Autism advocate Cory Singer gets real about his new single targeted at bullies.

By: Apr. 14, 2023
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Last summer, singer/songwriter and autism advocate Cory Singer was heartbroken by a failed romantic prospect. Now, he's pissed at the bullies who picked on him when he was a growing boy and he's got a message for them: Don't F With Me. Broadway World spoke with the self-professed poster child of autism in New Jersey to discuss his latest single with the same name that he wrote in honor of Autism Acceptance Month and for any kid out there in the throes of bullying.

Congratulations on your new single "Don't F With Me." The song opens with, "I'm not in the mood for your attitude/Keep it up, I'm gonna lose my cool. Don't fuck with me/ don't even try/ I will shut that shit right down." Did the anger of those bad memories being bullied fuel the lyrics to this song?

Yeah. I had that hook back in 2019. I kept that hook in the back of my mind, but I didn't have a way to write it. The bullying I received as a child [in addition to] stupid stuff I've dealt with working retail- that's a bad place to be if you don't want to be bullied. I pictured in my head a music video and I pictured a guy being bullied to the point where he just snaps and says, "that's it; I'm taking you down." I was getting heavily into Sinatra when I came up with that hook. I wrote around that hook and thought about all the memories as a kid and the bullying I faced and frustrations I've dealt with and I put it on paper. I got real.

Did the writing process help you relieve any repressed anger you may still have festering inside from those memories?

It was very therapeutic. Writing that song was actually fun. It helped a little bit. I got that out when I filmed the music video. There's a newspaper wall that someone built and I took Polaroids of friends of mine and people I work with and plastered them on a wall painting red Xes. I'm wearing a leather jacket that says Cory Singer Don't f With Me. Then there's a separate part we did where I'm in a nice suit and I've got a martini glass with an olive in it and I'm sitting with a classy style microphone like a crooner in a Sinatra-esque kind of way.

The song opens with downbeats which sound reminiscent of 1990s Halloween movies like "Scream," "The Craft" and "The Lost Boys." Was that the vibe you were going for with respect to the melody?

I kind of wanted Sinatra meets The Doors with The Lost Boys appropriate with "People Are Strange."

This song was written for Autism Acceptance Month, but bullying extends far beyond autism. Just recently, there were three children - two from New Jersey and one from Ohio - who committed suicide after being incessantly picked on and physically bullied in school: 14-year-old Adriana Kuch, 11-year-old Felicia Lo-Albo Melendez and 14-year-old Terry Badger III. Are you familiar with any of these recent deaths by suicide? If not, how does that make you feel hearing these children died due to their bullies, and in what ways do you hope this song will serve as a beacon of strength for bullied young people?

I had a friend years ago he was in a very bad mental state who committed suicide. I have some understanding of it, but having been bullied myself, it sucks. You feel weak. You feel it's hard and then you get scared to stand up for yourself. But when you do stand up, you get punished for doing so. But the minute you stand up for yourself, they [the bullies] will respect you. In a positive way, this song will help people stand up for themselves. Bullying in any form is not OK. With social media, bullying has evolved. Before you only had to face bullying at school. At least you had the comfortable of going home and taking a break. Now there's no escape from it. Kids have easy access to Facebook and TikTok and people forget they are another human being hearing the words being typed. There are more bullies that have the comfort of doing it in their own homes and not having to face them in person. Standing up for yourself is scary, especially if you're used to trying something new that you've never done before. But once you do it, you're demanding respect and rightfully so. No one should be bullied. No one's life should be ended due to bullying. It shouldn't end in the victim doing a mass shooting [either]. You should stand up to your bully. Just let them know who is boss.

What advice would you give kids who are currently being bullied at school and how should they best handle the issue at hand?

As soon as it starts, stop it. First, go to the teacher and then the principal, and if that doesn't work, handle it yourself. No one has a right to put their hands on you unwarranted; that's not OK at all. As for anyone watching, don't stand by and be a coward and watch. Step in and end it; be the good example. Being bullied is embarrassing; having been there I can understand it. That's never the answer though.

There are many memorable lines in this song, one of which is, "If you know what's good for you, you will turn your ass around." Which seems like you're taking a less violent approach to diffusing a bullying situation. What is your favorite line and why?

The opening line: "Don't fuck with me/ don't even try/ I will shut that shit right down." For me, that's the line that started the whole song, and I just thought as a listener what would draw me in.

It sounds like this song is just as much for the bullied person as it is for the bully. You're now in your late 20s and it seems like you haven't forgotten about those bad memories and they still sort of haunt you to this day. Is that something you'd like the bullies to know? How badly their torturous behavior can be traumatic for their target and can bother them years into the future?

A lot of times bullies don't realize they're being bullies; that's the scary thing. They think there just having fun, and years down the line, they'll say, "I don't remember that." For some reason, they magically forget. I had one bully from my childhood that I connected with [in adulthood] and she apologized. She was going through her own crap and took it out on me. I can respect that.

Besides anti-bullying songs such as this, in what other ways do you hope bullying can be extinguished at schools.

I feel like schools don't do enough against the bullies. Students should be punished for being bullies. A lot of times they get a simple slap on the wrist. Some kids being horribly bullied stand up and they get in trouble. It's the school's fault for letting it get to that point. If they intervened and talked about it and punished the bully and let them know why it's not cool, a lot of problems would be solved.

If a bullied kid reached out to you and asked you to perform this song at a school assembly, would you?

I'd be more than happy to. If there was some way I could sing it uncensored, I would do it.


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