Electro-pop artist Crow is a champion for the underdogs of the world.
A first-generation American of Argentine descent, Crow’s hypnotic vocals and honest lyrics were inspired by and were a product of her childhood, one that was haunted by excessive bullying and ostracization.
Released on January 29, “Go” is Crow’s first single post-management and production deal. Originally written five years ago, the song was a response to her management attempting to make her something she wasn’t. This single is reclaimed as her anthem, a reminder that she isn’t being held down by anything or anyone.
Today Crow explores how bullying has affected her life and her music. Check out her thoughts below.
“How My Experience With Bullying Taught Me To Reclaim Myself”
It was recess in kindergarten. My classmates were playing in the sand-box and taking turns on the swings. I got in line to wait for my turn, but the other kids kept cutting in line and sticking their tongues out at me. I went to the sandbox, wanting to play make believe, but they told me to go away. The teachers blamed me for not fitting in, and forcing my peers to include me seemed to make them even more repulsed by me. This is where my experience with bullying in the American school system began. I was sad and ashamed of who those kids made me feel I was. Everyday, I would come home crying to the comfort of my mother’s arms, feeling so unlovable and unwanted by the people I had to spend most of my day with.
One day, instead of trying to play with the other boys and girls, I started walking aimlessly around this little patch of grass in the playground. I started humming a little tune to myself: “Mr. Sun, Mr. Sun…” those are the only lyrics I can remember at the time. I had an affinity with the sun stemming from my name, ‘Sol’. With no confidant around, I started to befriend those intangible to anyone else; the sun, the trees, the hills, the grass, my songs. Looking back, I can see that humming to myself and making up little tunes was a coping mechanism I instinctively leaned on to nurture the pain of rejection. I couldn’t have guessed that I had begun to discover my life’s passion.
My school career did not excel from here, and I still hadn’t acknowledged my songwriting as the answer to my suffering. I had been begging my parents to homeschool me ever since I was 7, but they insisted that it would get better if I stuck around. As immigrants from Argentina, it was important to my parents for me to get a good education and socialize in a new country, but the bullying got progressively worse as I grew older. The schools were incapable of dealing with the problem. Sometimes they would suspend the kids that beat me, only to have them come back and do it again. One teacher (with ten year, of course) even told me to go kill myself, and would bully the special-needs boy in my class. The one friend that I had made would watch me get punched and slandered by two boys without interfering or even mentioning it later. I switched schools in 7th grade, just to get bullied and sexually harassed by a new set of kids. On top of that, my one best friend I had growing up was abusive to me and would beat me up behind closed doors. Finally, I convinced my parents to homeschool me my freshman year of high school after two boys tried to drop text books on my head from the second floor of the math building.
((I want to reiterate that all of these instances were reported to the school boards who did absolutely nothing about any of the situations, and always found a way to blame it on me. I can assure you I was not provoking my bullies in any way. The educational system in America MUST find a more impactful way to create a kind atmosphere and enforce a no-bullying policy. I’m saddened to know that I’m not the only one to experience this, and that my experience wasn’t the worst of all.))
After years of heartbreak and a failure to feel like I mattered or belonged anywhere, I returned to the only thing that has always been sweet to me: music. I started to spend my home-schooled days writing songs on my piano and guitar, like I used to do after an emotionally exhausting day at school. One day, I mustered up the courage to share one of my original songs with a close friend. I was surprised by how deeply moved she was by the song. It felt like the most fulfilling exchange I had with another person in my whole life. For so long, I had struggled to communicate and be understood, but with my songs, it was like I could be seen for who I was, and also help the listener feel understood in their own right. I felt like I had uncovered a secret that was waiting just for me.
My friend convinced me to upload a video on YouTube, and a couple months later, I did. I started getting emails from managers, production companies, and labels wanting to help launch my career. I was completely overwhelmed, as I (or anyone around me for that matter), had no knowledge of the industry it seemed I was getting abducted into. With the loving support of my parents, I dove in head first. It was like the blind leading the blind, but we were all so excited to have momentum.
Almost everyone I worked with from when I started at 15 years old was a CIS male, from 10-40ish years older than I was. Growing up in America, we’re systematically taught that those are the “types of people” with power and money, so I thought that was a good thing. I mean, it could have been, but the people I was working with weren’t prepared to nurture my growth as a young artist. It got clearer that all they saw in me was a young talent that they could mold into whatever profitable market they saw fit.. As I was tossed between different studios and producers, I realized that nobody was listening to what I expressed that I wanted in my sound and vision. I wasn’t shy about my ideas, but I continued to be silenced and ignored in countless rooms of strange “industry professionals.”
A familiar feeling began to creep in...it was like I was back in school. Of course, my classmates weren’t 40-50 year old managers and producers, but the same theme was there: I wasn’t being seen, and I was getting taken advantage of. Nobody was putting in the effort to look beyond themselves and see the girl they were putting their money on. It wasn’t until my current producer, Alek Fin, was introduced to my production deal that I could see a way out. Fin was the first producer I worked with that held space for me and my ideas. He wasn’t using a recipe to bust out a hit record, he really wanted to get to know me and understand the intention behind what I wanted to create.
Once Alek Fin got more familiar with the structure of the deal and the other men he’d be working aside on my project, he quickly backed out. I remember him calling me one day and breaking the news that he wouldn’t be a part of my deal anymore. I was so heartbroken to realize that the situation I put so much of my hope in, wasn’t something to be trusted, and that the one person keeping me there was leaving. Fin brought to light the manipulation that was being conjured between my managers and producers. That was when I knew I had to choose between investing my faith in a soul-sucking deal that looked great on paper, or trusting the unknown potential of my future as an independent artist. I’m grateful to have chosen the latter.
“Go” was the first song Alek Fin and I made together, and the last song that I wrote for the production deal I was previously in, in efforts to write the “120 BPM, conventional hit” they were begging me for. Championing “Go” as my own anthem of freedom after leaving the deal is one of the things I’m most proud of accomplishing. I spent so much of my early life letting my tormenting experiences be an excuse to not feel completely happy or express myself freely. Producing “Go” as the “left of center” pop, freakdom it is today reclaims my history of oppressing myself. My hope for this song is to inspire others to allow themselves the opportunity to celebrate, reinvent, and relinquish the parts of themselves they feel most ashamed of. Don’t let the insecure projections of others invalidate the beauty and wholesomeness of everything you are and believe in.
Listen to Crow’s new single “Go” below.