[INTERVIEW] Drew Seeley Releases Song Inspired By 13-Year-Old Brooke Shockley

Photo: (Artistsdigitallab/YouTube)

He’s made a career out of playing the Prince, romancing Selena (the Cinderella version) and Ariel (the Broadway version), but guess who’s getting the royal treatment from triple-threat singer/songwriter/actor Drew Seeley today?

Meet Princess Brooke Shockley, the inspiration behind “Fly,” the new single released by Drew on iTunes today. She’s a 13-year-old cancer patient and mega fan of the talented heartthrob — and through the amazing work of Music is Medicine, a youth-run nonprofit dedicating to uplifting pediatric patients through music — this original song was written and recorded especially for her. Plus, 100% of proceeds from “Fly” will be donated for pediatric oncology research at Johns Hopkins Medical Center (the hospital where Brooke receives treatment). Talk about the sweetest sound!

This melodic magic happened because 19-year-old Leora Friedman started Music is Medicine when she was just 15 – and she’s been changing the lives of kids through the healing power of song ever since:

“Music is Medicine showed me the incredible impact music can have on a hospitalized child. Through Donate a Song I wanted to empower celebrity artists to use their talents to change the lives of seriously ill children,” explains Leora.

Now g’head and grab your hankies, y’all – because this video featuring a Skype sesh between Brooke and Drew is just too adorbs:

“’Fly’ was one of the easiest songs I’ve written. I was so inspired by Brooke’s attitude and courage in the face of her disease, that I sat down with my guitar and ideas immediately started coming,” Drew says. He penned the song after his video chat with Brooke.

And if you weren’t already emotional after all that, the video for “Fly” will most def pluck your heartstrings. The video documents the day Drew traveled to Johns Hopkins Children’s Center to play the song live for Brooke and her fellow patients.

Waterworks over here, people! Betcha wanna know more about this beautiful collab, riiiight? Luckily, we caught up with both Drew and Leora, so check out their moving interviews below. Leora even reveals her wishlist for future Donate A Song artists, so get out there and start tweeting these celebs to make it happen…a spoonful of music — and action — helps the medicine go down!

Drew Seeley Interview

How did you hear about Music is Medicine and why did you decide to get involved with their “Donate a Song” project?

Leora Friedman, who founded Music is Medicine, reached out to my manager, Ellen, about the project. I was on board the moment I learned about the goal of the organization.

What was the process of writing “Fly” for Brooke like? How did your Skype sessions influence the song? Was it more difficult or did it come easier compared to other songs you’ve written?

“Fly” was one of the easiest songs I’ve written. I was so inspired by Brooke’s attitude and courage in the face of her disease, that I sat down with my guitar and ideas immediately started coming. When I was on Skype with Brooke, she explained to me that she didn’t want this song to only be for her, but for anyone else going through what she was. So what came out was something personal to her, but also something hopefully many other people will relate to.

The “Fly” video documents the day you went to Johns Hopkins Children’s Center to perform the song for Brooke. How did it feel to finally meet her in person and play the song you wrote especially for her?

It was the highlight of 2011 for me. Skyping is one thing, but actually getting to spend face time with Brooke, I walked away a changed person. Huge impact on me.

You’ve done some pretty cool stuff in your career – starring in “Another Cinderella Story” with Selena Gomez, Broadway’s “The Little Mermaid,” and ABC Family’s “Freshman Father” plus writing songs for “High School Musical” — how does this Music is Medicine experience stack up?

Those projects above were directly responsible for my meeting Brooke, and I’m very grateful for all of them. My experience with “Fly,” from writing the song through traveling to Baltimore to meet Brooke and shoot the video, was life-altering. Its one of the most meaningful things I’ve been involved with, and I’m so grateful to have been invited to participate.

Leora Friedman Interview

What inspired you to start Music is Medicine?

Music has always been my passion. I started playing guitar when I was 10, and I’ve been singing since before I can remember.  My sister is also a musician, so when I was 15 and she was 19, we started Music is Medicine to combine our love of music with our desire to make a difference.

How did you come up with the idea for the Donate a Song project? What other artists besides Drew Seeley would you love to work with in the future?

Music is Medicine showed me the incredible impact music can have on a hospitalized child.  Through Donate a Song, [In which an artist records a song written for a pediatric patient] I wanted to empower celebrity artists to use their talents to change the lives of seriously-ill children. I would love to work with other artists like Drew who are passionate about songwriting and who want to use their music to give back. Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, and Demi Lovato definitely fit into that category and it would be wonderful to work with them.

You’re a student CEO! How do you balance being a 19-year-old sophomore at Princeton and running a nonprofit?

College is an amazing time to explore what you’re passionate about and figure out who you are. I love school but I am also so grateful that I have Music is Medicine. Life is all about balance. Balancing school, friends, family, your passions, and everything in between. By following my heart, life isn’t stressful but exciting.

What was it like starting Music is Medicine at the age of 15? What’s your advice to young people who want to make a difference but think they aren’t old enough?

When I started Music is Medicine with my sister, it was a local community service project, and I didn’t think of it as an organization that could have national impact until later. I would suggest that kids begin by creating a project in their community. Try small things, and if they work, grow them! But at the same time — don’t doubt yourself. If you don’t think big and try to do crazy things, no one else will! At any age, if you’re passionate and determined, you’ll find it’s amazing what you can accomplish.

How can other people, musical or not, get involved with Music is Medicine?

There are a ton of ways people can get involved in Music is Medicine. You can sign up on our website to volunteer for us or start a club.  We’ll pair you with a local hospital so you can play music to uplift the children there! Whether you’re a musician or not, you can help organize a music program or fundraiser to benefit a local hospital. You can also support the cause by buying our Donate a Song charity songs like “Fly” and telling your friends and social networks about our programs.

What’s your vision for Music is Medicine? How do you see it growing?

I want Music is Medicine to change the way people think about music. Music is not just something we listen to at a concert or a party.  It is a powerful tool that can change lives.  I hope to create more Music is Medicine chapters in communities throughout the world, to involve more celebrity artists in the Donate a Song project, and in doing so to grow Music is Medicine into a movement of musicians and music-lovers passionate about using music to make a difference.

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Download 'Fly' on iTunes

Download 'Fly' on iTunes

Buy "Fly" on iTunes. 100% off the song's proceeds are being donated for pediatric oncology research at Johns Hopkins Medical Center.

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Music is Medicine

Music is Medicine

Learns ways on getting involved with Leora Friedman's non-profit Music is Medicine which uses music to make a difference.