Teen Musicians Win a 55th Annual GRAMMY Experience

Teen Musicians Win a 55th Annual GRAMMY Experience

Two teen musicians have been selected as the winners of the third annual GRAMMY Foundation and MusiCares Teens! Make Music Contest for their creative interpretation of the dangers and impact of drug and alcohol use. Second and third place winners have also been chosen. The GRAMMY Foundation and MusiCares, the two nonprofit organizations of The Recording Academy, in collaboration with The Partnership at Drugfree.org, will honor all the winners during the third annual National Drug Facts Week, January 28 - February 3, 2013, coordinated by The National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of The National Institutes of Health.

The contest asked young musicians, ages 14 - 18, to compose or create an original song and/or music video that explored, encouraged and celebrated a healthy lifestyle or accurately depicted a story about drug abuse. All winners will attend the 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards Backstage Experience, a special backstage tour that takes place while artists rehearse for the live GRAMMY Awards.

The first place winners, Vinny Cavalcanti, a senior at West High School, and Nick Miller, a junior at Rowland Hall Academy, from Utah submitted their song "Psychological Cool Guy." The song depicts how an individual can succumb to drug and alcohol addiction and reveals the deep concern Friends have for his unhealthy lifestyle as illustrated in lyrics, "I've been meaning to talk to you about something for a while, about your problems with the syrup, and your problem with denial."

"It is an honor to join together with the GRAMMY Foundation and MusiCares to showcase these talented teen musicians," said Steve Pasierb, President of The Partnership at Drugfree.org. "As The Partnership continues this successful program, we're excited to recognize these individuals for shedding light on the realities of substance use issues, and helping to transform the story of addiction from the common misunderstandings and stigma into the true reality of hope, help and recovery."

"This program provides an exceptional opportunity to showcase the combined work of the GRAMMY Foundation, MusiCares, and The Partnership at Drugfree.org, and it provides a unique opportunity for teens to share their perspectives on the issues of addiction," said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy, the GRAMMY Foundation, and MusiCares. "All of the winners have created moving messages for young and old alike to encourage healthy lifestyles, and we're proud to again be a partner in this important initiative."

Hawaii natives, Colby Benson, a senior at Mililani High School, and Haley Michelle Kagimoto, a student at President Obama's alma mater Punahou School, are the second place winners. Their song titled, "Change Who We'll Become," is inspired by Friends and family faced by substance abuse. Their powerful lyrics, "we can rise up once we've fallen, change who we'll become," highlight how those who have struggled with addiction can find hope in recovery.

Third place winner Hannah Rand is a senior at Oak Park River Forest High School in Illinois. Her song "Starting Over" exposes her concern for a friend who continues to abuse drugs. Hannah's lyrics include a heartfelt plea to her friend to end her use, "There's nothing you can take, nothing you can use, that won't end up using you and taking you away from me. Please don't go away from me."

In addition to the GRAMMY Awards backstage experience, the winners will have their musical entries posted on the GRAMMY365 Website and the MTV Act blog, as well as on the Above the Influence campaign website. The winners also receive prizes including iPads with the GarageBand app; an opportunity to release a record with Iron Ridge Road Recordings*, through Clarity Way, a drug and alcohol rehab facility in Hanover, Pennsylvania; a small cash award courtesy of the Visions Adolescent Treatment Center in Malibu, California; and a certificate from the GRAMMY Foundation and MusiCares acknowledging their role in the dissemination of health information about substance abuse.

MusiCares and the GRAMMY Foundation provided a panel of judges that included musical artists, while The Partnership at Drugfree.org provided technical expertise in the judging process. Points were given for accurate depictions of subject matter. The winning entries can be heard at www.drugfree.org/teensmakemusiccontest.