Carson Hill, 17, encourages young women to look "Under the Skin"

By Stephanie Emma Pfeffer
February 26, 2015 05:35 PM
Goldy Locks

A new music video from a young singer/songwriter has more than a catchy tune – it has a positive message.

“I want women to know it’s okay to not feel confident about how they look 100% of the time because what makes someone beautiful is how they treat others, and their personality in general,” Carson Hill, 17, tells PEOPLE about her song “Under the Skin.”

The self-taught guitar player, who has been writing music for six years, says the song was initially inspired by her two young cousins, ages 6 and 11.

“The 6-year-old just loves looking at herself. She’s very confident. But the one that’s 11, she’s at that age when you start realizing your flaws and getting more self-conscious and aware of your body,” says Hill, who lives on the outskirts of Charlotte, North Carolina. “And that’s when you start not liking what you see.”

But Hill, who has released two EPs, admits there is also a more personal side to the song, which includes the lyrics: “Spend 45 minutes standing in front of the mirror/You look at what everyone has and it don’t seem fair/That you ain’t got the prettiest smile or the prettiest hair/Seems like all you do is just stand and stare.”

She actually calls it a song to herself. “While I was writing it, I realized I was kind of talking to myself because I’ve been hard on myself in the past. This is a message to me, too.”

She goes into more detail on her blog: “When I was in middle school I use to think I was so chubby. I hated the gap in my teeth (before I got braces), I hated my hair, and the fact that I wasn’t as tiny as some of my friends … Then I started thinking that maybe guys wouldn’t like me because I wasn’t skinny. This was all in between the ages of 11 and 14. How crazy is that!?”

Even though she can look back now and laugh, she knows many young people struggle with the same issues. She hopes her video – which features female friends and family, including those two special cousins – will expand the reach of her song’s message.

“We told everybody to show up in whatever they felt most confident in,” says Hill. “They could wear makeup if they wanted to – it wasn’t going to be a natural-beauty type thing. It was more like, wear what you feel most comfortable in to showcase your true beauty.”

One thing’s for sure: Carson Hill is onto something beautiful. Keep an eye out for this inspirational young songwriter as she moves to Nashville next year.