MENDHAM, NJ – Cranford High School senior Justin Witwick took third place in the 14th Annual New Jersey Shout Down Drugs Prevention Concert for his performance of his original song, “Fade Away.”

The concert tasked students to create and perform songs that promote drug prevention among their peers.

“My inspiration was the fact that some of my friends participate in those sort of drugs and it hurts to see what they've turned into,” Witwick said. “There was just one night where I just got inspiration and all the lyrics came to me.”

Sign Up for E-News

Witwick was one of 17 finalists who earned a spot in the concert after performing for a panel of independent judges and an online vote. With his win, he received a $2,000 music contract to perform his song in events throughout the state over the next year.

“It was terrifying,” Witwick said of the performance. “During my warm up and sound check, I was a little nervous and I messed up so much on my song, but being in the back room with everyone made me so comfortable and warmed me up so much and allowed my range to be ready.”

In the fall, Witwick will attend the University of Delaware to study music education. He started singing his freshman year of high school and enjoys writing choral arrangements and songs for himself, he said.

On October 20, Witwick will perform “Fade Away” in Nomahegan Park. He’s unsure of his other performances, he said.