Local singer to tackle cyberbullying in new video

ESMA GigCity EdmontonAn Edmonton pop singer has found the perfect location to shoot a music video with an anti-bullying theme – at the same high school where she was bullied.

Going by the name of ESMA, the 24-year-old dance music artist has the blessing of the Edmonton Public School Board and the school principal to shoot at the J. Percy Page High School on July 23, not to single out one school because bullying happens in all of them. The video is for her song “Fall Back.” Shortly after it was written, she says, the Amanda Todd tragedy happened – the 15-year-old girl who committed suicide in B.C. after being bullied. She had documented her ordeal in a YouTube video. That’s when ESMA decided to zero in on one issue for the story behind the song.

“I know bullying has been occurring all the time, but recently all the things that were happening with cyberbullying made me really want to focus on that,” she says. “My song is about building your confidence and knowing who you are, not letting people bring you down.”

ESMA, who is a recent recipient of a $10,000 grant from the Hot 107 radio station, suffered from online bullying in high school. The singer says she was targeted because “I love fashion and I love make-up and I love dressing up. I knew who I was. But people were thinking I wanted attention and was a snob.”

She recalls, “I did go through texting and actual bullying. That’s why I wanted to go back to my high school. Luckily I put any emotional release into music. If I didn’t have that talent or that passion, I don’t know what would’ve happened. That’s what I keep seeing, and so that’s really important to my message. This really needs to be addressed with so many people right now, with youths, and bullying happens when you’re an adult, too.”

The message will be conveyed “in a fun way,” she says. Members of 3rd Street Beat Entertainment, a local hip hip dance studio that ESMA has worked with, will form most of the cast for the video – “using dance battles as the way to overcome bullying.”

This will be ESMA’s second music video. Her first, Force of Nature, was released last year: