HERMOSA BEACH, Calif. — Alyssa Grace, who grew up in Torrance, was in Hermosa Beach recently filming a video for her new song "What's a Girl to You?" For the 13-year-old, her songs are her means of self-expression and her way of coping with anxiety and ADHD. Grace said she writes songs about things she wants to say, and that often addresses topics like identity and bullying, which she frequently dealt with while growing up.

"I would show that [the bullying] didn't hurt me, but then I'd go home, and I would bawl my eyes, and I would have a really hard time," Grace said. "People don't understand that not everyone's lives are perfect and that [bullying] just makes it even harder on people."

What You Need To Know

  • Alyssa Grace grew up in Torrance and started songwriting at age 8

  • Grace was bullied growing up and said songwriting helped her cope

  • Grace has been dealing with anxiety and ADHD and often addresses these issues in her work

  • Some 40 million Americans suffer from anxiety disorders, but only 37% seek treatment, despite being highly treatable​

Grace learned to play guitar from her grandfather, and at age 8, she started writing songs about her own experiences.

"It was a really cheesy song about how people will not bring me down," she said.

In November, Grace released a video for her song "Breathe," which in the current anxiety-laden world is a call to take a moment to, well, breath. Grace said the acts of writing and singing have been a great coping mechanism for her.

"I would always feel this energy just making me feel good about myself," she said.

Anxiety disorders are said to affect some 40 million Americans, and although highly treatable, only 37% seek treatment, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

"When I have anxiety, there's a bunch of bad thoughts running in my head," Grace explained. "What if this happens? What if that happens? What if I do something wrong that affects someone? And it's just always overwhelming thoughts just keep playing in my head."

Grace did seek treatment, and one of the exercises her therapist gave her was to keep a "thought diary" to help her get some perspective on the negative thoughts she was thinking.

"I write down what I'm thinking, I read it over and over and over again, and then when I read it over and over again, I just think that it's silly," she said.

Since her song "Breathe" was released online, Grace said the response has been overwhelmingly positive. 

"People have been coming up to me saying that [the song] has been helping them," she said. "I'm really glad that it does because music is the way that helps me get through things."

Grace hopes she can lead by example through her work and encourage other young people to be their authentic selves.

"Do what you want to do because that's what helps me get through," Grace said. "Be silly with your friends. We need to find the right people because if you're around negative energy, then it's going to bring your spirit down." 

For those looking for a little musical inspiration during a stressful time, Alyssa Grace's work is available online. Her latest video, "What's a Girl to You?" will drop later this year.