Quite often Iâ€™m referred to young talent that makes me take a second look, but not often do I find a youngster who is quite as multi-talented as eleven year old TJ Lasinski or better known as TJ Prodigy.Â Not only is TJ a talented singer, rapper, and dancer, but also a powerful spokesman for a cause that is one of the most important issues of todayâ€™s society. Unlike many youngsters his age who are mainly interested in just building a musical career, you could say that TJ is a young artist who is on a life changing mission.Â In fact his mission is called just that! (Challenge For Change)
Many of the feature articles published here begin when a parent first noticed their child could sing, or showed some form of musical interest.Â In TJâ€™s case you could say that he was born a true bouncing boy!Â His mother shared with me that as early as the age of five TJ was bouncing on the trampoline.Â However, he was not just bouncing but doing his very first back flips. At six years old he was already performing consecutive back flips. This could be where the bounce comes in his music which not only captivates his audience but also helps to communicate his message to others who may otherwise turn a deaf ear.
TJ has always been very close to his older sister Shelby age 17, who always enjoys having the camera rolling on her little brother. When TJ was 9, he found the benefit of YouTube and Google and began searching for tutorials on break-dance moves, such as the windmill, the coffee grinder, the pin drop, and the 6 step! He practiced and practiced every day, tearing the kitchen apart to turn it into his little dance studio. In February of 2011, TJ was asked to perform in the high school cabaret. He performed a break dance routine with his sister to the song â€œDynamiteâ€ and also sang the song â€œBabyâ€ by Justin Bieber. TJ was the only elementary school student in the entire show, and he enjoyed it immensely. This was his very first performance in front of people.
A big hobby of TJâ€™s is to dance in the middle of the mall randomly when heâ€™s feeling it! Heâ€™ll just drop down where he is and start dancing! One day, he was dancing in Carousel mall outside of Zumiez, and the assistant manager saw him. The assistant manager was a local hip hop instructor, and wanted TJ to hang out at the studio with the older students. When TJ could find time, he enjoyed hanging out in the studio watching the older kids perform. He quickly learned so well that he found himself performing in the 2011 winter Recital with the Fifteen plus age group. Although he looked quite small compared to the other performers his talent proved to be larger than his stature. Tj was very much in his element and loving every minute of it!
In June, he tried out for his schoolâ€™s 5th grade variety show, and landed a spot. He did a tribute dance to his favorite dance crew, (Season One Americaâ€™s Best Dance Crew) winnerâ€™s the Jabbawockeez. TJ posted this video to his YouTube channel, and it was seen by Chachi Gonzales (TJâ€™s celebrity crush) from Americaâ€™s Best Dance Crew season Six winner (I aM mE crew), and also Jim Beaver from Supernatural. Both Chachi and Jim Beaver Tweeted the video, and more and more people began seeing TJâ€™s videos and following him on his twitter. TJ has only had a twitter for about a year, and everything has been happening really fast for him.
What really started the kick off for TJ was his anti bullying video â€œHang On,â€ which was posted last July.
Â TJ has been bullied since elementary. He has been pushed down, kicked, called names, excluded, because he is less than average height for a kid his age. TJ had been getting a lot of tweets from fans that talked about being bullied and not feeling pretty enough or good enough, so TJ said he felt he needed to do something to show anyone and everyone out there that they ARE GOOD ENOUGH!
TJ asked his fans to send him some creative pictures with â€œStop Bullyingâ€ or â€œDonâ€™t Give Upâ€ on them to use in an anti bullying call-to-action video. He used the original song â€œHang Onâ€ by his friend Kevin for the video, and the video received much attention from bullied kids and inspired kids all over the world. Some celebrities who have posted about it have been Christian Beadles, and Pauley Perrette from NCIS. This was the launch of TJâ€™s decision to go into talking to his peers about anti bullying and the importance of standing together. One particular comment that had a huge influence on him read:
â€œI canâ€™t explain how much I have been through and it hurts, itâ€™s a shame, and no one deserves too be bullied, I know how much it hurtsâ€
â€œWhere was this when I was bullied all through my middle school years?â€
TJ felt SOMEONE needed to take a stand now. In TJâ€™s words,
â€œWe are the future, the kids, itâ€™s up to us. I mean, if we donâ€™t make a change, WHO WILL?â€
In November of 2011, TJ was asked to speak at the 2011 New York State Teen Institute Leadership conference. Right around this time, TJ decided he wanted to try using music and dancing as a way to reach people, in conjunction with his message.
It became a great way for TJ to interact with other kids, and get their attention to listen to what he had to say. TJ wanted to make an original song that would reflect real life situations, and together with his sister Shelby they wrote the verses to TJâ€™s debut Single â€œWe Stand.â€ Â TJ then approached YouTube Sensation Tae Brooks, asking him to collaborate with him and sing and write the hook and take a stand together. The track was mastered with a lot of hard work by Taeâ€™s older brother Tadjh. Before the track debuted in November, TJ spoke at the teen institute conference, which is a youth leadership program for high school students to take a look at their communities and try to fix problems and bring out the best in themselves. TJ spoke to students at the conference from schools all across the NY area, such as Fabius Pompey, Lafayette, Tully, Marcellus, Windsor, Long Island representatives, Corcoran, and Westhill (many of the central NY high schools). This was TJâ€™s first time speaking to people live and in public about his message, and it was very successful.
Â After the conference, he was approached by Lafayette middle school where he spoke in December. TJâ€™s organization (campaign movement) is called â€œChallenge For Changeâ€ you can learn exactly what TJ does at schools and more about his campaign is on this website. TJ will soon speak at Windsorâ€™s wellness day on April 20th, and leaving immediately after to hop on a flight to Florida, where he will be speaking and performing at the first annual Erase Hate Tampa Bay Festival! The festival invited TJ to come and perform, and he is very excited. It is an anti hate/anti bullying festival to raise awareness and help promote unity in the Tampa Bay area. TJ is also assisting Erase Hate with their anti bullying/anti hate video contest, using the slogan â€œMake The Choice To Use Your Voiceâ€ from one of his previous videos. He is very honored and excited to be working with Erase Hate and canâ€™t wait to meet some of his fans at the festival.
A few anti bullying movements TJ has initiated are:
- Sending out blue beaded bracelets that he made to any fan that wanted to take a stand with him.
- On his birthday, August 11th, TJ asked his fans if they would â€œRep Blueâ€ (wear the color blue) for the day to raise anti bullying awareness. The Color Blue is the National color for Anti-Bullying Awareness.
- Created Two Anti Bullying Videos, â€œHang Onâ€ and â€œMake The Choice To Use Your Voiceâ€ (See Above Video) where his fans sent in clips of them saying that they are making the choice to speak up.
Here is TJâ€™s new single â€œWe Standâ€ which will act as his new theme song for his campaign.Â TJ is currently working on the music video for this single which is going to be a real eye opener for a lot of people. You will find it embedded here once it has been completed.
In the meantime watch his behind the scenes video below.Â You can also purchase WE STAND [button_round color=”blue” url=”http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/we-stand-feat.-tae-brooks/id510681681″]Â ON I-TUNES! [/button_round]
Help Tj and his cause by purchasing your copy now!
I asked TJ what some of his favorites were and found out that his favorite color was blue, that he enjoys eating Starbursts candy, and watching Suit Life On Deck.Â
His musical inspirations include: Eminem, Lupe Fiasco, Ludacris, Jason Derulo, Taio Cruz, Michael Jackson, and Justin Bieber.Â He lists his favorite dance crew as Iconic Boyz, especially anti bullying spokesboy Vinny Castronovo, Jabbawockeez, and BBoy Bebo.Â His hobbies include playing his Xbox360 and Wii, jumping on his trampoline, riding his dirt-bike, playing his guitar outside, laser tag, talking to his fans, and on his lazy days he enjoys just sitting on momâ€™s couch and watching Spongebob!
TJ also enjoys reading and lists his favorite author as James Patterson.Â For outdoor sports he enjoys playing basketball and baseball.Â His favorite Movie is the Transformer series and Real Steel!Â He lists Moms homemade spaghetti and hot dogs as his favorite foods and even eats hot dogs for breakfast!
TJâ€™s message is to show kids that it is time to take a stand, right here, right now. When he recorded â€œWe Stand,â€ he got very emotional and wanted to make his audience feel that same emotion. He is hoping that the video will help put the words to the song to a visual that will open peopleâ€™s eyes so they can realize that the change needs to be made now, before itâ€™s too late.
TJ has only been rapping for about a year, and has had no vocal lessons in singing or rapping. He enjoys singing, but decided he likes rapping better.
Each morning TJ enjoys randomly messaging his fans to â€œHave A Good Dayâ€ and continues to challenge them to try to make a difference, even if itâ€™s something small, everyday.
To learn more about TJ Prodigy visit: