TURNER — Carter Veilleux likes the way he wears his hair, and he likes his rugby shirts and sweaters.
But most of all, the Tripp Middle School seventh-grader likes his music — his piano and his saxophone.
So his mother, Kim, knew something was wrong last year when he said he was ready to give it all up, just to fit in.
"Some kids were bullying him, calling him names, and he was just tired of it," she said. He went so far as to get his hair cut short, but didn't like how it felt. It wasn't him.
"He finally came back and decided he didn't care what they said," she said. "He'd had enough, and he was just going to be himself."
Now he's written a song about his experiences and recorded it in his den. Thanks to family members helping spread the word, the song has gotten out.
Veilleux and his song, "This Is My Prayer, Amen," were featured on Portland radio station 93.1 FM Thursday morning on The Coast's morning show.
"I was so excited, I told a whole bunch of people the night before," he said. "When I got to school later on, they said. 'I heard you on the radio.'"
Meanwhile, he's working with some of his grandfather's friends to make a more professional version in a recording studio.
"It's kind of surprised us," Kim Veilleux said. "We don't really know where this is all going. But we think it's a good song, and an important message."
Music has always been a key part of Carter's life, she said. He regularly performed in elementary school, playing his saxophone in the school band and the piano for other events. He's also particular about his appearance, with neatly combed hair parted on the side.
"He likes rugby shirts with collars, and he likes to wear sweaters, and that was just not cool for some people," she said.
Other kids were giving him a hard time. They teased and called him names, but said they might stop if he changed.
He finally decided he didn't need to change after getting his uncomfortable crew cut, and talked to his parents and teachers instead.
"I was blown away by how quickly the school responded," Kim said. The bullying stopped and the principal made it a point to encourage Carter.
"I didn't realize until later, but some of the parents said he was considering giving up his music to fit in," she said. "But the principal told him he couldn't do that. It was too important to him, and to other people."
So he didn't, and he moved on past the problem and gained a bit of extra self-confidence to boot.
Meanwhile, his grandfather Ron Landry was trying to encourage Carter's musicality. A former musician himself, Landry introduced him to his friend and local musician Ed Boucher.
"I wanted him to see Ed's studio, how professional recording worked," Landry said.
Boucher said he was impressed with the boy's music and encouraged him to write a song about his experiences.
Carter finished it on Sunday and played it for Boucher on Monday.
"It was all there — a good melody, a good arrangement and good lyrics," Boucher said. Now he hopes to get Carter back into his studio in the next week to put some more polish on it.
Carter said it's the sixth song he's written, including one he wrote for World Peace Day in school last month.
"A lot of times, I think up the tune first and then come up with the words that fit," he said. This time, it was different. He said what we wanted, then created the music on his keyboard and a desktop computer.
Then he recorded the vocals.
Kim said creating music is his latest obsession. Carter wants to be an architect someday, but he said he'll continue making his music and performing. He'd love to perform on television's "American Idol" or "America's Got Talent" someday.
"I'd like to go on tour, by myself, and go to Las Vegas," he said.