Bangor singer Rhea Melvin has beaten the bullies to prove that not even Gravity can bring her down.
The 21-year-old's debut song Gravity, with dance duo M-22, was released last week and has already made it onto the biggest dance playlists, including Radio 1 and Spotify.
The singer-songwriter has just landed a record deal and hopes her music will inspire others to keep dreaming big.
"I've always felt a bit of an outcast - I'm very dyslexic and struggled at school but music was always my escape," Rhea told Sunday Life.
"I got really badly bullied, I was always different.
"I looked different for a start but I always had this big dream too. I loved to perform and I was always a bit out there and people gave me a really hard time because of it." But at McMaster's Stage School, in Bangor, where Rhea spent every Saturday as a child, she felt at ease.
"I lived for McMaster's, it was my safe space," she said.
"I always loved to perform and music allowed me to express my feelings, which at times could be difficult.
"I didn't really like myself growing up but when I was performing, that was really me.
"Now things are working out, it's funny because I look back at my time at school and think about how I thought it was the end of the world that people were horrible to me.
"But obviously it wasn't.
"I hope I can inspire people to dream big. It may seem like it'll never work out or never get better but it will."
At 16, Rhea left school to attend prestigious London performing arts school Italia Conti. Its famous alumni include Kelly Brook, Pixie Lott and Naomi Campbell. After her graduation, a chance meeting in a coffee shop in London changed her life.
She said: "I had been trying to get into the music industry by putting covers up on YouTube but it wasn't really working, then I was in a coffee shop in London and overheard this guy talking on the phone about having a label.
"I introduced myself and basically said, 'I'm a singer, I've got one song to my name that I've worked on with producers in Belfast'. I sent him my one track and he invited me to an event.
"At the event, I networked and met some people and have just been going from there."
Then her videos were spotted by music producer Matt James (above, with Rhea), from M-22, who has supported her ever since. "In the music industry, it can be hard to trust people but now I feel like I've found a really good team and I'm excited to see how far things can go, it's been amazing," she said.
When lockdown hit last March, Rhea left London, where she had been working in hospitality part-time while working on her music, and returned home to her mum, Leigh, who she says always believed in her.
At first, she thought her career was being put on hold just as it was starting, but she soon realised it was the free time she had been wanting.
"I found it quite therapeutic being home because it gave me time just to work on my own music and really find my voice," she revealed.
"I felt like I always knew what I wanted to say as an artist but lockdown really gave me the time to think about my childhood and my life as a whole and allow me to get it across properly.
"Now I just can't wait to get my music out there and hopefully it inspires even one person.
"I want to empower people. I want to speak to people through my music and tell them that it's OK to be different. You should just be unapologetically you."
Gravity is available to download now