Could’ve Picked Me”?
Henderson: This is my first time creating a professional music video, friends have filmed me in the past which was awesome but it is very different producing something on a larger scale. The director, Monsee Woods was amazing- it took my rough concept to a whole new level.
TYF: Your co-star in the music video is Dance Moms star, Kendall Vertes – what was it like working with her?
Henderson: Kendall in amazing, not only is she one of my closest friends, but she is a pro. Kendall knows how to deliver emotion in subtle ways, which helped us all give better performances.
TYF: How did Kendall Vertes become a part of the music video?
Henderson: Kendall has been super supportive of everything I do when I asked her to be in the video she did not hesitate to say yes. We love working together and would like to do more projects together.
TYF: Let’s switch gears and talk a bit about tech. I read that you’re the founder of 4Girls Tech – what inspired you to start 4Girls Tech?
Henderson: I was 13 when I founded 4Girls Tech, at the time I really wanted to learn what was required to start a company. I had an idea and wanted to learn how to get the idea to market.
TYF: Can you tell us a little bit about 4Girls Tech?
Henderson: It started as an app development company and expanded into an event company which focuses on sharing information with teens on social media and entrepreneurialism. My goal is one conference a year, ideally super low cost, so anyone can attend.
TYF: All the proceeds from your emoji packs are donated to the Geena Davis Institute, SFSPCA, and The Sasha Project LA. What made you pick these particular organizations?
Henderson: My philanthropic passions are girls and animals. I have volunteered over at SFSPCA and other pet adoption organizations my entire life so that was a natural partnership. Geena Davis is focused on positive images for girls in media, namely TV and Film, which is very powerful. Finally, TheSashaProject LA is personal. I met Sasha and feel in love with her — she is committed to raising funds for art therapy programs for Children’s Hospital LA.
TYF: Aside from music, would you say that technology is another area you’re passionate about?
Henderson: I wanted to talk a little bit about how you’re against bullying. I heard that you are launching a campaign that encourages kids who feel left out to raise awareness about bullying by using the hashtag #CouldveBeenMe. When will you be launching a campaign? My goal is to leverage my music to start conversations even it is only two people in a room saying “hey this happened to me” or “I feel that way too.” I hope to spend more time on this in the coming months. I am balancing many things right now including being a full-time freshman in high school.
TYF: What inspired you to start the #CouldveBeenMe campaign?
Henderson: We have all been there, not getting picked or not part of the “cool” kids, etc. I wanted to communicate that it. It happens to everyone, including me and Kendall. Most importantly, I wanted to say stay true to you and it will all work out.
TYF: Speaking of bullying, I feel that social media plays such a large role in the increase of cyberbullying. Can you give any advice and words of wisdom to our readers who may have experienced cyberbullying?
Henderson: Talk to someone, parents, teacher, friends or other people in your community. Do your best not to internalize meanness, keep your head up and talk to someone.
TYF: How can our readers make a positive change?
Henderson: One thing you can do is to please think before you comment or post. Use your words and voice in thoughtful ways because the impression is lasting. If you have strong feelings about something, sleep on it before you react.
TYF: Lastly, the new year is in full swing. Any new year resolutions you would like to share?
Henderson: Well I am trying to finish my next few songs, I want to spend more time with my close friends (I have been super busy) and make sure that everyone knows I am super grateful for all their support.