Congratulations to Lisa for being a Young Songwriter 2018 Finalist with her song ‘Free Spirits’. Here’s a bit about Lisa and her songwriting.
What inspired you to write your SAYS18 finalist song ‘Free Spirits? Free Spirits is inspired by my Mum calling me free-spirited during a discussion about me finding it difficult to run with the crowd at school. I wrote it around 2 years ago, when I was 16 and my friendship group was beginning to fragment. The words reflect the difficulties I had been having with finding a peer group who would accept me as I am. I have always turned to song writing to express hopes, frustrations and dreams and the words of this song reflect my decision to be myself regardless. It basically reflects pride in being who am, being different and believing that one day my time will come. Its about holding true to your personal goals and embracing your creativity and individuality. I wrote it on a Friday evening after the chat with my Mum and it got its debut at half time at my local football stadium St Mirren FC the next day, to a crowd of around 4000.
How long have you been writing songs? I wrote my first song when I was 13 about wanting to be a singer and perform my own music on stage to a crowd. Since then I’ve just kept writing about a variety of different things all based on things that I’ve experienced, felt or am passionate about.
How did you get into song writing? All the artists that I’ve admired, from when I was younger to now, have been songwriters as well as performers. I really loved the stories they would tell from their music and loved to sing their music around the house. Then when I was 12 I got my first guitar for Christmas and started learning chords and from there on I learned how to put chords together to make my own melody and write lyrics on top of it and the artists I listened to really influenced me through this.
What does song writing allow you to explore and achieve? There’s so many things I’ve been able to experience through writing and performing my own music. I’ve met a lot of amazing people, won competitions such as Salute UK, performed at iconic venues like King Tuts and Stereo and had the amazing opportunity to record my own EP “Free Spirits” which has really helped me progress in my career.
What’s your favourite part of the song writing process? My favourite part is when you’re finishing the song. Writing a song can take me between ten minutes or a couple weeks but no matter how long it takes me it feels good to finish something and know you’re happy with the way it’s turned out and then know you get to show the finished song to other people at your gigs.
What’s the most difficult part of the creative process of song writing for you? There’s often times where I don’t feel very inspired or creative. I’ll have days where the ideas for lyrics, melodies and chord progressions come flowing in but other times I could be stuck with nothing for days no matter how hard I try. I overcome it by going outside, even just for a short walk, and looking around me for inspiration.
Do you start with lyrics or melodies/chords? I often start with lyrics, but it just depends what comes to my head. Most of my ideas come to me at the most random points and I write them down in my phone for when I have time to write and go home and finish the song from there.
What do you like about Song Academy and our Young Songwriter competition? I think the Young Songwriter competition is cool because its proven song writers who are deciding who wins and basing it on nothing but the quality of the song writing. I also can’t wait to come to London to take part in the showcase.
Who are your three favourite artists/songs? One artist who has been a favourite since I was young and who has greatly influenced my song writing journey is Taylor Swift. I’ve always really admired how she wasn’t afraid to write whatever or however she wants, and I loved the way she could take a feeling or story that a lot of people experience and write it in such an eloquent way that no one else could ever do.
Another artist who I look up to is Bruce Springsteen. The way he experiments between so many different genres and succeeds every time is amazing and I think every artist would love to write and perform music of so many different styles and do it as well as him. I also love the way he tells stories – the way the music perfectly captures what he’s telling us.
Another artist I admire, who’s a newer addition, is Kendrick Lamar. I think the way he tells his experiences through his words is incredible. You can really hear what he’s trying to get across through his voice and you can feel every word. I think he has an amazing way of expressing a story or a feeling.
15 years from now you will be… Hopefully still doing what I’m doing now, just to more people! All I want is to be able to write my own music and have people there listening to it – online, in their car, at my gigs, at festivals. I want to have people connect with and love my music and encourage me to keep going.
What’s your favourite thing to do when you’re not writing songs? I love to go out and listen to music. Go for walks, travel somewhere, sit in a café, etc. just anywhere I can get out the house and put some good music on and hopefully meet people with dogs as I am crazy about animals and dont have a pet of my own!
Our SAYS18 winners will be announced on the 14th May at 6pm (GMT) on our Twitter channel.
Come & watch the top young songwriters from across the UK and Ireland perform @WestfieldLondon, Shepherd’s Bush in the Young Songwriter 2018 live showcase on Sunday 10th June, 2-5pm. Around 40 performers including winners, finalists & highly commended entrants, aged 8-18 will perform! #savethedate #newgeneration #talent #youngsongwriters #songwriting #newmusic #freeevent #SAYS18
Full line-up to be announced shortly.