Songs reveal the hearts & minds of young people after a year in lockdown. Impressive originality, creativity & musical bravery displayed. Young creators across the world unite.
Star Judges include Fraser T Smith, Tom Odell, Miranda Cooper, Chris Difford,
Calum Scott, Midge Ure, Tom Grennan & Michelle Escoffery
Drumroll please! The top finalists (top 10 for the UK/Ireland categories and top 5 for the International categories) of the hotly contested Song Academy Young Songwriter (SAYS) 2021 competition have now been revealed. This year’s competition attracted over 1,000 entries from aspiring young songwriters aged 8-18 across the world, both experienced young songwriters and those who’ve written their first song. As in previous years 70% of entrants were girls. 13% of entries were in the international categories and 70% were from 13-18 year olds. Entries from the UK/Ireland were widespread with 65% outside London, 19% from the North, 14% from the Midlands, 28% from the South and 4% from Ireland/Scotland/Wales.
The Young Songwriter competition stands for the craft and art of songwriting in its purest form, enabling young songwriters to aspire to the very best melody, lyric, structure, concept, harmony, mood and impact a song can have. It inspires young people to think about and speak up about things that are important to them personally, in their community and in the wider world and get their voices heard. It’s a supportive community where young people feel brave and can express themselves, celebrate individuality and be themselves. The benefits from this unique community are far reaching, especially the positive boost to mental health.
What makes a sensational song is ultimately subjective. The top finalists songs were selected as they stood out for their creativity, invention & courage with lyrics & melodies illuminating our imaginations. Congratulations also go to all SAYS21 entrants for creating an impressive community of young songwriters, up for sharing and developing their creative talents.
Goto the Song Academy SoundCloud account to listen to the finalists’ songs! The top 3 finalists of all categories will be announced on the 1st June. The winners will be announced on the 29th June and The Young Songwriter 2021 live showcase will be held at The Tabernacle, Notting Hill, London on the 20th November 2021.
Fraser T Smith (songwriter, producer and SAYS21 judge) says “With so much going on in the world, it’s never been more vital for young people to be able to channel their energy and emotions into something positive, which is what The Young Songwriter competition encourages and facilitates through songwriting. Every young person has something to say, a story to tell, or a message to share – that’s why Song Academy is so important to our community.”
TOP 10 SAYS21 FINALISTS – 13-18 YEAR OLDS, UK/IRELAND
ALL IT TAKES – HETTA FALZON (Bath, Somerset)
CLAPHAM JUNCTION – JOE LEVER (Highgate, London)
DROWNS ME OUT – TAIA THOMPSON (Brighton, East Sussex)
HONEY – NETTLE (Hitchin, Herefordshire)
HOW TO BE VULNERABLE – EMILY SEMPLE (Hereford, Herefordshire)
I CAN’T BREATHE – HATTY YAP (Highgate, London)
LAYING ON MARS – BENJAMIN FRERE (Cambridge, Cambridgeshire)
TALKS TOO MUCH – LEONA MAE (St Albans, Hertfordshire)
TWO TWO SEVEN- ALEKS KOSTOV (Lancaster, Lancashire)
WE’RE NOT LONELY ANYMORE – LEXIE CARROLL (Hammersmith, London)
TOP 10 SAYS21 FINALISTS – 8-12 YEAR OLDS, UK/IRELAND
DEEP WATERS – TWINKLE ANSAR (Hastings, East Sussex)
DID I – ISLA CAMPBELL (Hitchin, Hertfordshire)
FIREFLIES – LILY CRIDDLE (Liverpool, Merseyside)
FOLLOW ME – LUKE PENDER (Worcester, Worcestershire)
GIRL IN THE DRESS – LOIS BROOKS (Preston, Lancashire)
GOLDEN DAYS – LILY CARROLL (Manchester, Greater Manchester)
ILLUSION – JOHNNY BEAU (Peckham, London)
SLOWLY – SAMBELLE PRINCE (London)
TEARDROPS – NELLY BINGHAM (Exeter, Devon)
VOICES – MACY O’NEILL (Birmingham, West Midlands)
TOP 5 SAYS21 FINALISTS – 13-18 YEAR OLDS, INTERNATIONAL
GOLDEN YEARS – YOB (Oslo, Norway)
LOST MYSELF – JO MACKENZIE (Kansas City, USA)
PEOPLE LIKE YOU – PIP LEWIS (San Diego, USA)
STARDUST – KELTY PARKER (Colorado Springs, USA)
THE ASTRONAUTS’S SONG – MICHAEL ABIMANYU KAENG (Jakarta, Indonesia)
TOP 5 SAYS21 FINALISTS – 8-12 YEAR OLDS INTERNATIONAL
COLOURFUL – EVANGELINE DURUPT (Comox, Canada)
GRAFFITI ON THE WALL – ALEXIS G. ROLEY (Indiana, USA)
MY FRIEND IN MIAMI – VENICE AND BELLE HERRERA (Dubai, UAE)
TALK – BENJAMIN MAGRO (Pembroke, Malta)
WHO AM I – TAMARA YASIN (Florida, USA)
Quotes from The Young Songwriter 2021 finalists:
Benjamin “It doesn’t matter how wealthy you are or how much equipment you have. Someone who just has a guitar and a voice has just as much opportunity and chance as someone with a full size music studio.”
Charlie “allows people from all areas and walks of life to share their music with people and spread messages and emotion through music. There is also such an incredible judging panel and team behind the competition and it’s great to see that they are all just as excited as the entrants.”
Jacob “What I like most about The Young Songwriter is the community it creates between songwriters.”
Hetta “It’s a really cool way to listen to what other people your age are writing and I’ve discovered so many songs that I love just from the Song Academy playlist. I also like how it is judged purely on the song and not the quality of recording or production which means anyone can enter.”
Hatty “This is a fantastic platform for songwriters to be heard and to learn from.”
Morietnez “Inspires us to be brave to express our feelings and be ourselves.”
James “I like how the competition pushes young people and encourages creativity, allowing songs that might not otherwise be out there, a chance to shine.”
Conor “It’s really open minded with the music it takes into the competition. There is a list of genres, from rock to rap! It’s really incredible, and a great experience!”
Faye “I love how it gives a supportive space for young songwriters like me from all over the world. I also really like how we can listen to each other’s entries to hear the diversity and uniqueness of each individual song writer.”
Venice & Bella “It’s easy to enter and you don’t have to record in a fancy studio or have expensive equipment. It’s genuinely about the song and you feel truly heard.”
This year’s panel of award winning judges includes:
Fraser T Smith (Stormzy, Dave, Adele, Drake, Sam Smith), Tom Odell, Chris Difford, Tom Grennan, Michelle Escoffery, Calum Scott, Hannah V, Calum Scott, Dan Gillespie Sells, Janet Devlin, Eg White (Adele, Duffy, Take That, Pink), Sacha Skarbek (James Blunt, Miley Cyrus, Adele, Jason Mraz, Duffy), Paul Adam (Dannii Minogue, Amy MacDonald & A&R Director at Island Records), Emily Phillips (Rizzle Kicks, Florence and the Machine, Sigrid, John Newman, Madison Beer, SOAK), Miranda Cooper (Girls Aloud, Sugababes, Pet Shop Boys, Alesha Dixon), Simon Aldred (Sam Smith, Rag’n’Bone Man, Avicii) and Iain Archer (Bugg, Sea Girls, Lisa Hannigan, Liam Gallagher, James Bay, Snow Patrol, Niall Horan).
Rowena Atkins, Founder of Song Academy, says “Song Academy inspires young people to speak up, express themselves, celebrate their individuality & get heard. By connecting them to a vibrant community of their peers who all love writing songs, as well as exposing their songs to key players in the Music Industry, we help to build young people’s confidence, self-esteem and drive to achieve their potential. As well as nurturing the next generation of music & creative leaders.”
QUOTES FROM SPONSORS KOBALT, SOUNDTRAP AND YAMAHA
Willard Ahdritz, Founder & Chairman of Kobalt says “It’s very important to support, inspire, and celebrate young creators as they start on their path in music. We are happy to be involved in this competition as it provides great opportunities and education for the young contestants. I know many of them will go on to have bright careers in music!”
Leanne Barrell, Marketing Manager of Yamaha says, “At Yamaha, we believe that music can empower everyone to express themselves, build friendships and make a positive impact in the world, so naturally we’re delighted to support The Young Songwriter 2021 Competition. It’s a great opportunity for young people everywhere to get inspired and share their music on a global stage. This is all about the future, and we can’t wait to hear the songs of a whole new generation of musical talent.”
Per Emanuelsson, Director of Soundtrap says “The annual Young Songwriter competition is a premiere event introducing many students from around the world to the art of creative expression through song, and is therefore an event close to our heart. Soundtrap is pleased to sponsor the 2021 Young Songwriter competition and advance the mission of helping students find and share their voices.”
For further media information, photography, videos, interviews, etc., contact Rowena Atkins, Founder of Song Academy at firstname.lastname@example.org or on +44 7710 023743
NOTES TO EDITORS:
SONG ACADEMY – helping every child find their voice
Founded 12 years ago, we’re dedicated to the future of music & the wellbeing of young people aged 8-18. We enable young people to express themselves and have their voices heard. From their first song to developing their first album. We nurture young writers, artists, musicians, producers & creative thinkers, empowering young people at a formative time of their life.
We believe that songwriting and music can transform the lives of young people by helping them find their voice. Young people are growing up in a competitive, fast changing & potentially isolating environment, which can cause various pressures and lead to issues with their mental health. Through songwriting young people can communicate their thoughts and feelings and connect to others. This creative and therapeutic process helps young people discover & develop their identity, overcome challenges, feel empowered by speaking up and advance their creative and social skills. The songs they write have the potential to spark debate, help their peers and shape their future.
Song Academy runs after-school clubs, holiday workshops, school workshops, birthday parties, song feedback reports and an annual international Young Songwriter competition. As a result of our programmes, we have seen a direct correlation in the increase and advancement of confidence, self-esteem, creativity, motivation, well-being and technical songwriting ability of our members.