2019 is shaping up to be a big year for Danny Wood. Not only is the New Kids on the Block star preparing to embark on a massive tour to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the group's hit record "Hangin' Tough," but he also recently dropped a new single, "Bodyguard," a duet featuring the talents of rising country music artist Jessie Chris.
The new song means a lot to Wood, as he was inspired to write "Bodyguard" and reach out to Chris after seeing her anti-bullying speeches online. The singer is a vocal advocate on the issue, having been honored by the TLC Network last fall for her work, which includes visiting 100 schools across the nation to talk with kids about bullying. Chris is also the face of the AD Council's "Be More" campaign and an ambassador for Disney's "Choose Kindness" campaign.
"Seeing Jessie, she’s inspired me to be more passionate about [anti-bullying]," Wood tells Metro, noting how Chris has given him a "better understanding" of how kids are affected by bullying in today's social media-obsessed world. Now that he's a father, Wood was particularly interested in the issue of online bullying. "Having kids that are older and on social media, kids these days get it now from both angles.”
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For Chris, the Massachusetts native and "Billboard Artist to Watch" decided to get involved with the cause after getting bullied in school over her dream of wanting to be a country music singer.
“That wasn’t common or popular and that’s why I got bullied," Chris says. "That’s why, for me, speaking about anti-bullying is so important because it really messes with you forever.”
“Even though I’m a lot stronger now, there’ll always be something deep in there that sticks with me from everything I went through,” she adds. “That’s why it’s so important for me to kind of be like a big sister to the kids at these schools that I visit.”
Aside from their mutual Boston connection, Wood could relate with Chris over her school experiences, as he was bullied as well when he was a kid. The NKOTB star recalls getting picked on for being the only white student at an all-black school during Boston's infamous busing era.
“It kind of brought back some of those memories,” Wood says of working on "Bodyguard" with Chris.
As a veteran of the music industry, Wood was happy to take on the mentor role while working with Chris and shine a light on an up-and-coming artist.
“I just wanted to make it as easy as possible for her,” says Wood. “I know the struggle of being in the music business."
“Older people in the music business don’t understand, they’re like ‘When I grew up it was so much harder,’” he adds. “No it really wasn’t man. Kids are getting it from two angles all the time now and you don’t understand.”