Arts & Culture

Alumnus contributes to Grammy-winning children’s album

University of West Florida (UWF) graduate, Michael DeMaria, 82’ was a contributing artist on the Grammy-winning children’s album, “All About Bullies… Big and Small.” The winners were announced Feb. 12 at the Grammy’s in California. This is DeMaria’s fourth Grammy nomination and his first win. His album titled, “Gaia,” was nominated for Best New-Age Album of the Year for 2011.

“Having been an advocate for children for close to three decades and having been a victim of bullying myself growing up, it is a project near and dear to my heart, and I couldn’t be more proud and humbled to be part of a Grammy winning project that has such an uplifting and positive message,” said DeMaria.

One hundred percent of the proceeds from the children’s album will go to the Pacer Center’s National Bullying Prevention Center, which is located in Minnesota.

DeMaria graduated with dual bachelor’s degrees just after turning 20 years old in psychology and philosophy, and earned Magna Cum Laude in both degrees. Upon graduation, he went to work for Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties as the Child Protection Team Psychologist, and he served on the Florida State Legislative Task Force for child abuse.  DeMaria also holds a master’s degree in psychology and a doctorate in clinical psychology from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pa.

In the years following, DeMaria embarked on a journey to learn how to help others through a more holistic approach to health, wellness and personal growth. His journey included spending time absorbing Native American healing practices on a Blackfoot Indian reservation in Canada, as well as learning from healers and musicians from Australia and Africa.

He spent countless hours developing his personal practice, which was founded in 1998. Currently, DeMaria’s practice, Ontos, which is Greek for “being,” is in downtown Pensacola, where he continues to use music as a healing tool for his patients.

“Music has the ability to get past our ego defenses and touch your heart in ways that nothing else can. It quiets the mind, opens the heart and heals the soul,” said DeMaria.

His mission is to help others live more creative, meaningful and conscious lives by integrating heart, mind, body and soul in the healing process and by cultivating each person’s individual journey toward wholeness.

“The most rewarding part about what I do is having the freedom and opportunity to do what I love with the mission of helping others through creating music, plays, books and poetry that give a message of peace and healing not only for the individual, but for society as a whole,” he said.

For more information about Michael Brant DeMaria, Ph.D., visit

For more information about the PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center, visit