What seventh-grade girl hasn't read the “Twilight” series?
Reading the novels was ammunition enough for bullies in New Hyde Park, said Alexa Blaise Sandberg.
“They called me ‘gothic lesbian,’ ” Sandberg, 16, said Friday at the School of Rock in Roslyn, as her blond locks rested on the neck of her purple guitar.
She said she dropped out of New Hyde Park High School after the administration failed to adequately quell the bullying that she says stemmed from her heavy involvement in music, dance and figure skating. Now she’s enrolled in The Keystone School -- an online high school -- and has kicked her pursuit of a music career into high-gear.
Sandberg, or simply “Blaise” as she’s called onstage, said it was probably one of the best decisions she’s ever made.
“I’ve learned more at Keystone than I would have in public school,” she said.
Her flexible schedule left her time to record “Gossip Kills,” a YouTube-single set in the Huntington Historic Cemetery that had 2,246 views as of Saturday. Sandberg said the song, as well as everything else she composes, is based in part on personal experiences.
The song’s anti-bullying message helped bring the artist notoriety that has led to performances at several prominent venues, including TEDxYouthDay@Hewitt, a youth festival held two weeks ago in Manhattan.
Sandberg said she also wants to use her voice, a blend of Stevie Nicks and Janis Joplin according to one YouTube commenter, to bring positive messages to young girls.
“I do feel that women have a lot of negative influences in their life,” she said, referencing the sexual nature of a lot of mainstream media, including pop music.
"Walking Wounded," a yet-to-be-released single, talks about a strong girl who is in control of her own life and relationship. Another single, "Make Believe," illustrates the pressure on young women to have sex before they’re ready and encourages them to be strong.
Sandberg said while much of the bullying she experienced has subsided, her success has brought her some ridicule from her former peers. She said when “Gossip Kills” hit YouTube she started hearing from her friends that kids at New Hyde Park High School were mockingly calling her “Hannah Montana.”
She said the comments really upset her at first, but now it doesn’t matter.
“You can’t really tell people anything,” she said with a smile.