The sweet peace he finds in music is one of the reasons 17-year-old Tony Nelson loves being in his school's chorus. It's soothing to his soul.
"Music makes me happy. I listen to music. If I'm ever sad or down, I listen to music, put my ear pods in and pretend like nothing's in the world, just my music, me and my music," explains Nelson.
Tony's had to tune out a lot. He's bounced from one foster home to another since he was a kid, never knowing what it feels like to belong.
"I wanted to feel like all the other kids at the school I was going to. They're like, Oh, my mom was gonna give me this, or my mom gives me that and I'm like, in my head. I'm like, I don't really know them. But then outside I was like, well, that's cool. I wish I can have that," says Nelson.
Through it all he's tried his best to stay positive. It's why his school nominated him for this public pat on the back.
Ondrea Haydel, Sickles High School counselor says, "He has always been a sweet spirit. Tony is resilient. He has come back from a lot of things that yes, a lot of other students or other kids might think that would just take me out. But for him, he bounces back, he has that ability to, even when times get hard, he bounces back. And we call that resilience."
Tony's focused on channeling his pain into purpose, writing beautiful lyrics, inspired by his ugly past.
"So you guys can see me a joker to the other kids because I'd be filling uses to the deck where they be placing bids. Lucid Dreaming about the girl I always wanted to be stung by bees always getting bullied getting tired," Nelson said reading his lyrics.
Nelson explains, "It pretty much describes my life that I went to. When I was a kid, when I was little, I used to get bullied because it's really bad. It's terrible to get bullied because I didn't know my parents," says Nelson.
Tony was adopted in 2019.
"Um, feels pretty amazing. Honestly. I've never really had that type of feeling," says Nelson about the feeling of being wanted.