Singer/songwriter visits Bentley School

A rising star in the country music arena talked to the students at Bentley School about bullying

  • Mar. 8, 2017 5:00 p.m.


A rising star in the country music arena talked to the students at Bentley School last Tuesday about rising above bullying and achieving one’s dreams.

Ryan Laird, originally from a small town in Ontario, told the students nobody should have to worry about going to school due to the fear of being bullied.

Bentley Grade 10 student, Zoe Lorenz-Boser and Grade 9 student Kassidy Smith introduced Laird and gave a short bio about the two-time Canadian Country Music Award nominated recording artist.

Laird made his first trip to Nashville when he was only 18. He was determined to make a name for himself in country music, but found the competition very tough. After writing 300 songs and still not gaining fame or recognition he put up a billboard on Nashville’s famed music row, asking Taylor Swift to produce his album.

The billboard displayed Laird in a classroom holding a note reading “Hey Taylor – I LOVE your music. Will you produce my album?” When asked about Laird and his billboard on E! News Weekend, Swift said, “I definitely want to meet him … I listened to one of his songs and absolutely fell in love with it, and I think he’s got great melodies and he’s a great writer. I think he could really be great and be huge, so it’ll be really cool to maybe work with him.”

This meeting set Laird off on the road to success and before long he had a Nashville publishing deal and songwriting sessions with Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys, Dierks Bentley, George Canyon and Jerrod Niemann.

Since that first meeting with Swift, he has toured with Alan Jackson, Terri Clark and Emerson Drive and many more.

Laird recalls middle school as a difficult time and told the students at the Bentley school that he was teased and bullied every day.

This experience inspired him to talk to other students and share his story through the BiggerThanThat School Program.

Founded a few years ago, the BiggerThanThat!™ School Program is a powerful & entertaining musical program designed to prevent bullying, build self-confidence and empower children to reach for their dreams by demonstrating a real life success story. The program’s founding artist, Ryan Laird, shares his life story while offering an entertaining and engaging music concert, consistently delivering a message of encouragement and empowerment.

The Bentley students seemed to enjoy the presentation by Laird. Several elementary and high school students went to the front to share with the audience what their future goals were and Laird encouraged them all do their best.

“Don’t give in to bullying. Communicate to someone you can trust if you are being bullied and keep taking baby steps to make your goals and dreams come true.”