Zoe Nepomnayshy was just 9 years old when she started getting picked on by her classmates. She said the other girls teased her about her clothes and thought nothing of poking her as they laughed about her sense of fashion.
A shy fourth-grader at the time, Zoe said she remembers all she wanted to do was get away from those mean girls. She cried a lot in those days, feeling worthless and ashamed, while also wondering if her peers were right about her social awkwardness.
Thankfully, she said, her mother, Ame Matuza, and her best friend helped her through those rough times by getting her to talk honestly about how much the bullying hurt.
“I guess they were jealous,” Zoe replied when asked why she thought she was picked on. “You never really know ... bullies just say stuff and keep going.”
Today, a much happier 12-year-old Zoe is using the experience to inspire others.
The seventh-grade honors student at West Middle School has written a song called “Feel the Rain” about her bullying experience. In it, she talks about how to stand strong in the wake of being bullied or being told that you are something less than you are.
“We did not initially know that she was writing it because it was her way of dealing with (the) bullying,” her mother said. “When she finally did show it to us, we thought it was really special.”
Zoe started with the lyrics and then put music to the words. After spending some time refining the song, she brought it to her piano teacher, Ed Lee of The Music Studio in Tewksbury, who liked it so much that he took it through the studio process and produced it.
The initial recording was done last December and then it took about 10 months to coordinate the musical and vocal accompaniment and lay all the various tracks. The song was released on iTunes in October under the young songwriter’s stage name, Zoe Bronwyn.