The 2020 Grammy Awards: 6 Musicians With Diabetes

The 2020 Grammy Awards: 6 Musicians With Diabetes - One Drop

It’s the greatest night in the world of music! It’s the 2020 Grammys.

While the annual awards show highlights the musicians that have perfectly fine-tuned their craft, we’re here to showcase the ones -- both past and present -- who have managed to balance their life on the road with diabetes.

Take a look below at some of our favorite musicians with diabetes!

1. Bret Michaels

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When Bret Michaels was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 6, he remembers (like most of us diagnosed as kids) seeing his dad cry for the first time. But he also remembers “when I was in the hospital I was totally having fun.

Fast forward to 1988 and he was still having loads of fun with Billboard No. 1 hit "Every Rose Has Its Thorn." The Poison frontman has made a name for himself in the world of rock ‘n roll, but he’s also a huge advocate for diabetes awareness.

When it comes to diabetes management, Bret is all about rolling with the punches:

“The other day we were playing a show and we were in the middle of it, and I said, ‘Forgive me, everyone.’ I told them to enjoy a song from my band, and I went and checked blood sugar. Rather than freaking or hiding it, I just took care of it. The arena laughed, I took some juice, and I came back on stage.”


2. Nick Jonas

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The Jonas Brothers -- in epic comeback fashion -- are not only performing at this year’s Grammys, they’re also nominated

Nick, the youngest of the trio, is the one with type 1 diabetes. He’s been very outspoken about T1D since his diagnosis, at the age 13 while on tour. And he never let it stop him.

Since his diagnosis, the Jonas Brothers picked up their 1st Grammy nomination and Nick went off on his solo career. Not only that, but he’s one of the founders of our partner organization, Beyond Type 1.

On touring, living, and thriving with diabetes, Nick says:

“I have full control of my day to day life with this disease, and I’m so grateful to my family and loved ones who have helped me every step of the way. Never let anything hold you back from living your best life.”


3. Aretha Franklin

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Soul songstress Aretha Franklin wowed crowds around the world for over 60 years while piling up all sorts of Grammy wins and being the first woman inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

But all that performing and entertaining caused Franklin to put her health on the backburner:

“It happens after an energetic concert. You're hungry, you eat, you don't sit up and let it digest. I was not disciplined about my eating habits. I was used to eating very fattening foods all day, whenever I wanted to."

That lifestyle eventually led to type 2 diabetes. Aretha knew something had to change.

After losing 85 pounds, Aretha got back to eating healthy and managing her diabetes like a pro, allowing her to get back on tour. Sadly, pancreatic cancer took our Queen of Soul in 2018, but RESPECT and love for our Soul Sister live on.


4. Sheku Kanneh-Mason

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If you know anything about the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle, you know that while the couple was busy tidying up official marriage papers, a young man entertained the audience with a solid (and emotional) cello performance.

What you may not know, though, is that that young man, then-19-year-old Sheku Kanneh-Mason, has type 1 diabetes. 💥

Not only is Sheku now the highest-charting cellist in Official UK Chart history, he’s a pro when it comes to managing diabetes while managing an intense performance schedule. As long as he sticks to his routine -- checking blood sugars and dosing insulin -- everything else moves right along.

When it comes to raising diabetes awareness, Sheku is front and center. Not only is he an official JDRF Ambassador, he’s also an advocate for all:

“I want to inspire everyone living with type 1 diabetes to pursue their passions and follow their dreams.”


5. Este Haim

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Rock n' Roll maven Este Haim is perhaps the greatest bassist you'll ever see (or hear). Just take a look at this! She embodies everything it takes to be one of the most lauded bassists of our time.

She and sisters Danielle and Alana make up all-female rock band HAIM, which is pop-rock perfection. It's been lauded as the 21st-century’s version of Fleetwood Mac.

Este, on top of her killer bass skills, also has type 1 diabetes. Diagnosed at age 14, she rocks out hardcore with her sisters while constantly managing her diabetes. What’s more, she is extremely (and heroically) vocal about her diabetes and what it does to mental health.

What tips does this diabadass bassist (she’s challenged Niles Rogers to a bass off) have when it comes to managing diabetes?

“Eating good healthy food is a part of the big puzzle and walking after you eat too. Taking a stroll for like 20 minutes really helps. Just trying to stay positive and happy works as well. I know it sounds cheesy but when you really concentrate on having a positive outlook on things I found it was easier for me to maintain my diabetes and not get down on myself.”


6. David Crosby

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A founding member of both The Byrds and Crosby, Stills, and Nash (and eventually, Young), David Crosby is a legend in the world of Classic Rock.

He’s also up for a Grammy win this year with a nomination for Best Music Film for Remember My Name, his “existentially probing rock documentar[y].” In the film, Crosby reflects on all the grandiose life questions -- quite the undertaking at age 77 -- and reveals that he’s got a lot more left to give.

Like giving out advice to people living with diabetes. He would be a good go-to: Crosby has had type 1 diabetes for over 40 years.

What kind of advice does a pro-T1D give?

“With diabetes, your goal is to have a hemoglobin A1C of under 7. I’ve been there for three years. The weight thing is central critical to diabetes. That’s why people are going type 2 diabetic all over the country now. It’s just because they are eating crap food largely because all of the packaged foods, all of them, every cereal they make, is full of high fructose corn syrup. Bad. The worst kind of sugar. And they put it in all the packaged foods, all of the bread. It’s bad for you. It’s crap. But they also are just feeding you too much food. The portions are too big. The Western Europeans have got it right. You shouldn’t be eating more than what you can fit in your hand.”  


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Mary Elizabeth Adams
Jan 24, 2020

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