Matt Kennon’s music is prevalent to what is going on in his personal life and the community, when he was hearing about teen suicide ramping up he put his words into a song. It all started with — The Call — Please listen to it and then finish the read.
When Matt got the response to “The Call” that he did, people reaching out to him telling him the song had helped them through a really hard time, it was a call to action. It became a realization that he does move people with his words, with his music. The song now has over 250,000 downloads and over 3.9 million hits on You Tube closing in on 4 million. As I read through the pages of comments about the video I was moved, Matt has made a difference and his song will continue to do so, long into the future. “The Call” is still receiving comments such as:
- This song its home so much this past month. I live in a small town in Ohio and in the past 5 weeks we have lost 3 young kids to suicide. It is heartbreaking. I wish they would have gotten a “call”!!! May they rest easy
- “this video has so much meaning to me.. i suffer from depression problems no its not a easy way out sometimes you think its your only option.. but my kids got me through it thank you for writing this song it has meaning to so many people”
- “I wish my gf heard this song before she took her life”
- “This is the song that helped me pull through when i was on the edge and ready to end it all… i’m 15 and got a long life ahead and when i get that feeling this song comes on! its my pull through and life saver…<3´”
- “every time i think about killing my self this song comes on ugghhh”
It was the compilation of comments like “cant wait for your new album your song the call meant alot to me and helped me through a really tough time”, along with watching a documentary on the “Lost kids of Rockdale County” that made Matt come to a decision something needs to change, and he can be a person to affect that change. “Bullying is an epidemic” kids that feel alone, picked on, alienated for various reasons need “hope!” He feels it is very important that these kids understand that they are not alone, that “life might not always be easy but it is always worth going through.” Matt met an 8 year old boy on one of his school visits that seemed so lost within himself, it touched Matt’s heart, touched the core of his soul and motivated him to write “You Had To Pick On Me”. The song was co-written by Jami Grooms and Garrett Parri and has definitely affected kids already. To date Matt and Dave Oleson, his guitarist have visited 16 schools for their “Making Music That Matters” campaign and hope to visit many more.
In April, Mobile, AL district attorney, Ashley Rich, joined forces with Matt in his quest. Matt picked Mobile as the place to launch his video contest campaign because of their newly enacted “Bully Blocker,” an anonymous texting program to report bullying. Students on mobile phones can send the word Bullyblocker to 839863. They get a text back asking if they are the victim, know the victim or would just like to talk about a particular situation. This will alert prosecutors to the situation and possible threats. The information is shared with school administrators. Matt comes into play here, if they identify a particular school or situation that they feel he can assist in he will do a school visit, an intervention so to speak. He talks to the kids, performs for the kids and asks them to get involved. “Making Music That Matters Video Campaign” was inspired by a 12 year old boy who made a video to Matt’s song when it touched him. He made the video with help of classmates and teachers for their schools anti-bullying campaign. So now Matt is asking kids to work together to make videos to “You Had To Pick on Me;” a poignant song that tells two very real stories, one from a boy’s perspective and one from a girl. The videos will all be posted on line five will be selected and put up for a public vote. Matt will visit their school do a concert and meet and greet with the students. Having them put a video to his song “exposes what is going on” and brings awareness that actions and words can have a lifelong effect on people, on a community. As they work together, the bullied, the bully, the witnesses to it all, the teachers and administrators. It brings a new light to the issue, a new understanding. From it Matt hopes the kid’s see that they should all be able to “play baseball together, learn history together, and go to a school dance together” he prays it gives them a sense of unity and cuts through the division. At the least makes kids realize that “if you didn’t like me just let me be.”
I imagine if most students were being honest they could tell you that they know someone who is in some way familiar with the pain whether it’s them, a friend or someone they might be hurting or watching get hurt. When you go and watch the different student videos posted you quickly realize that this is not a made up problem. It is a very real problem plaguing our youth. They are some of the most moving, touching videos I have watched, many brought tears – for sure they brought contemplation. The result is the desire to get on board and really try to help Matt’s voice be heard –
Our job is to help spread the word, spread his video. Our job is to talk to our kids, to our grandkids. Our job is to check ourselves. Are we bullies, alienators, do we pass judgment? Even if done in the “privacy” of our homes with our kids present teaches the wrong message. Do we talk about others, real or on TV? What lessons are we teaching our kids, not only in words but with our actions? Our job is to stand up and help change the norm, the “kids will be kids” and “kids are mean.” He would like to see the anti-bullying campaign become unstoppable.
Stay tuned the program is growing. I for one am staying tuned and will update you because in October they kick off the next phase of the campaign. University of Alabama’s head football coach Nick Saban and his wife, Terry, with their foundation “Nicks Kids Funds” are joining forces for the next phase.
Above all Matt wants kids to realize that there is hope for them. That together they can team up and make a difference. He said “it is one of the most gratifying things he can do, get up in front of the kids and be a role model.” He considers himself a “walking contradiction” with his tattoos, piercings, bad boy look ~ he is a strong Christian man. Matt is a husband, a father of 4 who wants to make a difference in his community, in your community, in the world. He feels God is using them to give help, spread hope and he knows if they are successful everybody wins.
Matt say’s it best with “Don’t ever make a permanent solution to a temporary problem, I promise you it gets better.”
“10 seconds stops a bully”
Just a side note ~ “The Call” is one of my favorite songs, one day playing on line I went and visited Matt’s website watched the video “Stop The Bull”, it got my attention. Maybe it was because my son was a student in Columbine HS, maybe it was because one of my daughter’s friend’s brother, the “star” basketball player, committed suicide as a junior, or maybe it was the 2 “adult” people I knew that took their own life. Perhaps the reality is that it was all the above, that made me, want to talk to Matt, to share his campaign. I am glad I did, because even more so now I will do what I can to help spread the word, to make a difference if I can. While taking to Matt, his passion was so clear, so powerful, I only hope my words came close to sharing that passion. That they reach you enough to encourage you to share his video!
Matt Kennon’s web site – http://mattkennon.com/
Matt Kennon Twitter – https://twitter.com/MattKennon
“You Had To Pick On Me” http://www.reverbnation.com/play_now/song_11784398
Never Let Fear Out Way your Faith!!!!
by Nickie Techmanski