Lacey teen wins $5,000 music contract in state competition
LACEY — Life has been pretty busy lately for 18-year-old Nickolas Alu. In recent weeks, he has won a $5,000 music contract in a songwriting contest, performed the prize-winning tune in Atlantic City and also graduated high school.
“I used to do drugs and I quit, but I wanted to get involved with getting a message out not to start,” Alu said. His song and performances can be found on YouTube, where he goes by the name of Nick Nubz.
Alu took first place in the Shout Down Drugs songwriting contest with his rap song, “Use Your Voice.” The contest is sponsored by the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey.
He was the only finalist from Ocean County and his entry was among 78 in the contest this year, according to Diane Higgins, special projects coordinator for the partnership.
The program receives a grant from the Drug Enforcement Demand Reduction fund, which Higgins said comes from drug enforcement fines and not taxpayers. The contest is also sponsored by Comcast Cable and NBC Universal.
Alu is pursuing a career in music. He attended the Ocean County Vocational-Technical School in Lakehurst for audio production this year, as well as his classes at Lacey High School.
High school counselor Kathy Manuwald said of Alu, “I’ve known him for four years now, and this contest win will open doors for him.”
William Zylinski, the high school’s principal, said, “We are very proud of him doing something to keep other kids away from drugs. We are happy that one of our own won this contest. It shows you just what he’s really about.”
Manuwald said Alu participated in the contest last year.
“We get excited when we have repeat performers, as it shows that they enjoyed the experience and want to try again. They have to submit a new song, and songwriting is not easy,” Higgins said.
Alu performed before the New Jersey Broadcasters Association in Atlantic City on June 13. “I met Steve Forbes of Forbes magazine there. It was fun,” he said.
Higgins said Alu received a $5,000 music contract that involves five performances of his song at locations within the state during the year.
“Along with our judges we also have online voting, and this year we had 150,000 votes cast from all over the country and other countries. This is the eighth year for the program.”
Alu performed his song at a Lacey Township Committee meeting on June 14. Mayor Mark Dykoff called him “a very talented young man.’’
Bob Vosseller: 732-557-5623; firstname.lastname@example.org