Some people say laughter is the best medicine, but if you asked YouTube sensation Savannah Outen, she’d probably give you a different answer. Outen followed friend Drew Seeley’s lead and teamed up with the youth-run non-profit Music is Medicine to record “Brave and True,” which is available for download today.
Outen participated in the non-profit’s “Donate a Song” program which invites singers from around the country to record an original song written for a pediatric patient as a source of inspiration. Outen teamed up with 16-year-old Bo Oliver, and after months of talking on the phone, the singer wrote and recorded “Brave and True” for the teen.
We think the song is amazing, but we really wanted to know what Bo thought about the song he inspired. The teen told us he loves the song, calling it “beautiful” and “exactly what I wanted it to be…positive and uplifting.” He says working with Music is Medicine is “one of the best things that I’ve gotten to do through my time at Johns Hopkins.” Oliver was thrilled to have the chance to meet with Outen when she visited Johns Hopkins. He says that music is his life and that “the chance to be a part of something like this with an awesome musician is just mind-blowing.” He told us he was surprised at the power in Savannah’s voice, calling it “amazing.”
Check out our interview with Savannah below to find out what she thought about working with Music is Medicine and how Bo inspired “Brave and True.”
ACT: How did you get involved with Music is Medicine's "Donate a Song" project?
SAVANNAH: I think for me…they reached out to me and told me a little bit about what they do and their story and I saw what Drew Seeley had done. I’ve been a big fan of his for a while and he’s a really good friend of mine, so I had already been familiar with what he had done so I just really wanted to be a part of it. It just seemed like such a cool organization; there’s nothing else like it out there right now. I just thought it was just an awesome concept: to be able to write a song for somebody and to be able to share that song with everyone and raise money for Johns Hopkins. That’s kind of the main reason why I wanted to be a part of it. It’s such an awesome concept; I was really touched they reached out.
ACT: How did Bo inspire "Brave and True"?
SAVANNAH: Bo inspired “Brave and True”. I talked to him on the phone; I was just asking him a ton of questions just kind of picking his brain, trying to figure out who his favorite musicians were, what he wanted the song to be about. At first he was a little shy; he didn’t really say what he wanted it to be about, but then he kind of opened up and was like “I just want this song to be uplifting and positive; I don’t want it to be a really down song and upsetting.” He said he wanted it to be about perseverance. So I took that and I talked to my songwriting partner and we kind of just came up with this concept and the music for it and everything. I hope that Bo really likes it. When I went to Boston I played it for him, and I think him and his family really liked it, so that was just what I wanted.
ACT: What was it like visiting Bo and getting perform your song for him?
SAVANNAH: It was amazing! It was such a cool experience. I have to say that was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. Just everybody at the hospital and all of the people involved with “Music is Medicine” - everybody was just so sweet and so genuine. I was really looking forward to meeting with Bo because I had talked to him through email and stuff for quite a few months by then. I talked to him, we chilled out for a bit, and he played my guitar. And we jammed out for a long time, which was so cool. He kept telling me that he wanted to steal my guitar. It was so cute; and his family was just the sweetest people ever. And also, after I hung out with Bo for a bit, Bo and I went around to other patients’ rooms that couldn’t leave the bed. We went to see them and play music and Bo played guitar and I sang, and it was a really cool thing. I had the best time ever.
ACT: Do you have a favorite song that always make you feel better no matter what you're going through?
SAVANNAH: Oh that’s a good question! I think for me I love the song “Float On.” “Brave and True” is more powerful; "Float On" is super happy and carefree, and I love that song. I love “Taking Chances” by Celine Dion. Any Celine Dion song will uplift me no matter what I’m going through.
ACT: You've had a pretty big year so far! What are you looking forward to for the rest of 2013?
SAVANNAH: This year has been really awesome so far. I’m super lucky with everything that’s happened. I’d say what I’m looking forward to…there’s a lot of stuff happening behind the scenes. I know I always tell my fans this, but it’s just I don’t want to announce it if it’s not happening. I’m just really looking forward to the future, and I have a few shows coming up - one in San Diego and one in New York. Those are going to be fun. And writing more and releasing new music videos and new covers and YouTube videos, so I think it’ll be a fun year for me.
You can download “Brave and True” on iTunes now. And get this: 100% of the proceeds will directly benefit pediatric oncology research at the Johns Hopkins Medical Center!
If you have a friend who has cancer and you want to support him or her, take Bo’s advice and “just be there for them…your company is more than enough and means a lot to your friend.” Take action below for more ways to get involved. Make sure you send us a tweet or leave us a comment below and let us know what you think of “Brave and True”!
Download “Brave and True”
100% off the song's proceeds are being donated for pediatric oncology research at Johns Hopkins Medical Center.
Music Is Medicine
Learns ways on getting involved with Leora Friedman's non-profit Music is Medicine which uses music to make a difference.