Cite this article

NIDA. (2011, November 29). GRAMMY Contest: Teens Sing Stories of Addiction. Retrieved from

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Sara Bellum
November 29 2011
Drugfacts week, MusicCares, and Grammy Foundation logos

Three teens used music to turn the destruction of drug abuse and addiction into music and hope. The winners of the second annual MusiCares and GRAMMY Foundation's Teen Substance Abuse Awareness through Music Contest featured compelling stories of addiction and recovery.

Two entrants wrote their submissions while in treatment; a third wrote a song about how his sister’s addiction affected the whole family.

Who Won?

The 1st place winners were Harvie and Amanda, two teens currently in treatment at the Phoenix House Academy in Los Angeles, CA. Their entry, an original song entitled "Like a Phoenix in the Air," chronicles their feelings about being teens in drug treatment and their desire to rise above their addictions “even with a broken wing.” The song ends with the lyrics "Cuz I may fall one hundred times before I sleep, but I promise you I'll get back up tomorrow."

The 2nd place winner, Kevin Simmons, wrote “My Life” while at the Healing Lodge of the Seven Nations, a residential center in Spokane Valley, WA. Kevin told his story of addiction and recovery through powerful lyrics that included, “My life was over until I got sober, but I found another way to get through life.”

The 3rd place winner is 14-year-old Grant Davis, a student at Silver State High School in Carson City, NV. In his entry, “Just a Child,” the young lyricist referenced his experience growing up in a family dominated by his older sister's struggle with addiction. He created a haunting but hopeful composition that included the lyrics, “You were not supposed to be in charge of the world created for me.”

Composers of all three winning entries will have the opportunity to attend the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards Backstage Experience, a special backstage tour that includes watching artists rehearse for the live GRAMMY Awards show early in 2012.

Also, the winners will have their musical entries posted on the GRAMMY 365 and MTV Web sites, as well as on the Above the Influence campaign site. They will each receive a small cash award from the Visions Adolescent Treatment Center in Malibu, CA, and a certificate from NIDA acknowledging their role in spreading the word about health about substance abuse.

How Do You Cope?

In a video essay, 2nd-place winner Kevin added, “Whenever I have a bad day I go to my room with a pencil and paper and write down how I feel.” What do you do to cope with stress, anxiety, or when you’re just feeling low? Tell us in the comments what works to help you through life’s rough patches.

Visit NIDA’s Web site to listen to the winning songs. Read the official press release.