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12 Neurodivergent Grammy Nominees

This year’s list of Grammy Award nominees includes so many neurodivergent power hitters — Billie Eilish, Ariana Grande, Doja Cat, Kanye West, Selena Gomez, and others — that we’re sure we missed some on the list below.

Billie Eilish
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Billie Eilish

Grammy Nominations: Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Pop Solo Performance, Best Pop Vocal Album, Best Music Video, Best Music Film

One week after accepting the Oscar for Best Original Song, 20-year-old Billie Eilish will take the stage to perform with her brother, Finneas, at the 2022 Grammy Awards — and compete for seven trophies, including those for Song of the Year and Record of the Year for "Happier Than Ever."

Eilish, who won Record of the Year in 2020 and 2021, revealed four years ago that she was diagnosed as a child with Tourette Syndrome, writing on Instagram, “My Tourettes makes easy things a lot harder. Certain things increase and/or trigger the intensity of my tics, but it’s something I grew up with and I’m used to. My family and closest friends know it is a part of me.”

It is estimated that 60% of children with Tourette Syndrome also have ADHD.

Ariana Grande
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Ariana Grande

Grammy Nominations: Best Pop Solo Performance, Best Pop Vocal Album

In May 2017, a suicide bomber murdered 22 fans of singer Ariana Grande — many of them children and teens — during her performance in Manchester, England. The trauma from that terrorist attack has left Grande with anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, a diagnosis she revealed in 2019 by posting an image of her brain scan on Instagram. The 28-year-old pop icon has written about her experience, including in the 2018 single “Get Well Soon,” and she continues to give voice to the struggles of living with PTSD even while collecting Grammy nods for Positions, her sixth studio album, as well as her collaborations with Doja Cat and Demi Levato, among others.

New research suggests that individuals with ADHD face an elevated risk for PTSD, and vice versa.

Doja Cat
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Doja Cat

Grammy Nominations: Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, Best Pop Vocal Album, Best Melodic Rap Performance, Best Rap Song

With eight Grammy nominations, Doja Cat (Amala Dlamini) has tied with H.E.R. as the most nominated female artist this year — earning an industry-topping accolade just 10 years after posting her first, GarageBand-mixed songs to SoundCloud. In a 2021 interview with Rolling Stone, the 26-year-old singer/rapper explained that she dropped out of high school at 16, in part, because she struggled with ADHD. “It felt like I was stuck in one spot and everybody else was progressing constantly,” she said.

What followed was “a period of artistic awakening,” she told Rolling Stone, wherein she taught herself to sing and rap, and scoured YouTube for beats. Now, her most recent album, Planet Her, is in the running along with its jaw-dropping 10 hit singles, including “Need to Know” and “Kiss Me More.”

According to a study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, teens with ADHD are less likely than their neurotypical peers to graduate from high school on time.

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Kanye “Ye” West

Grammy Nominations: Album of the Year, Best Melodic Rap Performance, Best Rap Song, Best Rap Album

Grammy nominee Kanye West is up for five 2022 awards, but you won’t see him perform on April 3. The rapper, now known as Ye, was reportedly banned from taking the stage due to his “concerning” social media behavior. In his 20-year solo career, West has sold more than 160 million records and won 22 Grammy Awards — tying for 10th place in the history of the awards.

West, 44, opened up in recent years about his mental health struggles, including his battle with substance abuse and his 2018 diagnosis of bipolar disorder, which he says is “not a disability; it’s a superpower.” A new three-part Netflix documentary, “Jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy,” reveals what life is like for West as he navigates fame living with bipolar disorder and using medication to manage the disorder.

Kim Kardashian, who is seeking a divorce from West, has publicly requested compassion for the Grammy-winning artist regarding his outbursts and erratic behavior over the years.

Approximately 10 million people in the United States have bipolar disorder, which co-occurs with ADHD at comorbidity rates estimated between 5.1% and 47.1%1

Sources

1 Katzman, M. A., Bilkey, T. S., Chokka, P. R., Fallu, A., & Klassen, L. J. (2017). Adult ADHD and comorbid disorders: clinical implications of a dimensional approach. BMC psychiatry, 17(1), 302. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12888-017-1463-3

Selena Gomez
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Selena Gomez

Grammy Nomination: Best Latin Pop Album

Just months before the 2021 debut of the Hulu show “Only Murders in the Building,” in which she stars alongside Martin Short and Steve Martin, Selena Gomez released the Spanish-language album Revelación, which has earned the artist her first Grammy nomination.

Gomez, 29, began acting at age 10 and has released three previous solo albums. She also advocates for mental health awareness and publicly shares her struggles with anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder on social media and beyond. In November 2021, she launched Wondermind, a mental-health platform for women co-founded with her mother, Mandy Teefey, and The Newsette founder and CEO Daniella Pierson. Wondermind aims to end the stigma around mental illnesses by connecting people with educational resources.

“I understand what it's like to be confused and not really understand where your feelings and emotions are coming from. I live with bipolar — I don't suffer from it anymore. I'm really happy and proud of the progress I have made,” Gomez said in a video posted on the website.

Her cosmetics company, Rare Beauty, launched the Rare Impact Fund in July 2020 with a goal to raise $100 million over 10 years to fund mental-health education. “With the Rare Impact Fund, we want to reduce the stigma associated with mental health, address the epidemic of chronic loneliness, and help give people access to the resources and services they need to support their mental well-being,” Gomez wrote for CNN in 2020.

Justin Bieber
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Justin Bieber

Grammy Nominations: Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Pop Solo Performance, Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, Best Pop Vocal Album, Best R&B Performance, Best Music Video

Two-time Grammy Award winner Justin Bieber, 28, candidly discusses living with ADHD, depression, and anxiety in the media and on social media platforms. (He even posts pictures of his therapy sessions on Instagram.) This year Bieber is up for eight Grammys, including Best R&B Performance for “Peaches” and Album of the Year for Justice (Triple Chucks Deluxe), tying with Doja Cat and H.E.R. for the second-most nominations this year.

Many people with ADHD have one or more comorbidity — additional diagnosis — such as depression, anxiety, a learning difference, oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), or other conditions.

Cardi B
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Cardi B

Grammy Nomination: Best Rap Performance

If Cardi B wins Best Rap Performance for her single “Up,” she will become just the third woman to win a Grammy in the Best Rap Performance category. That’s quite an honor, and one Cardi B, 29, wouldn’t take lightly. The rapper opened up about her anxiety to Sway Colloway on the SiriusXM radio show "Sway in the Morning" in 2018 and has posted on Twitter about her anxiety struggles. After the 2019 birth of her child, Kulture, Cardi B revealed that she suffered from postpartum depression.

According to a 2020 study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), postpartum depression, and climacteric mood symptoms disproportionately impact women with ADHD.

Lady Gaga
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Lady Gaga

Grammy Nominations: Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album, Best Engineered Album - Non-Classical, Best Music Video

A fierce and outspoken advocate for mental health, Lady Gaga launched a decade ago the Born This Way Foundation, a non-profit organization that “supports the mental health of young people and works with them to build a kinder and braver world.” Earlier this month, Born This Way introduced a free online mental health course “designed to increase mental health literacy and provide you with the knowledge, skills, and confidence needed to safely support anyone who may be struggling with their mental health.”

The 36-year-old entertainment powerhouse — winner of 12 Grammy Awards, an Academy Award, two Golden Globes, and countless other commendations — has spoken publicly about her decades-long battle with anxiety, depression, and PTSD resulting from sexual abuse and assault in her teen years. In a 2020 interview with Oprah Winfrey, she said, “I want us to understand the brain and get on the same page about it so Gen Z does not have to deal with this the way we are right now. Mental health is a crisis."

Ed Sheeran
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Ed Sheeran

Grammy Nominations: Song of the Year

British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran, 31, who was nominated for Song of the Year for “Bad Habits,” says his family and friends are convinced he has ADHD, though he has not been formally diagnosed.

Sheeran told the UK edition of The Sun in 2019 that he struggles with social anxiety, calling it “crippling.” “I don’t like large groups of people, which is ironic given I play shows to thousands of people,” he says. Anxiety “creeps up on you. I’ve been working on it for eight years.”

He sings about anxiety in his hit single with Justin Bieber called “I Don’t Care.” The lyrics include this: “With all these people all around, I’m crippled with anxiety. But I’m told it’s where I’m supposed to be.”

Social anxiety disorder is common among adults with ADHD, who may experience weak executive functions, lagging social skills, and a lifetime of criticism.

Carrie Underwood
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Carrie Underwood

Grammy Nominations: Best Country Duo/Group Performance, Best Roots Gospel Album

Since Carrie Underwood won “American Idol” in 2005, she has risen to prominence as a country music superstar. But her status may change to include country — and gospel — music superstar if she wins the Grammy for Best Roots Gospel Album for My Savior, her first gospel album. The 39-year-old mother was also nominated for Best Country Duo/Group Performance for “If I Didn’t Love You” with Jason Aldean. To date, she has won seven Grammy awards.

Underwood was diagnosed with primarily hyperactive-impulsive ADHD at age 5. According to the DSM, people with primarily hyperactive-impulsive ADHD act “as if driven by a motor” with little impulse control — moving, squirming, and talking at even the most inappropriate times. They are impulsive, impatient, and interrupt others. Learn more about the sub-types of ADHD here.

Brandi Carlile
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Brandi Carlile

Grammy Nominations: Record of the Year, Song of the Year (twice!), Best Pop Solo Performance, Best American Roots Performance

Echoes of the standing ovation following Brandi Carlile’s 2019 Grammy performance of “The Joke” (for which she won three Grammys that year) are still ringing through the Staples Center. (That note!) A seminal voice of her generation, Carlile revealed in her 2021 autobiography, Broken Horses, that she was diagnosed with ADHD as a teenager and that she feels her symptoms of hyperactivity and distractibility negatively impacted her academic career.

“I was skipping many of my classes for fear of the embarrassment of my classmates watching me walk into the special-education classes,” Carlile, now 40, wrote about the period before she dropped out of high school during her sophomore year. She pursued music full-time and released her self-titled debut album at age 24. Since then, she has won six Grammy Awards and 10 additional Americana and Country awards.

Dave Grohl, Foo Fighters
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Dave Grohl, Foo Fighters

Grammy Nominations: Best Rock Song, Best Rock Album, Best Rock Performance

Dave Grohl began playing guitar at age 12. By 15, he had taught himself how to play drums. Two years later, he dropped out of high school to play drums in a punk band. At age 21, he auditioned for a little-known Seattle outfit called Nirvana. And the rest is rock history.

The son of a school teacher, Grohl spoke out about his ADHD in a 2020 YouTube monologue called “In Defense of Teachers,” in which he said this: “Each day, I desperately waited for the final bell to ring so that I could be released from the confines of my stuffy, windowless classroom and run home to my guitar. It was no fault of the Fairfax County Public Schools system, mind you; it did the best it could. I was just stubbornly disengaged, impeded by a raging case of ADD and an insatiable desire to play music. Far from being a model student, I tried my best to maintain focus, but eventually left school halfway through 11th grade to follow my dreams of becoming a professional touring musician. (Not advised.)”

Grohl, now 53, has accumulated 40 Grammy nominations — including one win for his work with Nirvana and 12 additional wins for his work with Foo Fighters, the band he founded in 1994 following the death of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain.

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