~Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, GRAMMY Foundation® and MusiCares® Recognize Winners~
New York, NY (Jan. 16, 2015) – Teen music artist Victoria Marchlewski has been selected as the winner of the fifth annual GRAMMY Foundation® and MusiCares® Teens Make Music Contest for her original interpretation of the importance of living above the influence 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 for Drug-Free Kids’ Above the Influence campaign, will honor all the winners this month with exclusive GRAMMY® experiences and prizes.
The contest asked young musicians, ages 14–18, to compose or create an original song and/or music video that celebrates life above the influence or brings attention to the consequences of substance abuse. All winners will attend the 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards® Backstage Experience, a special backstage tour that takes place while artists rehearse for the live GRAMMY Awards.
First-place winner Marchlewski, a sophomore at Paramus High School in New Jersey, submitted “New Day,” a song that encourages teens to live their lives to their fullest potential. It highlights the importance of perseverance and individuality to find the strength to make healthy choices, as illustrated in the lyrics: “Tomorrow’s a new day, don’t let it go to waste. Do what you gotta do, change what you need to change. Cause tomorrow’s a new day and you got the power to say ‘Nothin’ can control me. I’m living my life for me and it’ll be a real good day.’”
“We are honored to join the GRAMMY Foundation and MusiCares to recognize these talented teen musicians,” said Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. “Each year the program grows, the more we are impressed with the submissions. These creative individuals help demonstrate what it means to be above the influence of negative pressures and how drugs or alcohol can take away opportunities to reach their goals.”
“This contest is a great fit with the addiction recovery work of MusiCares and the music education mission of the GRAMMY Foundation,” said Neil Portnow, president/CEO of the GRAMMY Foundation, MusiCares and The Recording Academy. “We’ve been a proud participant in this contest for the past five years and our alliance with the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids provides an ideal forum for teens to share their views on the dangers of substance abuse, and advocate for a healthy lifestyle.”
Recent Ridgecrest Center recovery high school graduate Sam Beckham of Nashville, Tenn., is the second-place winner for “Peace Inside.” The song’s inspirational lyrics offer hope to those struggling with addiction: “Are you broken, sick, have you come undone? If you need a hand, I’ve been there before. I’ve been down that road before. If you let it, the sun will rise. In the light, the darkness dies. There’s more to life, than getting by. Did you know your dreams are still alive? If you want it, there’s peace inside.”
Third-place winner Kalilah Perkins of Flagler Palm Coast High School in Palm Coast, Fla. wrote and rapped “As Not Tonight.” Her song underlines how substance abuse can remove a teen’s chance to live life to the fullest and that there is hope by making healthy decisions, as explained in the lyrics: “When I see kids harming their bodies, I just wish that they knew it. Life is too precious to wreck it, and it could end any second, from stupid careless decisions, yeah you guessed it. We have the liberty to choose the way we go, not succumbing to temptation I refuse to not say no. So we’re here to celebrate the life we’re freely given, so why would I inject death if I’m too busy living?”
The first-place winner receives two tickets to the 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 8, as well as a cash award of $500 and the opportunity to perform a set at the Acoustic Tent on the 2015 Vans Warped Tour in the city closest to her hometown. The second- and third-place winners receive cash prizes of $250 and $100, respectively, and all three winners have the opportunity to attend the 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards Backstage Experience Friday, Feb. 6 during rehearsals. Other prizes include two tickets to any Vans Warped Tour stop, gift bags and more. All three winners will have their original compositions posted on the MusiCares and GRAMMY Foundation’s GRAMMY website (the premiere site for Recording Academy members), the Vans Warped Tour website, and the Above the Influence website in January. Winners will also be featured during National Drug Facts Week℠ from Jan. 26 – Feb. 1.
Honorable mentions go to Emilio Kanosh of Cedar City, Utah, for his song “Freedom;” and Eli Kaye-Karen of Brooklyn, NY, for his song “What If?”
MusiCares and the GRAMMY Foundation provided a panel of judges that included music industry professionals, 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 abovetheinfluence/grammy-contest-winners-2015.
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About the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids
The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids is dedicated to reducing teen substance abuse. We develop public education campaigns that drive awareness of teen substance abuse, and lead teen-targeted efforts that inspire young people to make positive decisions to stay healthy and avoid drugs and alcohol. On our website, drugfree.org, and through our toll-free helpline (1-855-DRUGFREE), we provide families with direct support and guidance to help them address teen substance abuse. Finally, we build healthy communities, advocating for great access to adolescent treatment and funding for youth prevention programs. As a national nonprofit, we depend on donations from individuals, corporations, foundations and the public sector and are thankful to SAG-AFTRA and the advertising and media industries for their ongoing generosity. We are proud to receive a Four-Star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest and most-utilized independent evaluator of charities, as well as a National Accredited Charity Seal from the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance.
About The GRAMMY Foundation
The GRAMMY Foundation was established in 1988 to cultivate the understanding, appreciation and advancement of the contribution of recorded music to American culture. 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. In recognition of the significant role of teachers in shaping their students’ musical experiences, The Recording Academy and the GRAMMY Foundation partnered to present their first Music Educator Award in 2013. Open to current U.S. music teachers in kindergarten through college, the second Music Educator Award will be presented at the Special Merit Awards Ceremony & Nominees Reception during GRAMMY Week 2015. To nominate a teacher for the third annual Music Educator Award, please visit GRAMMYMusicTeacher.com. For more information about the Foundation, please visit www.grammyfoundation.org. For breaking news and exclusive content, please like “GRAMMY in the Schools®” on Facebook at www.facebook.com/grammyintheschools and follow @GRAMMYFdn on Twitter and Instagram.
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/musicaresand follow @MusiCares on Twitter and Instagram.