Working with and giving back to troubled teens through Tokii Teens At-Risk, Karla Stephens-Tolstoy, CEO of Tokii, was looking for another way to reach out to them. She knew that many of the teen addicts also suffer from ADHD. This posed a unique challenge; how could Karla reach an ADHD teen addicted to drugs? She turned to music and decided to have a song written just for them. Her hope was that listening to the beat and lyrics would be a be a way for them to learn that they have options other than choosing drugs.
Karla turned to singer/song writer, David Lipari, for help, and A Day in the Life of a Teen Addict was born.
David understands, first hand, the unfortunate and all-too-common problems surrounding teen addicts. As he wrote the song, he was channeling his own experiences as a teen struggling with substance abuse. For him, writing the song, took him back to that painful time in his life. So, he’s really singing it to himself and to other addicts he’s known through his life.
The inspiration behind the lyrics came to him once he had the basic idea of what the spirit of the song was. He envisioned a “main character”, a troubled teen, in need of help. He saw himself as another character, screaming and reaching out. The deeper into the lyrics he traveled, he realized it was the image of himself, as a young addict, in need of saving. It was as if he had traveled back in time to help save himself.
The song is not written in a typical chorus and verse style. David wanted it to be more narrative; almost like a play or a scene in a musical. For him, it’s a more powerful way of getting across true emotion and really delivering his message musically. He feels that being a vulnerable teen is almost like a handicap. “At that age you just don’t know what’s truly best for yourself.” -David. For this reason, he says prevention is of the utmost importance.
David’s hope for the song is that it will not only raise awareness of a serious problem affecting teens, but will open and awaken some minds that may need saving. As an artist and performer, David says, “sell the point…sell the emotion and make everyone listening feel the notes and the words within them.” According to David, “there is no more powerful art form/medium than music. It quickly reaches you on a cerebral level and on a spiritual one as well.”
When Karla first heard the song, she loved it, as the story is so close to the story the teens share with her. Karla feels, “The song conveys the message of their struggle and that it’s really hard to beat addiction.” She wishes more people could listen to it and really hear the message; these teens need real help.
Music packs a punch and stays with you. It’s universal. And, it’s the sound that moves us. In the case of Teen Addicts, it’s the hope that it moves them in a more positive direction.
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