We’re delighted that Andrea Turk has joined our Young Ambassadors Board!  Andrea is an amazing songwriter and performer from Indonesia.  She won The Young Songwriter 2019 competition in the International category and it was a privilege to have her perform at our live showcase in London last June.  We caught up with Andrea recently to talk about all things songwriting!

What got you into music? Did you immediately start writing it or were you a fan for a bit first?  I remember listening to Ed Sheeran’s “+” album and Adele’s “21” album on repeat when I was ten years old. I ate, slept, and breathed the words to each song, and I could never shut my mouth from singing them. Keep in mind, I was a very shy kid and you probably wouldn’t catch me saying more than a few words when conversing with me. When my parents heard that I could sing, that’s when I was introduced to a world of music. I wrote my first song at the age of 12 and I’ve been writing ever since.

What is your favourite part of the songwriting process?  The ability to imagine. Imagine all kinds of scenarios that you’ve built for the characters in your story. The freedom to feel all kinds of emotions and have that captured with words on a piece of paper. It’s an immersive experience in which I’m happy to be able to engage with all my senses.

How do you usually start a song? How do you find that spark?  In the past, I’ve always been one to start with melodies along with a thought-out chord progression. The emotions that’ll be put into the song determines how I paint the melodies (e.g. going from low to high notes paints a picture of the sky which symbolizes peace, etc.) That’s how I usually start when the ‘spark’ isn’t there. Other days, it just kind of flows right out of me.

What achievement are you most proud of?  In the summer of 2019 I had the privilege to take part in my country’s national Independence Day celebration. It wasn’t until two weeks prior of my performance that I realized I will be singing as a soloist with an orchestra and choir in front of the entire country on live television. I kid you not it felt like a dream. I sang one of Indonesia’s national songs titled “Tanah Airku” by Ibu Soed in front of everyone (including the president) at the Palace, and I’m sure at that point it felt as if I was flying. It was an ethereal experience that I’m extremely grateful and proud to have been a part of.

Which of your songs do you think is your best work and why?  My second single “Nothing About You” has received the most praises from people. It’s ironic because it’s my least favourite song out of all the songs I’ve written. I think what sets it apart from the others is because this one’s based on my true experience, and that I put a lot of honest emotions into it. The simplicity of just having my voice and the piano does make the song stand out more than compared to a fully produced track.

Who would be your dream artist/writer/band to collaborate with?  Finneas. If I could collaborate with anyone before I die, it’s definitely him. Although he writes commercially, his songs have always introduced a new different element to them and I’m excited to know what goes through his head when he writes his songs.

Do you feel like you’ve mastered your craft or are you still learning? If you’re still learning, what’s your next milestone?  Not by a long shot. Even when you feel as if you have the formula down or have gotten the gist of things, there’s always new knowledge out there for you to learn to make your songs sound even better. Personally, I’ve always wanted to find that ‘sweet spot’ of being able to sound commercial without having the need to sacrifice any emotion or plot in your storyline.

What would you say to someone aged 8-18 who is thinking about writing songs but hasn’t started yet? Or do you have any tips for 8-18 year old songwriters who are already writing?  I’d say just write. Write and write until you’ve convinced yourself that what you’re writing is good, and by then you’re probably already writing your next hit song without even knowing.

Favourites round! Don’t think about it, just say what first comes to mind. Who/what is your favourite:

Artist?
Lolo Zouai.

Songwriter?
Billie Marten.

Song?
“The Great Escape” by Patrick Watson.

Album?
“Self Portrait” by Sasha Sloan.

Chord?
Ab or Eb major.

Gig you’ve been to?
Iyla’s concert at The Troubadour, LA.

Lyric?
I waited for something, and something died. So I waited for nothing, and nothing arrived.

Genre?
Synth-Pop or Indie/Alternative.

Catchphrase?
A moment on your lips, a lifetime on your hips! (my high school English teacher told me that)

Fruit?
Pineapples and bananas!

What’s your instrument of choice? Is there an instrument you would like to learn?  Piano, but I’ve always wanted to fully master the guitar. Bass is a fun instrument to be able to play with!

Do you have any hidden talents or party tricks?  I remember people’s zodiac signs more than their names.

What are your non-musical hobbies?  Watching movies, making movies, editing movies. Movies, movies, movies. Oh, and I love running.

What do you think matters most to 8-18 year olds?  Finding yourself without having anyone else tell you who you should become. Life’s too short to waste it on being someone you’re not happy with.

What do you like about Song Academy?  I love the hope and opportunities that Song Academy gives to the youth. Having an inclusive and supportive environment for young songwriters to share their songs and expressing themselves is a gift that not many of us are able to find elsewhere.

Aged 8-18? Written your own original songs?
Then enter The Young Songwriter 2020 competition before the 31st March 2020!