Last week was a "Back To School" week for Big Machine recording artist Danielle Bradbery. The teenage songstress, whose "Heart Of Dixie" single is currently sitting at No. 14 on the Country Radio Airplay chart, visited five high schools across the nation to help bring the message of awareness of music education to school leaders, parents, and students. Teaming up with the Give a Note Foundation and Disney Performing Arts, Bradbery boarded a bus at Disneyland in Anaheim on March 2. The former winner of "The Voice" hit schools in New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and Tennessee before wrapping up this past Friday in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Bradbery, 17, hopes the tour's message will inspire America’s students. "This is a great way to reach kids my age and show them that the skills they learn in music can help them to be successful in life. Through music, I’ve learned the value of persistence and working hard to make my dreams come true, and I look forward to sharing that with students and others during the tour," said Bradbery.
"Studying and making music, whether it’s playing an instrument or singing or composing, is one of the most valuable ways kids can spend their time," said Jane Balek of NAfME (National Association for Music Education) and Give a Note Foundation, "Music education reinforces 21st century skills like creativity, collaboration, communication and critical thinking – all qualities kids need to be successful in their schoolwork. In addition, the inherent benefits of learning music, including emotional awareness, reflective learning, and development of 'grit,' are things that help students grow into successful and productive citizens."
At each stop, Bradbery took part in an interview on stage, and also performed at each of the schools. Billboard caught up with the rising star at Antioch High School near Nashville on March 6. She said that being involved with the program is something she feels strongly about – and she gets as much out of it as the students. "I feel like this whole program is awesome," she said. "As much as It gives back to the students, it makes me feel good."
Earlier in the week, Bradbery paid a visit to a school she knows very well – Cypress Ranch High School in Houston – where she attended before her career took off. When asked what it felt like being on the stage inside the auditorium rather than the seats, she said it was a very different feeling.
"I always sat in the auditorium and watched things happen on stage, and would think to myself that I didn’t know how I could ever do that," she said, smiling. "Now, that I’m up there and giving advice to students now on a whole other level, it’s surprising to me. I never thought I would get to this point."
What has been the highlight of her career rise thus far? She said she’s enjoyed each step, but getting to establish relationships with some of her idols has been a dream come true. "Meeting the artists that I have been a big fan of forever. It’s cool to be face to face with them and get advice from them."
Next week, Bradbery will head out on the road as an opening act on Hunter Hayes’ first arena tour – with the first date coming March 20 in Pikeville, KY. She’s counting down the days. "It is exciting. I can’t wait to see how that’s going to play out, and see how the crowd reacts. We start rehearsals really soon, and it will be a week full that we put a lot into, and we’ll be really prepared."
She’s also enjoying watching the continued success of "Heart Of Dixie," saying that "It’s doing great, which is really exciting. I don’t think it will ever be something I get used to. It’s going to take a while for it all to sink in."
For more information about the program, go to www.GiveANote.Nafme.org