It has been something of a whirlwind year for teenage country sensation Lizzie Sider. The Florida native has gained attention with her debut single "Butterfly," and is busy promoting her follow-up, "I Love You That Much." She's pleased about her career progress thus far.
"It's amazing to me how much can happen in a year," she tells Billboard. "I'm so excited about this year and where things are going."
Sider collaborated on "Butterfly" with hitmaker Jamie O'Neal, and she said the song is one that has a deep personal meaning to her. "I wrote the song based on a personal experience I had. When I was in elementary school, I was teased by my peers. There was so much excluding that was going on that it made me feel terrible. When I was on the playground singing, they would come up and ask me to sing for them. But, when I would start, they'd run away and start laughing. It really made me feel down, and I would come home crying almost every day. I begged my parents to home school me to get me out of that situation. Then, one day, before I left for school, my dad told me that nobody has the power to ruin my day. I didn't understand that at first, but after thinking about it for a long time. I understood. Nobody can take away my self-confidence or make me feel bad. I found the strength in myself to overcome the teasing, and I felt like a ‘Butterfly.' That's where that comes from."
She said she has heard from many how the lyrics spoke to them in their own situation. "I want the song to inspire others who have been hurt, bullied, or teased. Hopefully, it can help them. It amazes me what the song has already done. Someone got a tattoo because of the song. I get Facebook messages where people will call me their inspiration. They will write ‘Thank you for giving me strength.' It just means the world to me that I can do that."
The record has helped her gain appearances on the Hallmark Channel's Home & Family, as well as Crook & Chase. She also has become an advocate of GWEN (Global Women's Empowerment Network), sharing her story and music to promote women empowerment of all ages.
Sider was also humbled by a recent visit to St. Jude's Children's Hospital in Memphis. Her first time there to visit the patients and staff, she said it was an unforgettable experience. "I got a chance to take a tour of St. Jude's, and it was a life changing experience. You walk through the halls of that facility, and you see happy paintings on the walls and colorful tiles, kids who are playing and having fun. You also see patents walking around with their kids, nurses and doctors playing with them. It amazed me – the strength of those kids, and the amazing place that St. Jude's is. Everything is so happy, and that makes the kids feel so optimistic. What they do there is such a wonderful thing, and I was so happy to be able to go see that."
Due to the success she has achieved thus far in her young career, Sider was named to the Country Music Association's "Who's New To Watch In 2013" list. She said that was a huge honor. "When I saw that, and I looked at the other artists, I was so excited. It was so hard to believe."
As for the immediate future, Sider plans on continuing to promote her single, and working on an album. "I just want to keep working on my craft, and promoting myself through social media. It's nice as an artist to stay connected with your fans, and to know what's going on – not just with me, but also with them, and other artists. I think it's an incredible thing!"