Recovering Teen Wins Grammy Trip for Anti-Drug Song

By Valerie Tejeda 02/24/12

One 16-year-old songwriter at a Phoenix House facility won the chance to walk with the stars for a day.

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16-year-old Amanda performs. Photo via

A musical 16-year-old in recovery from California won a dream trip to the Grammys by writing an anti-addiction song. Amanda arrived at the Phoenix House facility in Lake View Terrace six months ago, and started singing and writing her own music. Without ever having had a formal music lesson, she submitted her anti-drug song to a MusiCares and Grammy Foundation Teen Substance Abuse Awareness Through Music contest, which calls for teens aged 14-18 to submit original songs about drug abuse that promote a healthy lifestyle. Amanda's song won first place, and the teen was rewarded with a tour of the Staples Center during a rehearsal for the Grammy show to see stars like Bruce Springsteen (who "was so energetic. I was awe-struck"), Carrie Underwood and Bruno Mars rehearse. "It was really cool. That was my dream, to be able to go there," says Amanda, who hopes to work in the music business. Her song, "Like a Phoenix in the Air," expresses her desire to rise above her past struggles with alcohol, psychedelic drugs and marijuana.

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Entertainment journalist and author Valerie Tejeda spends her days reporting on books, television, and all things pertaining to pop culture, and spends her nights writing novels for teens. Her stories have appeared on a variety of different publications, including but not limited to: VanityFair, MTV, The Huffington Post, TeenVogue, She Knows, Latina, The Fix,, Cosmopolitan, and more. You can find Valerie on Linkedin and Twitter.