From childhood to university, Sophie studied classical music, literature, and musical theatre. Her adult career in music began with songwriting and performing in band projects and musicals. She pursued a dual profession from the start of her employment, combining music teaching and performing with a job at the BBC. She then progressed through roles at major record labels whilst writing and performing as a singer-songwriter.

Sophie also works as a co-writer on singer-songwriter projects in London, mainly folk, country, and pop, whilst developing her independent record label and co-writing in Nashville. During her career, she has taught at Italia Conti and ICMP (now head of songwriting at ICMP).  She has worked for The BBC, Sony Music UK and Syco. Her songwriting graduates range from Daughter and Denai Moore to Rise To Remain.

We asked Sophie some questions to help aspiring young songwriters on their songwriting journey

How old were you when you wrote your first song?  8 years old.

What was your first song about?  It was kind of political. I remember trying to create an analogy about state control and worrying whether we could be controlled by the state poisoning our toothpaste! I also wrote some love songs which were all contrived around imaginary plots with imaginary boyfriends (mainly based on George Michael).  The first one I wrote that I was pleased with was a song for a play that I also wrote with some friends. It was called ‘Moving In A Dream’.

Who inspired you to start songwriting?  Abba first, then around 7-8 years old I got into George and Ira Gershwin and sat and learned to play and sing all their songs from a piano song book.

What’s your favourite song you’ve ever written?  A song called ‘I Can Love You From Here’ which I am recording in Nashville this spring. It is written for my daughter Liberty who died in 2011 and it is part of a recording project for the All Party Parliamentary Group working in Westminster for Baby Loss Awareness. It will be released for the APPG in October 2019.

How easy did you find it to get your music heard?  I’ve worked on lots of different kinds of songs for different projects. Some are more difficult than others but it is never easy.

What’s your biggest regret as a young songwriter?  Not following my own ideas and interests with a more determined focus. Or put another way, listening to advice from A&R men. Always make the music you want to make even when you are told that it is out of fashion. Fashion comes and goes, whilst your connection with your musical identity must last you your lifetime.

What are your top tips for aspiring songwriters?   Think through your big picture motivations like – Why are you writing this song? What is it really about and what do you really want to say? Who are you talking to? If you can think through your motivations as a writer in some detail, then the smaller decisions, (like which word goes where), tend to make themselves.

What do you especially like about The Young Songwriter competition?  The passion that everyone involved in this competition shows for sharing the joy of songwriting with a younger generation.

Are you aged 8-18?  Have you written your own songs?  Then enter The Young Songwriter 2019 competition!

 

Chart-topping and multi-award winning Irish singer songwriter Megan O’Neill is one of the most exciting Alt-Country/Americana artists on the current scene.  Megan has led Song Academy songwriting clubs and workshops.

We asked Megan some questions to help aspiring young songwriters on their songwriting journey.

How old were you when you wrote your first song?  I was about 10 years old when I wrote my first song but the first song I remember fully finishing and being proud of I wrote when I was 15.

What was your first song about?  The first full song I finished was about a boy (at 15)!

Who inspired you to start songwriting?  In a roundabout way my Mother did. She introduced me to so much amazing music at a very young age and I therefore grew up with a huge appreciation for music and story telling. My Mam loved country music and had me listening to Reba McEntire, Gareth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Mary Black and more. Country music is all about the story telling, so I fell in love with that genre especially.

What’s your favourite song you’ve ever written?  Ooh that’s a tough call and I’m not sure I can answer. My favourites change all the time – depending on my mood!

How easy did you find it to get your music heard?  Definitely not easy!  This industry is notoriously difficult and you have to be willing to work very hard for very many years which I’ve done. I’m now lucky enough to have incredible, supportive fans who want to hear my music – so all the hard work has been worth it :)

What’s your biggest regret as a young songwriter?  That I didn’t learn the guitar earlier in my life and that I didn’t do any songwriting lessons/workshops as a young teenager. Both of those things would have helped me to develop as a songwriter faster.

What are your top tips for aspiring songwriters?   Just keep writing all the time! You’ll write so many average songs for every one great song so the more you write, the more chances you have of hitting the nail on the head. Also put yourself out there as much as you’re able to. Get out there and sing your songs in front of people – whether that’s at an open mic night or in front of family and friends. Apply for competitions, take regular lessons if you can or attend workshops to meet other songwriters and feel inspired.

How do you write songs?  Songwriting is like a muscle and the more you exercise it the stronger it gets. I don’t wait around for inspiration, I write every day. Obviously some days are more creative than others but even on the days I don’t feel like writing, I make myself sit down and do it because you never know what can come from that. I truly believe in this quote by Leigh Michaels that “Waiting for inspiration is like standing at an airport and waiting for a train”!

I do carry a notebook with me everywhere I go and write down ideas that pop into my head or inspirations from life around me like things I might hear people say beside me in a coffee shop. You can get ideas from everywhere. Sometimes I also wake up with song ideas so I keep a notebook by my bed and I tend to use my voice recorder on my phone a lot to record melody ideas.

I do a lot of co-writing too which I find amazing – especially for those days I’m not particularly inspired myself. It can be easier to feed off other people sometimes!

What do you especially like about The Young Songwriter competition?  I think it’s an amazing tool for young songwriters to have their music heard by industry professionals. It also sets a real challenge for young writers to work towards – to write, record and submit their own song is no small feat and something they should feel super proud of.

Are you aged 8-18?  Have you written your own songs?  Then enter The Young Songwriter 2019 competition!

Robbie is part of the Song Academy team running songwriting clubs and workshops.  Robbie has performed live on ITV’s ‘This Morning’, been regularly aired on BBC Radio 2 (by the likes of Graham Norton, Paul O’Grady and Jeremy Vine), BBC 6 Music, Absolute Radio and Xfm and sold out headline London shows at venues like Bush Hall, The Garage and the Jazz Café.  He’s supported The Kooks, Mark Ronson, Jack Garratt, McFly, Jack Savoretti and Daughter, and he’s even had Suggs open up for him! Robbie’s co-written with the legendary Ray Davies from the Kinks, and written and recorded with some of Nashville’s finest.

We asked Robbie some questions to help aspiring young songwriters on their songwriting journey.

How old were you when you wrote your first song?  I wrote my first song at the age of nineteen when I was travelling in Central America. I had been writing in a diary reflecting on my experiences, thoughts and feelings and then those words naturally grew into lyrics, so I created melodies and chords on the guitar to match the lyrics and hey presto, songs started to appear!

What was your first song about?  I still remember it now. The opening line was: “The wondering mind leads to dangerous times, when you’re lost in the eye of the sun”. It was about following your feelings and trusting your intuition rather than worrying about everything and getting too trapped by the negative thoughts in your head. It’s funny reflecting back on this now as that’s a very similar theme to the most recent song I’ve just written fourteen years on!

Who inspired you to start songwriting?  It’s something that I just really connected to and took to very naturally, as I said it began from the lyrics that I was writing in my diary when I was younger. I’ve always been very self-reflective, philosophical and observant of life, as well as appreciative of nature and the magic that we’re surrounded by. It’s always intrigued me as to why we behave the way we do as humans and so all of that combined with the music that I grew up listening to influenced my own songwriting.

What’s your favourite song you’ve ever written?  It’s probably my new single ‘The Mighty Oak’. These are the lyrics to the chorus: “Whatever storms may come, I am strong enough to meet them with the love in my heart, just like the Mighty Oak in the winds that blow, standing solid on its path, we too can be this way, we too can be this way”. I wrote it with a friend of mine called Deborah Savran over Skype. It’s a very empowering song and a constant reminder for me that whatever forces or adversities may come my way, I can be as strong as an oak tree, firmly rooted in the ground, with my branches reaching into the atmosphere, when I let my heart lead the way.

How easy did you find it to get your music heard?  For me, at first, it was just about doing whatever I could to get my music out there, whether it was performing at countless open mics across London, flyering for my shows, busking outside gigs of other artists or on Portobello Road which then grew my fanbase to a much wider international audience and enabled me to play gigs all over the world, to taking my singles into radio stations and having some ‘fortunate’ breaks there with the likes of Graham Norton, Dave Gorman and Jeremy Vine supporting me. I also have some very lovely fans who have always been spreading the word and making things happen for me. For example, my performances on ITV’s ‘This Morning’ came from someone who saw me busking recommending me to the executive producer of the show who liked my music and invited my band in to play. So, it’s been a mixture of the organic, natural word of mouth route, combined with playing the traditional game of the industry through PR, plugging and marketing that’s helped me get my music heard. Mostly, and behind it all, it’s been about building connections and relationships with people, that’s the lesson I’ve enjoyed learning. More recently my approach has been a lot more to sit back and let people come to me and discover my music for themselves rather than needing to keep pushing my music onto others which I found a bit imposing as well as draining and tiring for me.

What’s your biggest regret as a young songwriter?  I wouldn’t say I have any regrets, although I’ve definitely learnt a lot of lessons along the way. Primarily about my responsibility to being more aware of what I’m saying in my songs and how that can either have a healing or harmful effect on the people listening. As I’ve been discovering more about myself and become more content with who I am, my lyrics have reflected this journey. So for example a lot of my old songs were about needing love from another person to fulfil me, whereas what I’ve come to realise is that I’ve already got all the love I’ve been looking for inside me, and that a true relationship is about meeting someone equally who can complement you as two whole people rather than losing yourselves in the relationship, which then leads to compromises and you can end up resenting each other because you weren’t really being true to yourselves. These sorts of realisations in the way that I’ve been living have naturally filtered into my lyrics, and it’s been great because lots of people have said how much more they can relate to my new style of writing. So, it’s showing how much I’ve matured and grown as a person as well as a songwriter, with the added benefit of being able to raise awareness around these sorts of topics to hopefully inspire others to come to their own similar realisations.

What are your top tips for aspiring songwriters?   Probably one of the biggest tips is to not compare yourself with anyone else. When I stopped wanting to be like Mumford and Sons or Chris Martin and just be me, it was incredibly liberating. I realised that I would never be them anyway and so just staying true to who I am and focussing on how I’m living my life in a more loving way has been really ground-breaking and important to me. I’ve let go (or am letting go!) of needing to prove myself to anyone else or seek other people’s approval, so I’m just being me and letting the songs flow out of me.

How do you write songs?  On a practical level, songs come to me in a number of different ways, for example while I’m sleeping, having a shower, going for a walk, or even cooking! I record these melody or lyrical ideas into my phone and then go into my studio and flesh them out in the relevant structure that suits the song. Otherwise I can be sitting down in my studio with the intention of writing and feel what I want to write about that day by giving myself a theme or title to write around. I am usually a melody and chords first man, and then I find the lyrics to fit the mood of the song. In terms of where the songs come from though, ultimately, they’re all from the Universe and I don’t feel like I own them and I just see myself as the guardian or the scribe! So, for me it’s about connecting to that source and letting them pour through me.

What do you especially like about The Young Songwriter competition?  It offers young people a chance to express themselves and discover more about what they’re feeling, which is very valuable. For young people to be inspired by each other to develop their talents and appreciate what they’re able to bring to the world in their own unique way is hugely important. Songwriting can be an amazing outlet for this and the Young Songwriter Competition is a really great opportunity for kids to grow in confidence and show off their awesomeness, while reaching a much wider audience than they would otherwise be able to. It’s a great springboard to their future and a wonderful way for the youth of today to have their voice heard.

Are you aged 8-18?  Have you written your own songs?  Then enter The Young Songwriter 2019 competition!

Hedara is part of the Song Academy team running songwriting clubs and workshops.  Scarlet is a classically trained singer and pianist and taught herself guitar.  Super talented, she attended the BRIT school, where she was a member of an alternative rock band, who were shortlisted for Song ATV’s ‘Best Songwriting Award’.

We asked Hedara some questions to help aspiring young songwriters on their songwriting journey.

How old were you when you wrote your first song?  I was around 10 when I wrote my first song.

What was your first song about?  My first song was all about trying to achieve your dreams and goals
– Who inspired you to start songwriting?  I’d always loved and played music. I grew up listening to pop/rnb greats like Whitney Houston and country greats like Johnny Cash, and I was so interested in they way they told stories. English was my favourite subject at school and I was always writing stories so it was a natural progression into songwriting.

What’s your favourite song you’ve ever written?  That’s a hard question because each song has such a different personal meaning to me – but I’d say the new material I’m releasing is my most personal and raw yet so maybe a song called ‘Slow’.

How easy did you find it to get your music heard?  Nothing’s ever easy but just growing a fan base and keeping in touch with the people that really support you is key.

What’s your biggest regret as a young songwriter?  I don’t have any regrets because I’ve learnt from every experience.

What are your top tips for aspiring songwriters?   Keep writing and find your own voice, don’t try to copy because someone is already doing that.

How do you write songs?   I will always sit down and write when I feel I have something to say. Sometimes its very personal to me – like an experience I’m going through, sometimes it’s the people closest to me who inspire me. I usually sit and write down lyrics on my phone and take it from there.

What do you especially like about The Young Songwriter competition?  I think its such a fantastic platform for young songwriters to be a part of. The judges are incredible, people who inspire me on a daily basis. It’s not scary and although it is technically a competition everyone is a winner and you get some fantastic feedback from the judges and get to perform!

Are you aged 8-18?  Have you written your own songs?  Then enter The Young Songwriter 2019 competition!

 

 

Brendan is part of the Song Academy songwriting clubs and workshops team.  One of his promoters in London has been quoted as saying: “He offers a wide variety of thoughtful and well-written original music that sparks emotion in the audience”.

We asked Brendan some questions to help aspiring young songwriters on their songwriting journey.

How old were you when you wrote your first song?  I was 11 years old when I wrote my song and it was called ‘Eyelock’

What was your first song about?  I coined the word ‘Eyelock’ thinking it sounded cool at the time and I guess it was about having that deeper connection with someone. I think was beyond my years!

Who inspired you to start songwriting?  I’d say listening to music by The Beatles from an early age inspired me to write songs particularly like John Lennon. He was so raw and I believed every word he said in his lyrics.

What’s your favourite song you’ve ever written?  A song called ‘How I’ll remember you’. I started writing it when my Nana became very Ill. However what I love about it is that I feel like I captured her life in 3 minutes of music and it’s a song to remember her by. Not just for me but for my whole family, so for this reason it is my most special song.

How easy did you find it to get your music heard?  I found it quite hard at the start because I didn’t really know where to place my music or who I needed to be sending it to. Networking and collaborating helped get the songs I wrote more exposure.

What’s your biggest regret as a young songwriter?
I wish I collaborated more as a young songwriter because it’s such a big thing for me now and I’m sure many other songwriters will agree that it’s so helpful being able to bounce ideas off of another creative mind.

What are your top tips for aspiring songwriters?   Be honest in your songs and write about what you know. You’re the expert on that!  I’d also say collaborate as much as possible because working with new people is really exciting and not being in your comfort zone is a good thing as a creative I think.

How do you write songs?  I often sit down with my guitar and just start playing a chord progression and start improvising melodies and lyrics. I always do this and it always leads to something. I once started a chord progression and I sang the words ‘Wish bone’. It had no meaning at the time but then I started talking about it with my collaborator and it became a really cool concept for us that we explored further! Also listen to conversations you’re not involved in. Sometimes someone can say something that would make a really nice lyric in a song.

What do you especially like about The Young Songwriter competition? I love how it’s open to literally anyone who wants to get their voice heard. It’s a great opportunity for some feedback on your songs from the best in the business too.

Are you aged 8-18?  Have you written your own songs?  Then enter The Young Songwriter 2019 competition!

Nadine has recently joined the Song Academy team.   Nadine is a singer-songwriter and graphic designer, currently working on her own artist project NADINE, alongside collaborations with other artists and producers.

We asked Nadine some questions to help aspiring young songwriters on their songwriting journey.

How old were you when you wrote your first song?  I think I was about 6 when I wrote my first song in rural Switzerland where I grew up. Poor Dad had to listen to me hammering around on the small organ that happened to be in his office.

What was your first song about?  I can remember it quite well, I sang “To Bethlehem goes Joseph” (in Swiss German) something about the journey in the Christmas story.

Who inspired you to start songwriting?  I used to watch my Mum perform with her band and always thought that was something I wanted to do as well. I loved experimenting with songwriting especially once my Mum had bought herself a big keyboard. I loved playing around on it and expressing my own moods and ideas.

What’s your favourite song you’ve ever written?  I think my favourite song of the ones I’ve written is ‘Bloom Out of Season’, a song still in the recording process. From the songs already released I’d say my favourite might be ‘Freedom You Won’, not because I think it’s the best song I’ve ever written but because I feel like I’ve been able to nail a very specific emotion I personally needed to express.

How easy did you find it to get your music heard?  Being heard can be challenging. My music tends to travel quite slowly. Sometimes I get some heartfelt feedback maybe a year after I’ve released songs! Spotify feels slightly random to me and I’m still learning about how to extend my reach through it.

What’s your biggest regret as a young songwriter?  I don’t have huge regrets as a songwriter but I wish I would have been more confident in my online presence. (Swiss culture doesn’t really appreciate self-promotion and I still have to tell myself it’s ok!)

What are your top tips for aspiring songwriters?  My top tip is to find a way to enjoy the process of songwriting and everything around it. If I only focus on trying to reach peak moments, I get too exhausted in the process and it’s less rewarding in the long run.

How do you write songs?   I believe you don’t have to wait for an especially creative mood when wanting to write a song. Sometimes playing around can spark ideas. I often just try different chord patterns on the keyboard and freely sing melodies and (sometimes silly) words that come to mind. I always record myself so I can stay in the flow and transcribe some fragments later on (if I’ve liked any). For me melodies and chords flow quite easily, but the lyrics take a lot of work and craft. I find it important to always being open to redraft and then also get constructive feedback from songwriters I trust.

What do you especially like about The Young Songwriter competition?  When I started songwriting I didn’t even know that being a Singer-Songwriter was a thing (and didn’t have an educational environment where songwriting was seen as something to be invested in) so I’d say that what excites me about the Young Songwriter Competition is simply that it exists!

Are you aged 8-18?  Have you written your own songs?  Then enter The Young Songwriter 2019 competition!

Eden has worked for various Song Academy songwriting clubs and workshops.  She has a strong background in musical theatre and studied songwriting at The Institute of Contemporary Music & Performance.

We asked Eden some questions to help aspiring young songwriters on their songwriting journey.

How old were you when you wrote your first song?  Probably about 10, and it was pretty bad. I started writing consistently and taking it more seriously from about the age of 16.

What was your first song about?  I think about sunsets! Like I said, I don’t think it was very good, but I just needed practice.

Who inspired you to start songwriting?  I would have to say Disney movies, my first musical love. Also the work of Cole Porter, ABBA, and many more.

What’s your favourite song you’ve ever written?  So far it’s ‘Red and Gold’, a Christmas song I wrote for the Iris Theatre. But even now I’m still improving.

How easy did you find it to get your music heard?  Not very easy, particularly as I write for other people and don’t perform myself. I was a couple years out of university before I got my first release. But if you network and take as many opportunities as you can, eventually one opportunity starts to lead to another.

What’s your biggest regret as a young songwriter?  Not taking myself and my skills more seriously.

What are your top tips for aspiring songwriters?  Listen to lots of different music, even things you don’t like – being versatile and being able to appreciate music that’s not your thing is really valuable.

How do you write songs?   Sometimes songs come easily, but sometimes they don’t, but you can’t just sit around waiting for inspiration! If a song isn’t working for me, I do research into genres and styles, I brainstorm, I make a lot of notes, then I leave it alone for a few days. And when I come back to it, it’s usually a lot easier.

What do you especially like about The Young Songwriter competition?  There aren’t a lot of opportunities to showcase young writers like this, so that’s great! I also look forward to hearing a wide range of voices and styles – diversity and individuality is so much more interesting than 20 songs that sound the same.

Are you aged 8-18?  Have you written your own songs?  Then enter The Young Songwriter 2019 competition!

Adam has recently joined the Song Academy team. He was awarded a prestigious scholarship to study BA Musical Theatre at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and then studied MA Songwriting at The Institute of Contemporary Music & Performance.

We asked Adam some questions to help aspiring young songwriters on their songwriting journey.

How old were you when you wrote your first song?  I was probably about 13 when I first attempted to write a song but from memory it wasn’t exactly the best. The first song I properly wrote was a song called ‘Up’ when I was 19.

What was your first song about?  I had left school and started a performing arts course while a lot of my friends had moved on to university. I felt a little left behind by my peers and it was the first time I started to experience severe anxiety. ‘Up’ was my response to my anxious thoughts and feelings, telling myself to try and rise above those feelings and focus forward.

Who inspired you to start songwriting?  My biggest songwriting inspiration at that age was John Mayer.

What’s your favourite song you’ve ever written?  I wrote a song during my MA called ‘Let Me Down Slow’. It’s a song about a friend of mine who had recently been through a breakup.

How easy did you find it to get your music heard?  It’s a tricky industry for that but I think using the platforms that are readily available like Instagram, YouTube and Facebook to promote your music and teasing any releases for at least a month before the release itself is really important to get people excited for it!

What’s your biggest regret as a young songwriter?  Not writing the songs I wanted to hear.

What are your top tips for aspiring songwriters?  Listen to a lot of music and pay attention to the songs that speak to you and ask why. And more than anything, write YOUR music, not anyone else’s.

How do you write songs?  I rarely write lyrics first, that’s usually the second part for me. I will usually play through chord patterns on guitar to find an interesting sequence. Then I’ll sing jibberish over the top which sometimes informs the lyric as a few words can come out of the vocal melody writing. Then when I’m happy with the initial idea I’ll start to scribble down lyrical ideas and try to form a bit of a structure. Then over time and with re-drafting, I’ll try and make it succinct and make sure it’s telling the story as well as possible. Song maps are really helpful too!

What do you especially like about The Young Songwriter competition?  I love that the songs are judged by professional songwriters. The feedback you will get is so valuable – these guys really know what they’re talking about! I also love that there’s a platform for young songwriters to get their music heard; it’s the best exposure you’ll get when starting out!

Are you aged 8-18?  Have you written your own songs?  Then enter The Young Songwriter 2019 competition!

Davy Denke is a Soul Rock singer-songwriter and guitarist based in London. Born in Paris to Togolese parents, Davy has taught himself music as he travelled the world from the USA, to China, Poland and the UK.

We asked Davy some questions to help aspiring young songwriters on their songwriting journey.

How old were you when you wrote your first song?  I was actually quite old, 19 years old was the first I gave it a crack.

What was your first song about?  Sad emotions are usually the first and easiest ones to tap into while starting. My first song was about solitude in the US, as a young Frenchman trying to connect with people.

Who inspired you to start songwriting?  Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles and Jeff Buckley in equal measures. They all had an approach to songwriting that blew me away!

What’s your favourite song you’ve ever written?  A song called ‘Faith’, about the duality of being our own salvation and damnation.

How easy did you find it to get your music heard?  It’s not easy and requires both passion and consistency. Performing live is my favourite way of connecting to people. The immediate feedback is very helpful and motivating! The other way I like to share is on social media. Getting people connecting to my songwriting years after a song has dropped is particularly heartwarming.

What’s your biggest regret as a young songwriter?  I’m not that young anymore! Probably starting earlier! I’d put it in the following way, having the emotional tools to be able to convert my earlier experiences into well crafted songs would have been great. However, songwriting is a way of life and the best part is that the older we grow, the more tools and experiences we get!

What are your top tips for aspiring songwriters?   Stay in touch with yourself and work on your craft equally. A great way to do that is to get used to sharing your work on platforms like YouTube early enough to practice, receive feedback and connect with like-minded and musicians and artists!

What do you especially like about The Young Songwriter competition?  It’s a fantastic platform I wish I had when I was younger! It’s exciting to see young people already in love with the craft of songwriting and to think of the potential they hold to write about their experiences growing up from refreshing perspectives!

Are you aged 8-18?  Have you written your own songs?  Then enter The Young Songwriter 2019 competition!

Emily has co-written three top ten UK hits with Rizzlekicks and John Newman, as well as a US top three hit with Big Time Rush. Other recent projects include writing with Shura, Nicole Sherzinger, McFly, L Devine, Maddison Beer and SOAK.

We asked Emily some questions to help aspiring young songwriters on their songwriting journey.

How old were you when you wrote your first song?  I was 12 when I wrote my first song

What was your first song about?  It was a collaboration with my girlband at school. The song was called “Golden Boy”, it was about putting love in a halo!

Who inspired you to start songwriting?  A mixture of Pete Townsend (The Who) – he was a Dad of one of my band members when I was a kid.  Then after a 10 year gap of writing, I got back into writing in my 20’s. Daman Albarn (Blur, Gorillaz) was my flatmate and encouraged me to write.

What’s your favourite song you’ve ever written?  My favourite song is “Everybody Loves You” which I co-wrote with Soak (Rough Trade Records). We wrote it last year at the piano.

How easy did you find it to get your music heard?  I had a band in my 20’s and we did a lot of gigs and had an indie following, so playing live was one way to be heard.  It wasn’t until I was signed to SonyATV publishing a few years later as a writer when I had releases with much better known artists. Through them, the songs I was co-writing were heard.

What’s your biggest regret as a young songwriter?  I haven’t always stayed true to my instincts. In the beginning it was the only force driving the writing, but as success came with time, I found that some songs were written with an industry head on rather than heart. There is a difference between thinking something is good, and feeling that it’s good. Now with the benefit of hindsight I can see how important it is again to listen carefully to that inner voice and not be distracted by predicting or wishing for a certain outcome.

What are your top tips for aspiring songwriters?  Before a session, I find it helpful to write a stream of consciousness, – to encourage free flow of ideas and not edit anything. This process helps keep a fertile imagination. Confidence in sessions comes with the ability to express the feeling or thoughts you have in your mind, without caring about them being wrong or bad. All ideas are welcome before deciding on the best.  Be kind to your fellow writers and encourage each other!!

What do you especially like about The Young Songwriter competition?  It’s a fantastic way to encourage young aspiring songwriters to do their very best and aim for great art.

Are you aged 8-18?  Have you written your own songs?  Then enter The Young Songwriter 2019 competition!