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A 21-year old Fanshawe College student that never sang or played guitar before a few winters ago, Jessica Allossery taught herself how to sing and play guitar by watching YouTube videos in her spare time to write her song “Change the World”. Feeling down and in need of a pick-me-up on a cold dreary winter day, her feelings just poured out into her song, which was almost an instant hit, touching many with its honesty and getting noticed by film director Lucas Jatoba and Telus!
In need of an idea of how to say goodbye to home in Barcelona, Lucas Jatoba loved Jessica’s song and incorporated it into his video, Adeu Barcelona! , bringing lots of attention to “Change the World”, with almost 600,000 views on YouTube. Soon after, Telus employees were captivated by the song and Jessica’s talent and dreams during a company presentation. Her voice echoed their own mission of giving back to the community and “Change the World” was included in a TV commercial for their We Give Where We Live campaign, focused on donating to charities and local communities.
Thinking that the e-mail was a joke at first, Jessica was thrilled when Telus flew her out to Vancouver to record the song for their national commercial while shooting a behind-the-scenes video of the story. Her song is actually changing the world and helping a charity started by her neighbours, Mike and Brenda Neuts, in response to their 10-year old son Myles dying after he was hung on a hook by two bullies at St. Agnes Catholic school in Jessica’s hometown, Chatham, Ontario.
The song and ringtone can be downloaded by Telus customers for FREE. Until June 30, 2011, Telus will donate $5 for every download to the Make Children Better Now Children's Foundation, a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to the betterment of children in communities across Canada, started by the Neuts family.
Where did the inspiration for your song come from?
The inspiration came from a gloomy winter’s day. I was feeling a bit depressed by the cold weather and wanted to cheer myself up…I have also felt for a long time that I wanted to do something in the world to make it a better place, even the littlest of things, whenever I could. Finally all my feelings just kind of came out that day in my song!
You taught yourself how to play guitar by watching YouTube (wow)! Did you ever sing/play guitar before making this song?
I never sang or played guitar before making this song. I studied piano for 7 years as a child but I never had lessons of any kind with any other musical instrument or vocals.
Your song is called “Change the World”. If you could make any changes to the world, what would they be?
If I could make change in the world, I would ask for the wars to stop, for everyone to be kind to others and share everything they have with everybody so that all the struggle in the world would end. I would teach every child in the world with the highest education and teach them to be kind to others and love everyone equally. I would get rid of animal abuse and take care of the environment, not over-consume like everyone does today. I would get rid of materialistic things that create separation against men and women, body types, age and race. I would inspire others to share their hopes with everyone they meet and hope that it creates a domino effect that will one day actually make an impact on the world.
Did you ever think that it would become as big as it has?
I always knew the song was a powerful song because it came from my heart, but I never knew that it would be reaching so many people so soon.
What are your plans for the future?
My future plans are to travel the world playing music, making documentaries, volunteering, educating and inspiring others to make a change in their daily lives.
Who do you like listening to right now? Who would you love to do a song with?
I love so many artists, it depends on my mood! Bon Iver will always put me in a good place though. … If I could do a song with Ben Harper, Damien Rice, Jack Johnson, Brett Dennen, Coldplay and Mumford and Sons, I would be an extremely happy girl!!!
Does it feel good to know that so many people have found inspiration from your song? It must be fulfilling to have that knowledge that people out there use it to cope with a tough time or to turn to for inspiration for them to keep going.
This is exactly why I wrote the song, to inspire others and help them through tough times. So, it feels better than good, it feels like paradise. My work has meaning, and this makes me feel like the luckiest artist in the world.
What do you do when you are feeling stressed?
When I am feeling stressed, I usually go to the gym to get my extra energy out, and finish with some yoga. I also play my guitar and sing and usually it calms me down.
What gives you hope?
Children give me hope. They are so flexible and impressionable at a young age, and they are tomorrow’s future. I just try to remind myself to pay special attention to kids and try to give them inspiration at a young age because young children are so much more powerful than any adult could every be.
And last but not least, I’m sure many people love your cat Ziggy after watching your video. Is Ziggy your only pet? And is there one favourite thing you love about Ziggy most?
Unfortunately because I am a student, I was not able to keep Ziggy after last year. : ( We had to give him away as my roommates and I were leaving our house. I really miss him, he was a special kitten. He was pretty wild and liked to scratch me… I guess that was my favourite thing about him.. !