EDM Star Illenium Pens Message About Heroin Addiction Struggles

By Paul Gaita 08/09/18

The producer and EDM artist became sober after a heroin overdose six years ago.

Photo via YouTube

Producer and electronic dance music (EDM) artist Illenium revealed to fans his struggle with heroin dependency that helped to inspire his current single "Take You Down."

The open letter, which was posted on his Twitter feed and website, detailed the impact that his dependency had on his career and personal life, as well as an overdose that occurred six years ago.

Having gained sobriety after the overdose, Illenium wrote that he hoped listeners that might be going through similar issues "find peace in their struggles" and thanked those that had shared their experiences with him.

Born Nicholas D. Miller in Chicago, Illinois, Illenium has enjoyed a rapid rise to stardom, beginning in 2013 with a self-titled EP and later, his studio album debut with 2016's Ashes.

It was quickly followed by a second album, Awake, in 2017, and collaborations with fellow EDM artists Kill the Noise and Mako on the single "Don't Give Up on Me," and with Excision ("Gold (Stupid Love)"). Miller issued the statement about the song and his experiences on August 1, two days before the official release of "Take You Down." 

In the letter, Miller cites stories from his fans about their own personal struggles as the impetus for sharing his experiences with them.

"Some of you have said my music changed your life, helped you through depression, addiction, a lost love one, the list goes on," he wrote. "Honestly, I feel bad because you don't know how much that truly means to me, because I've been there, too… In the depths."

According to Miller, his issues with opiates began at a young age, and culminated in an overdose six years ago—approximately a year before the release of his self-titled EP. "I was trapped in [dependency], no passion, no direction, and truly hated myself," he wrote.

But with gaining sobriety—which came after the overdose—and the ascent of his career, came a sense of salvation through his music. "I'm not telling you to preach or say how I found some magical cure or that everyone needs to live like I do," he wrote. "I'm just sharing my story and relating because music saved my life, too."

Although he noted that "Take You Down" is about his dependency, Miller also wrote that the track is about the toll taken on families and those who love the individual who is in crisis.

He also stated that the song is also about his mother, who "never gave up on me and always continued to see the good" in him. Miller concluded the letter by thanking his fans for sharing their lives with him, as well as the fervent hope that they know "that anything can be overcome."

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Paul Gaita lives in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Weekly, Amazon.com and The Los Angeles Beat, among many other publications and websites.