Teen Musicians Win a 55th Annual GRAMMY® Experience

the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, GRAMMY Foundation® and MusiCares® Recognize Winners During National Drug Facts Week

New York, NY (January 28, 2013) – 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 plac winners have also been chosen. The GRAMMY Foundation and MusiCares, the two nonprofit organizations of The Recording Academy®, in collaboration with the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, 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 for Drug-Free Kids. “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 for Drug-Free Kids, and it provides a unique opportunity for teens to share their perspectives on the issues of addition,” 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 for Drug-Free Kids 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.

*All proceeds from Iron Ridge Road Recordings will be donated to MusiCares.

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About the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids

Ninety percent of addictions start in the teenage years. the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids is dedicated to solving the problem of teen substance abuse. Together with experts in science, parenting and communications, the nonprofit translates research on teen behavior, addiction and treatment into useful and effective resources for both individuals and communities. Working toward a vision where all young people will be able to live their lives free of drug and alcohol abuse, the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids works with parents and other influencers to help them prevent and get help for drug and alcohol abuse by teens and young adults. The organization depends on donations from individuals, corporations, foundations and the public sector and is thankful to SAG-AFTRA and the advertising and media industries for their ongoing generosity.

About The GRAMMY Foundation

The GRAMMY Foundation was established in 1989 to cultivate the understanding, appreciation and advancement of the contribution of recorded music to American culture — from the artistic and technical legends of the past to the still unimagined musical breakthroughs of future generations of music professionals. The Foundation accomplishes this mission through programs and activities that engage the music industry and cultural community as well as the general public. The Foundation works in partnership year-round with its founder, The Recording Academy®, to bring national attention to important issues such as the value and impact of music and arts education and the urgency of preserving our rich cultural heritage. Campbell’s Labels for Education program is proud to be the official education partner of the GRAMMY in the Schools programs. For more information, please visit www.grammyintheschools.com. For breaking news and exclusive content, please like “GRAMMY in the Schools” on Facebook at www.facebook.com/grammyintheschools and follow @GRAMMYFdn on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GRAMMYFdn.

About MusiCares

Established in 1989 by The Recording Academy, MusiCares provides a safety net of critical assistance for music people in times of need. MusiCares’ services and resources cover a wide range of financial, medical and personal emergencies, and each case is treated with integrity and confidentiality. MusiCares also focuses the resources and attention of the music industry on human service issues that directly impact the health and welfare of the music community. For more information, please visit www.musicares.org. For breaking news and exclusive content, please like “MusiCares” on Facebook at www.facebook.com/musicares and follow @MusiCares on Twitter at www.twitter.com/musicares.

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    July 23, 2013 at 11:25 AM

    These songs are amazing – Was listening to them while doing school and I was in awe. They inspired me to write one of my own.

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    ya tu sabes

    February 26, 2013 at 8:26 PM

    As a past drug addict who was clean for two years and is now using again, despite not wanting to, after listening in full to all the songs, the only one that really touched me was the one for third place by Hannah Rand. She is a real musician and knows her subject matter, I might have even shed a tear there! I hope that she gets the message through to the person who inspired her song and I truly feel she should have won 1st place. Thanks for reading.

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