In October, Sheffield Girls’ was delighted to welcome the lovely Sophie Dyson, best known as singer-songwriter Sody, who visited to perform some of her latest songs including soon-to-be hit single ‘Maybe It Was Me’ as part of the lead up to Anti-Bullying Week. Last year, she performed live at Glastonbury after stepping into the spotlight with songs ‘Sorry’ and ‘Let Go’.

Sody stopped off at Sheffield during her tour supporting fellow musician Tom Walker to talk to the Y8 girls about her own experiences being bullied, as well as how she progressed from dealing with depression to starting her breakout career in the music industry. The talk came just ahead of National Anti-Bullying week which takes place 12-16 November.

The inspiration for her songs comes mostly from her past, involving handling insecurities, isolation and most importantly severe acne, a condition that left her an ‘easy-target’ for school and online bullies. However, her passion for music and determination meant that she acquired an agent, allowing her to pursue her childhood dream of becoming a pop-star.

Her drive and personal connection to combat bullying in schools was clear during her Q&A, saying, “This is something I’m really really passionate about - it’s so important to be aware of bullying.” She described in heartbreaking detail how being good at sports, being friends with boys and having skin problems shaped her younger teen years. “No one could relate to me. The hardest thing was not having any friends, and the way I dealt with that was through music.”

She performed three songs for the girls: ‘Let You Know’, aimed at her bullies to say “you can’t tell me I can’t express myself”, followed by ‘The Bully’, about her perspective that she thinks her bully couldn’t handle the same treatment, and ‘Maybe It Was Me’, her new single themed around her first relationship. Enthusiastic students then had the chance to ask her anything, including budding music artists questioning ‘how she got so good’ and discussing how incredible her music inspiration Ed Sheeran is.

Speaking from how she took action against her own bullies, Sody offered girls, who may be struggling with the same problems as her, valuable advice, ending her performance by advising students, “Go talk to someone – friends, your head of year, the school nurse, anyone. There’s no point bottling it up. I wanted my visit to be empowering and inspiring for you, and for you to know that it’s OK to be who you are.”