Music Teacher’s Toolkit Series – Lyric Writing

Show, don’t tell, Jason Blume’s lyrical AID

In this lyric writing series we give music teachers guidance on supporting their pupils with lyric writing – the technique of showing your listener a ‘scene unfolding’ rather than simply telling your audience how the singer feels.

American songwriter Jason Blume, who’s had hits with Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys, says whilst there are no rules to songwriting, ‘there are tools’ to help you craft that perfect hit.

And all you need is a simple AID – action, imagery, detail.


Use verbs (action or doing words) to help illustrate what is going on in your song. For example, instead of saying ‘I miss you and I’m sad’, try and ‘show what missing someone and being sad’ looks like :

  • ‘I wipe the tears falling from my eyes’
  • ‘I clutch a tear stained picture of you’
  • ‘I drove by where we first met’
  • ‘I couldn’t walk through the door where we said our last goodbye’

The action words are ‘wipe’ ‘clutch’ ‘drove’ ‘walk’.

And instead of saying ‘I love you’ or ‘I’m in love’, why not show what a person in love does?

  • ‘I wrote our names inside a heart, engraved upon a tree’
  • ‘I hand picked and carried home 100 flowers for you and put a vase in every room’
  • ‘I sing your name like a favourite song’

The action words are ‘wrote’ ‘picked’ ‘carried’ and ‘sing’.

Write a list of action words down before starting on your next song and try and use at least 5 of them in your next song to show what your feeling.


Blume says ‘whilst you cannot see heartbreak you can see the images and actions that convey that a person is heartbroken’:

  • ‘She fell to her knees, laying flowers on his grave’
  • ‘He kisses her photo’
  • ‘His tears hit the floor like a waterfall of pain’

The images are ‘knees’ ‘flowers’ ‘grave’ ‘photo’ ‘tears’ ‘floor’ ‘waterfall’. Blume also states that by including ‘tangible items’ and nouns in your lyrics like ‘furniture, clothing, a car, a house, a specific place, food, you enable your audience to enter your song.’

Along with your list of action words, try and write down a list of images and every day nouns to try and include in your next song.


This is the third part of AID that will help you to show your listener what is going on in your song. This time we’re searching for adjectives (describing words) and adverbs (describing verbs) to help the listener visualise your song more clearly. For example, if we were to go one step further with some of our examples from the Imagery section above and add a bit more detail to the floor, or the grave, you have something like this…

  • ‘She falls to her knees on the cold, muddy ground and lays white lilies on his grave’
  • ‘He tenderly kisses the photo of their wedding day in his old rocking chair
  • ‘His bitter tears slowly hit the wooden floor of his kitchen, like a cascading waterfall of pain’

Even with a few additional adjectives and adverbs, the scenes are much clearer to visualise; you can hear the creak of the old rocking chair, you can taste the bitter tears that fall onto the floor and see him in the kitchen, you can feel the cold muddy ground that she falls to – instantly you have transported your listener directly into the scene of your song, as if they are there with the singer, watching over what is happening.

So next time you’re stuck for lyrics, all you need is a little AID to help you on your way.

Enter your songs into our Young Songwriter 2018 competition before the 8th April.


Music Teacher’s Toolkit Series – Top Tips For Writing Hits!

Our Young Songwriter 2018 competition is open for entries until the 8th April.

If your pupils are new to songwriting here are a few top tips to be heard above the noise…

  1. Pick an interesting title
    Even if you are talking about a mundane, everyday occasion or feeling, make it interesting. Compare a heartbeat to a flashing light or the feeling of losing fear by roaring it away – the more inventive the concept around the ordinary, the better. Think of recent hits Dark Horse, Wrecking Ball, Pompeii – interesting titles and concepts talking about everyday feelings to do with fear, love and empowerment.
  2. Make the first four lines agree with your title
    The great songwriter Ralph Murphy says it very well in his books on the laws of songwriting – if the first four lines of your first verse can link back to your title then you’re onto a winner. Take for example Roar:

I used to bite my tongue and hold my breath
Scared to rock the boat and make a mess
So I sat quietly
Agreed politely
.. Now you’re gonna hear me roar

You create an expectation, and then you fulfil it. By doing this, you never lose sight of the message of your song, you keep in mind what you’re trying to say by always referring back to the title, thus never losing your listeners’ attention or the concept you’re expressing in your song.

  1. Playing around with a major or minor scale for new melodies
    Everyone know the monotonous sound of a scale being practised up and down and up and down – but if you’re stuck for melodies, why not try and take notes out of the scale and use those to bounce ideas off?

For example, if we take the c major scale of CDEFGABC, why not try picking out certain notes and changing the order; CDGCDFCB.  Play around with different combinations until your find the melody you’re looking for? You can choose any scale you like in major or minor.

  1. Hooks
    It has been said that the most successful ABBA songs have 5 hooks in each of their songs. A hook is a musical idea, melodic instrumental part, rhythmic phrase or a vowel/consonant sound or word repeated, that catches the ear of the listener to draw them into the song and helps to create its ‘catchiness’. According to popular commercial music today, the more hooks you can introduce throughout the song, the catchier it will be, because it’s constantly enticing the listener and, most importantly, keeping them interested. Listen to the start of Dancing Queen and the vocal ahhs and piano part before the hooky first line of the chorus, or Jessie J’s Price Tag (It’s all about the money, money, money/We don’t need your money, money, money) and try and think about hooks for your own song, either lyrically, repeating the main message of the song (e.g. Roar or Burn) or melodically, on an instrument or vocal oohs or aahs.
  2. Detail
    If you are listening to a song and the singer sings

You wore that shirt
In spring
In the sunshine

that’s all well and good. But if they were to add a bit more detail, you’d instantly have a much clearer vision of the setting which the singer is remembering and sharing with you, the listener:

You wore that dark blue shirt
On April 5th
In the warm spring sunshine

Instantly, there is context, there is detail, there is a picture in your mind and you can see what you are hearing. Imagery in songs is hugely powerful because once there is a description being sung to you, you can imagine it and therefore feel more involved in the song itself. And that’s what songs do, they connect people, they provide solace for people to know that they are not the only ones who feel or think a certain way, and all of these emotions and thoughts are translated to the masses by the medium of songwriting.

So to sum up, our top tips for writing hits are – create an interesting title, make the first four lines agree with your title, play around with your melodies, create hooks and get descriptive!  Have a play and we’re looking forward to listening to your pupils’ songs.  Enter our Young Songwriter 2018 competition before the 8th April.

Song Academy Supports Creative Music Education…

Enriching young people’s musical knowledge, fostering self-belief and giving opportunities to showcase their creative & musical talents & build sustainable careers in the music industry

In today’s world, being creative isn’t easy. There are so many technological distractions which can easily cut children off from the real world and encourage them to live in a game and social media world. But supposing your child had something they wanted to share but didn’t know how to express it? Or what if they were afraid that their creativity would be laughed at or frowned upon? Or they are starting a new school and have worries but feel embarrassed or unable to talk about them directly, or perhaps they’ve lost someone close or quarrelled with a friend and don’t know how to express their emotions? This is where Song Academy can come in – a place where children learn to write their own songs about whatever they like.

Music and especially songwriting is a powerful tool when it comes to expressing emotions. Songs are often written from the heart – whether joyful or sorrowful – and the very act of composing and writing lyrics and melodies can be very cathartic. Indeed the Ancient Greeks believed if you had sorrow and you wrote it down in a song for Apollo he would take away the pain! Many musicians and therapists believe that songwriting is a great way to discover and process feelings of all kinds – hope, fear, joy, sorrow, excitement, anxiety which can all be uncovered as children learn to play with words and melodies. The physical act of writing down what they are feeling can help children distance themselves from worries and fears as well as express wishes, hopes and dreams.

Song Academy is not a run-of-the-mill after school songwriting club; it is a safe, creative environment which offers children the opportunity to write out and sing their feelings, expressing themselves freely through song. They get the unique opportunity to write with others, understand how other children might be feeling, and so learn how to be sensitive towards others, as well as exposing them to a multitude of different view points and ways of life. Also, they are learning how to sing, how to perform to an audience, both individually and in a group, which helps them gain confidence whilst extending their knowledge of music theory & composition in a fun, exciting environment.

The Song Academy staff are all young enthusiastic professional songwriters and musicians who delight in helping children find their own words, melodies and voice.

For the gifted young songwriters our international Young Songwriter competition offers a unique platform to get their songs heard by key players in the music industry and stand out for their creative and musical talents.  The SAYS18 entry deadline is the 8th April.

Song Academy supports music education and is a powerful extension to the music curriculum in schools as well as the English and PSHE curriculums, through running songwriting clubs and workshops in primary & secondary schools.

SAYS18 Judges – Awards, Inspiration and top tips for hit songs

At the launch of SAYS 2018, Song Academy takes a closer look at the awards, inspiration and top tips for hit songs from a selection of this year’s judging panel: Tom Odell, Guy Chambers, Imelda May, Lucie Silvas and Eg White.


AWARDS: He won Critics Choice Brit Awards in 2013 and won the Ivor Novello Award for Songwriter of the Year in 2014.

INFLUENCES: The first album he listened to was Goodbye Yellow Brick Road by Elton John, but he also says that David Bowie, Joni Mitchell, Jackson Brown, Nick Cave, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Billy Joel and Randy Newman had a great effect on his music. He believes that there should be more to songs than being catchy, that there should be soul and depth to a song and that the listener should keep discovering something new each time they listen.

FUN FACT: In 2010 he formed a band in Brighton called Tom and the Tides, before he moved to London and became a solo act.

TOP TIPS: “I find that I write much better songs when I’m being honest, and writing about things that happen to me. It can get a little weird though, when friends or girlfriends work out that a song is about them. But it’s amazing what you can get away with it. Artistic licence, I think they call it.”


AWARDS: Best known for his collaboration with Robbie Williams, Guy Chambers was songwriter, producer and musical direction on Robbie William’s first five solo albums, ALL of which reached number 1 in the UK charts. He has also written songs with Rufus Wainwright, Katy B, Mark Ronson, Tina Turner, Kylie Minogue and many more. He has won 3 BRIT Awards, 3 Ivor Novello awards and 1 Q classic Songwriter Award.

INFLUENCES: The Beatles, Burt Bacharach, Echo & the Bunnymen, Teardrop Explodes and The Clash.

FUN FACT: He collaborated with Robbie Williams on his record Swings Both Ways in 2013, which became the 1000th number 1 album in the UK and his favourite chord is Em9.

TOP TIPS: “To any young songwriter: find someone to collaborate with who’s better at something, who covers your weak spots. Because we all have weak spots [-] but to actually write hits, I think a lot of it is being with people who are…hopefully better than you. [Also] if the chorus doesn’t hit before a minute, there’s probably a problem.”


AWARDS: She won Best Female Artist of the Year Awards in 2009 and had a number 1 album in Ireland with Mayhem in 2010, which also won Album of the Year.

INFLUENCES: Her early influences were Folk and Rock ’n’ Roll: she especially loved Buddy Holly, Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent and Billie Holiday.

FUN FACTS: At 14, she sang in an advertisement for Findus Fish Fingers and as a result she became known as ‘the fish finger girl”

TOP TIPS: “[Songwriting] is like fishing… sometimes it feels like they’re given to you in a way, but you have to be ready to catch them. If you’re fighting it and pushing it different ways, you’ll miss it. If you just open your mind a bit it tends to come to you and then [you can] rework it.”


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AWARDS: Her album Breathe In went Platinum in the UK in 2005 and in 2016 she was listed as one of the CMT Next Women of Country. Alongside being a successful solo artist touring with Elton John, Jamie Cullum, Little Big Town and Chris Stapleton, she has also written for artists such as The Saturdays, Will Young and Miranda Lambert.

INFLUENCES: She was very influenced by Ray Charles, Nat King Cole, James Taylor, Roberta Flack, Brandi Carlile, Sara Bareilles but she cites Merle Haggard as her earliest inspiration.

FUN FACTS: Born in the UK, part raised in New Zealand, now living in Nashville, TN, Lucie Silvas started playing the piano and writing songs aged 10 before going on the road as a backing singer for British singer-songwriter Judie Tzuke.

TOP TIPS: “Take more risks! When you’re young you have a naturally fearless attitude, and I would tell my [younger] self to use my instincts more and not listen to too many opinions around me. Your gut feeling is usually right…. and even if it’s not, at least you weren’t stuck in one place by being too afraid to make a decision. Oh… and don’t spend all your money (but that’s the boring advice)!”


AWARDS: Eg White won the 2004 Ivor Novello Award “Best Song Musically and Lyrically” for Leave Right Now and won the 2009 Ivor Novello Award for Songwriter of the Year, and in the same year was nominated for a Grammy for his work on Adele’s Chasing Pavements.

INFLUENCES: Coming from a family of classical musicians, he took up the piano at the age of four.

FUN FACTS: He started a band with his brother called Brother Beyond in the late 1980s and he wrote Chasing Pavements with Adele in two hours.

TOP TIPS: “There are two things you need: mainly persistence… and the other is flexibility. [Also] express [the sentiment of the song] strongly. A song about ambivalent feelings probably sucks”.

Aged 8-18 and written your own original songs?  Know anyone that is a talented young songwriter?  Click here for The Young Songwriter 2018 competition online entry form & latest competition news.

Guy Chambers joins our Young Songwriter 2018 judging panel

Now in it’s 7th exciting year, from February 1st, the prestigious Song Academy Young Songwriter Competition 2018 is officially open for entries from across the UK and Ireland and internationally.

We are starting our search for the world’s top young songwriters. Could this be you?

If you’re aged between 8 and 18 and love writing your own original songs, then enter our Young Songwriter competition before the 8th April 2018 for the opportunity to:

  • Get noticed by some of the best songwriters & key players in the Music Industry
  • Have your songs heard and stand out from the crowd
  • Record your winning song with the top producer, Paul Stanborough in London
  • Receive a professional music video and professional photos from your studio session
  • Win a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Studio audio interface
  • Win a sE Electronics X1S Studio Bundle
  • Win a SoundCloud Pro Unlimited subscription
  • Perform in our Young Songwriter 2018 showcase in London
  • Win 4 tickets to Beautiful – The Carole King Musical
  • Win a Tinc big boom stand n speaker
  • Get connected to our vibrant community of young songwriters

This year’s panel of award winning judges includes

Singer songwriters Tom Odell, Imelda May and Lucie Silvas, songwriters & producers Guy Chambers (for Robbie Williams, Tom Jones, Kylie Minogue, & Mark Ronson), Eg White (Adele, Duffy, Take That, Pink), Tim Laws (Gabrielle, Lighthouse Family), Jessica Sharman (for Ward Thomas), Nicky Cox (editor, First News) and Nigel Elderton (Chairman, PRS for Music).

Get ready and enter your original songs online



SAYS17 Winners Revealed

#SAYS17 #MentalHealth

Star Judges Select Winning Young Songwriters In International Songwriting Competition

Winners, finalists & highly commended to perform @WestfieldLondon, Sunday 4th June, 2 – 5pm

The winners of the hotly contested Song Academy Young Songwriter 2017 competition have now been revealed and will perform live in front of family, friends and the general public at Westfield London on Sunday 4th June, from 2pm to 5pm. A star-studded panel of music industry experts has spent many hours listening to hundreds of original entries.

This year’s panel of prominent music industry judges includes: successful singer songwriters Tom Odell (*see quote below), Rumer, Imogen Heap, Conor Maynard, James Walsh, Grammy award and Ivor Novello-winning songwriters/producers Eg White & Tim Laws, Nigel Elderton, Nigel Wright, Jo Garofalo (Founder of Voice In A Million) and Nicky Cox (editor of First News). A number of the judges will be at Westfield on 4th June to watch their favourites perform live.

Sophie DeMasi, aged 16 from Hammersmith, London wins the 13-18 year category with her original song ‘Enough For Me’ about not letting others push you around and pursuing what you love. Judges comments included ‘I really like this song’ Imogen Heap; ‘A strong rhythm & the chorus is great!’ Tom Odell; ‘I like the simplicity of the lyrics. Sophie’s sincerity shines through!’ Rumer. On winning Sophie said ‘It’s amazing to be recognised by such respected judges and crazy to think a song I wrote and produced in my room is being acknowledged to this extent. There was a very high standard set by the other entries so winning is an honour. Thank you to Song Academy for giving me this opportunity”. The runner ups are Callum James with ‘Cardboard Spaceship’ and Ed Smith with ‘Walls & Bridges’.

The winner of the 8-12 category is Zachary Zbar aged 9 from Chelsea London with his song ‘My Light’ about a difficult friendship with a school friend and making up. Judges comments include; ‘Lovely soaring melody, emotional and hopeful lyrics, and very mature!’ Rumer; ‘Great raw talent’ James Walsh. The Runner ups are Niamh Jones with ‘My Friend’ and Zoe Tredgett with ‘Dreams’.

Taylor Gayle aged 12 from Nashville, USA won the international category with her original song ‘Sophia’s Song’ about the lost of a parent at a young age. Judges comments included: ‘Very moving’ Tom Odell; ‘A beautiful & emotional song’ Rumer; ‘Incredibly strong lyrically’ Nicky Cox; ‘Poignant lyrics & strong melodies’ Nigel Elderton.

Photos and write ups on what inspired our 2017 winners & finalists to write their songs are on our Blog. Analysis of all entrants’ song themes and lyrics demonstrates that song writing is a hugely valuable outlet for young people to express their feelings and concerns and build a strong mental health.

This year’s competition attracted 532 high quality entries from across the world (entries from across England, Scotland, Wales & Ireland as well as France, America, Canada, Mexico, Belgium, UAE, India, China, Greece, Hungary, Denmark, France & Mexico); the judges commented on an exceptional standard of lyric writing as well as musical composition.

The annual Song Academy Young Songwriter competition has gone from strength to strength since it began in 2011 and is now the leading song writing competition for young people aged 7 to 18 across the UK and Ireland. It’s a springboard for the next generation of creative stars to get noticed by key players in the music industry, build confidence, have their voices heard and shine in the limelight.

Tom Odell, singer songwriter said “When I was 13 years old I started writing songs, and over the following years I became more and more obsessed with it.  But the thing that always kept me awake at night was how to get them out there for people to hear them. This is why I think the Song Academy Young Songwriter competition is a great way to inspire and help through this process, and its something I wish had been around when I was starting out.”

Director of PRS for Music, Myles Keller said “This wonderful competition empowers young songwriters, enabling them to showcase their talent and offering them a ‘one of a kind’ opportunity to gain crucial feedback from some of the very best British songwriters. In the early stages of a career, this kind of help is like gold dust and really enables industry newcomers to build strong, sustainable careers. Music is integral to our nation’s identity and it is crucial that we nurture the next generation of songwriters now to ensure a creative future. PRS for Music is absolutely delighted to support such a positive and exciting competition.”

Hear the latest news on the Young Songwriter 2017 showcase and star guests to be attending via the Song Academy Twitter feed @SongacademyUK.

SAYS17 Winner, Taylor Gayle aged 12 from Nashville, USA

Congratulations to Taylor, SAYS17 Winner of our international category with her original song ‘Sophia’s Song’.  Here’s a bit about Taylor and her songwriting.

What inspired you to write ‘Sophia’s Song’? This song is about my God-sister, Sophia. When Sophia was 5 months old her father passed away unexpectedly. Her mother is my Godmother and my mother’s best friend, so I have always called her my God-sister. This song is what I think it must be like growing up without a Daddy, so I wrote this song for her.

How long have you been writing songs?  I have been writing songs my whole life starting with recreating nursery rhymes into my own songs but writing songs that I thought people might want to listen to, for about 2 ½ years.

How did you get into songwriting?  I got into songwriting because I am a singer and love to perform. I love singing great cover songs by other artist but the next natural step was to write my own songs to share my music as an artist. I think songwriting helps you define who you are as an artist better than just singing cover songs. So when I was 10 I started writing regularly and have not stopped since!

What does songwriting allow you to explore and achieve?  Since I am a younger singer songwriter, songwriting allows me to create stories that I haven’t lived in my life, in addition to writing about my limited life experiences. I can watch TV, observe life, listen to stories and they somehow in my head merge with melodies and songs come out. The most rewarding thing is when you meet someone after a show and they let you know your music touches them or they totally related to the song you wrote/sang or they tell you they felt like you were singing just to them. Songwriting has really helped me grow as an artist and I love it.

What’s your favourite part of the songwriting process?  Finishing a song and really liking what you wrote.

What’s the most difficult part of the creative process of songwriting for you?  That’s easy, starting a new song. There are so many ways to start a song and I always have so many ideas in my head that it can be hard to just decide to start one of your ideas and begin. The other difficult part is the insomnia that can happen if you have a song stuck in your head that you just have to finish before being able to go to sleep.

Do you start with lyrics or melodies/chords?  All of the above, it just depends on the song. Sometimes I write the chorus first, other times the first verse or the melody shows up first. Other songs I have been playing around with a new chord progression and then the words show up in my head and I start to write a song that way.  Then there are the times that I have a line stuck in my head  that I just love and that is what starts a new song. It really depends on the song, basically it is never the same.

What do you like about Song Academy and our Young Songwriter competition?   I was really excited to be able to enter an international competition that focuses on people under 18. Since I am 12, I am often not old enough to enter competitions or do a lot of things I want to do with my music because I am “too young”. So thank you for letting international entries this year and focusing on kids!

Who are your three favourite artists/songs?  Picking only 3 is really hard. Aretha Franklin is my idol and has been since I started singing so I have to say her. Ed Sheeran is a songwriting genius and so talented as a singer, so he has to be on the list too. Lately I have been really inspired by Melanie Martinez, so that’s my third. I wish you would have asked for 10, that would have been a lot easier!

15 years from now you will be…  Hopefully a world-renowned artist. I am definitely going to be a professional singer/songwriter and I dream big!  I would love to tour the world and fill large stadiums with people that are moved by my music. I want to write meaningful songs that touch people or make their day a little better. I would also like to have other major artists cut my songs. I know not all the songs I write are for me as an artist and it is really cool when you hear someone sing a song you wrote.

What’s your favourite thing to do when you’re not writing songs?  The obvious answer is singing for me but outside of music I love to cook and draw, , so really anything creative. I am also an adventure junkie, I love ziplining, roller coasters, playing laser tag etc.

Have a listen to all our top ten SAYS17 finalists

Our SAYS17 winners will be announced on the 8th May at 12pm on our Twitter channel.

Come & watch the top young songwriters from across the UK and Ireland perform @WestfieldLondon, Southern Terrace in the Young Songwriter 2017 competition live showcase on Sunday 4th June, 2-5pm. Around 50 performers including winners, finalists & highly commended entrants, aged 8-18 will perform! #savethedate #newgeneration #talent #youngsongwriters #freeevent

Full line-up to be announced shortly.

SAYS17 Finalist, Karrington Donald aged 18 from Houston USA

Congratulations to Karrington, SAYS17 Finalist with her original song ‘Summer Dream’.  Here’s a bit about Karrington and her songwriting.

What inspired you to write ‘Summer Dream’?  There are times when I look at myself and think that all the obstacles in my everyday life can suffocate my positive way of thinking. I also hate the pressure that society puts on young people to look or act a certain way and stamp that as “perfect”. This song is my own commentary on persevering through those times of being down and looking at the bright side of things. “Summer Dream” is a metaphor for the realm of thinking where all things are possible and all types of uniqueness and personalities are accepted and appreciated by the individual that possess any traits that are supposedly undesired or not good enough, and is also a place where a person can feel special and not be bothered by the excess negativity that the world has to offer. I hope this song can make people feel accepted, happy, and motivated to get through a hard day so they can reach their very own “Summer Dream!”

How long have you been writing songs? I have been writing songs since I was 14, so about 4 years

How did you get into songwriting? I started playing guitar at age 11 and for years I played cover songs. After awhile I began writing my own material because I felt somewhat bored with only doing cover songs. I has fun playing cover songs, but wanted express my own personal feeling through my own arrangements

What does songwriting allow you to explore and achieve? Songwriting allows me to express me feelings and imaginations. I am able to venture into another world when I am singing and playing the guitar to the songs that I write. There is no other activity that I have experienced that enables me to explore not only my self but also my perspective of the world around me. I hope to provide my listeners with the same dream-like experience while also connecting with my listeners on a personal level. I want people to not just listen to my lyrics, but “feel” my lyrics.

What’s your favourite part of the songwriting process? My favorite part about the songwriting process is those moments when I am playing a chords and I start singing what ever comes to my mind. Usually in the beginning what I sing is not cohesive, but the beauty behind that is the process of making the song from literally nothing. Also, i enjoy having to continuously search for the most meaningful words in order to get my message. Though at times I can not find the right words, it is extremely rewarding to see the finished product in contrast to how the origins of thew song.

What is the most difficult part of the creative process of songwriting for you? The most difficult part about the songwriting process for me is overcoming writer’s block. When I can’t think of the right word/music combination that I envision in my mind, I tend to get very frustrated and doubtful.

Do you start with lyrics or melodies/chords? 95% of the time I start a song with chords. This allows me to hear possible melodies to fit the “attitude” of the song. It is more difficult for me to come up with chords from lyrics alone because believe approach songs as the music being the foundation and the lyrics being the cherry on top!

What do you like about Song Academy and our Young Songwriter Competition? I love the fact that the Song Academy strives to keep music alive within young people through the development of songwriting. This also allows for better songs to enjoy in the future. I like that the competition promotes the songs entries to the public in order for the great young talents to be shared with the world.

What are your 3 favourite artists/ songs? My three favorite artists are Lianne La Havas, John Mayer, and Lauryn Hill

15 years from now you will be… I hope to be performing my songs as an artist, writing , and producing for other artists in the music industry.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing songs? I love to play basketball!

Have a listen to all our top ten SAYS17 finalists

Our SAYS17 winners will be announced on the 8th May at 12pm on our Twitter channel.

Come & watch the top young songwriters from across the UK and Ireland perform @WestfieldLondon, Southern Terrace in the Young Songwriter 2017 competition live showcase on Sunday 4th June, 2-5pm. Around 50 performers including winners, finalists & highly commended entrants, aged 8-18 will perform! #savethedate #newgeneration #talent #youngsongwriters #freeevent

Full line-up to be announced shortly.

SAYS17 Finalist, Kevin Jones aged 16 from Indianapolis, USA

Congratulations to Kevin Jones, SAYS17 Finalist with his original song ‘Time To Go’.  Here’s a bit about Kevin and his songwriting.

What inspired you to write ‘Time To Go’? This song is inspired by the real-life events that are persuading me to consider moving to Los Angeles for my music career.

How long have you been writing songs?  I’ve been writing songs for about 7 years now.

How did you get into songwriting?  It was just something I enjoyed doing when I was younger, but I gained a real love for it when I started listening to more genres of music.

What does songwriting allow you to explore and achieve?  I get to express my thoughts and feelings through an art form that speaks to a lot of people.

What’s your favourite part of the songwriting process?  It’s great when you’re first inspired to write something and find the right chords/melodies to correctly express what’s on your mind.

What’s the most difficult part of the creative process of songwriting for you?  Sometimes it can be difficult to decide on the lyrics. I like to make sure my lyrics flow well with the chords and melodies while still rhyming and sending my message across.

Do you start with lyrics or melodies/chords?  Usually it starts with chords on the piano, but sometimes I have a lyric in my head or a catchy melody that I want to try out. It just depends on what comes to me first.

What do you like about Song Academy and our Young Songwriter competition?  It gives young kids a great opportunity to expand on their craft and lets them compare their writing to other kids from around the world.

Who are your three favourite artists/songs?  They change all the time but I enjoy artists like Tom Odell, Twenty One Pilots, and Electric Light Orchestra.

15 years from now you will be…  I’m not quite sure what I’ll be doing 15 years down the road, but I love making music and plan to make it into a full time career, whether that means being a touring musician, a songwriter, or a producer.

What’s your favourite thing to do when you’re not writing songs?  I have a pretty busy schedule, but I enjoy making videos for my YouTube channel, writing stories, listening to music, and occasionally playing video games when I have some free time.

Have a listen to all our top ten SAYS17 finalists

Our SAYS17 winners will be announced on the 8th May at 12pm on our Twitter channel.

Come & watch the top young songwriters from across the UK and Ireland perform @WestfieldLondon, Southern Terrace in the Young Songwriter 2017 competition live showcase on Sunday 4th June, 2-5pm. Around 50 performers including winners, finalists & highly commended entrants, aged 8-18 will perform! #savethedate #newgeneration #talent #youngsongwriters #freeevent

Full line-up to be announced shortly.

SAYS17 Finalist, Alexandros Roche aged 11 from Chelsea, London

Congratulations to Alex, SAYS17 Finalist with his original song ‘Light It Up’.  Here’s a bit about Alex and his songwriting.

How long have you been writing songs? I have been writing songs for 3-4 years

How did you get into songwriting? I loved listening to music and I always liked the idea of writing songs but I was too shy to do it by myself; Song Academy encouraged me to actually do it

What does songwriting allow you to explore and achieve? Songwriting actually helps me to express myself and show how I feel through being musical which is something i love

What’s your favourite part of the songwriting process? Favourite part is coming up with the melody

What’s the most difficult part of the creative process of songwriting for you? Most difficult part is thinking of a topic

Do you start with lyrics or melodies/chords? I start with lyrics first

What do you like about Song Academy and our Young Songwriter competition?  I like how I can have a big moment when I can present the song I have worked on and how I meet a lot of people and hear their songs.

Who are your three favourite artists/songs?  Thats what I like by Bruno Mars, New Man by Ed Sheeran, Symphony by Clean Bandit & Zara Larson

What’s your favourite thing to do when you’re not writing songs? ….Singing in the O2 Arena. Playing football and drums

Have a listen to all our top ten SAYS17 finalists

Our SAYS17 winners will be announced on the 8th May at 12pm on our Twitter channel.

Come & watch the top young songwriters from across the UK and Ireland perform @WestfieldLondon, Southern Terrace in the Young Songwriter 2017 competition live showcase on Sunday 4th June, 2-5pm. Around 50 performers including winners, finalists & highly commended entrants, aged 8-18 will perform! #savethedate #newgeneration #talent #youngsongwriters #freeevent

Full line-up to be announced shortly.