Award winning young songwriters and VIP guest artists impress a packed audience at The Tabernacle, Notting Hill.

The Song Academy Young Songwriter 2021 live showcase celebrated the power of songwriting, music and young people.  The Young Songwriter 2021 finalists songs were selected for their originality, creativity and music bravery.  As well as being exceptional young songwriters they all performed like professional artists!

A special thank you to Josh Shea and Cassa Jackson for compering the showcase with great style.  Also a massive congratulations to The Song Academy band for helping to bring the songs to life on stage. Thank you again to The Young Songwriter 2021 sponsors,  Yamaha, Focusrite, Kobalt, PRS for Music, ICMP and Soundtrap, for supporting this year’s competition.  Plus a big thank you to the SAYS21 star-studded panel of judges, including Fraser T Smith, Tom Odell, Calum Scott, Tom Grennan, Chris Difford, Michelle Escoffery, Miranda Cooper, Eg White, Emily Philips, Sacha Skarbek, Hannah V, Dan Gillespie Sells, Sodajerker and Janet Devlin.

A highlights video of the showcase is shown below.  Photos can be seen on our Facebook page (SongacademyUK).  The Song Academy Young Songwriter 2021 album will be released shortly.  Follow our social media channels to hear the latest news first!

THE YOUNG SONGWRITER 2021 SHOWCASE PERFORMERS

1ST HALF

TALKS TOO MUCH, LEONA MAE, TOP 10 FINALIST SAYS21

FIREFLIES, LILY CRIDDLE, 2ND PLACE SAYS21

TEARDROPS, NELLY BINGHAM, TOP 10 FINALIST SAYS21

ILLUSION, JOHNNY BEAU, 3RD PLACE SAYS21

DID I? ISLA CAMPBELL, TOP 10 FINALIST SAYS21

VOICES, MACY O’NEILL, TOP 10 FINALIST SAYS21

WISH I DIDN’T CARE, CASSA JACKSON, VIP GUEST ARTIST

MARBLE ARCH, CLARA FREEMAN-TAYLOR, TOP 10 FINALIST SAYS21

HOW TO BE VULNERABLE, EMILY SEMPLE, TOP 10 FINALIST SAYS21

GIRL IN THE DRESS, LOIS BROOKS, WINNER SAYS21, 8-12 YEAR CATEGORY

HOME, SOPHIE GRIFFITHS, VIP GUEST ARTIST

2ND HALF

TALK TO ME, THE SHEAS, VIP GUEST ARTISTS

FANTASY, GILSKA, VIP GUEST ARTIST

NO PLACE, WILL MASSIE, WINNER SAYS20, 8-12 YEAR CATEGORY

LIGHTS OF THE SKY, LILITH BEE, WINNER SAYS20, 13-18 YEAR CATEGORY

LAYING ON MARS, BENJAMIN FRERE, 3RD PLACE SAYS21

DROWNS ME OUT, TAIA THOMPSON, TOP 10 FINALIST SAYS21

CLAPHAM JUNCTION, JOE LEVER, TOP 10 FINALIST SAYS21

WE’RE NOT LONELY ANYMORE, LEXIE CARROLL, 2ND PLACE SAYS21

ALL IT TAKES, HETTA FALZON, WINNER SAYS21, 13-18 YEAR CATEGORY

EXPRESS YOURSELF, SONG ACADEMY

 

Background on Song Academy Song Academy was 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 and find their tribe.

Song Academy stands for the craft and art of songwriting in its purest form, enabling young aspiring songwriters to aspire to the very best melody, lyric, structure, concept, harmony, mood and impact a song can have. 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.  Song Academy songwriting programmes include clubs, workshops, song feedback, birthday parties and The Young Songwriter competition.

The Song Academy Young Songwriter competition is the leading songwriting competition for young people aged 8-18, worldwide.  It’s a golden opportunity to get your songs heard by a star-studded panel of judges, stand out & connect to a talented tribe of like-minded young songwriters.  The Young Songwriter 2022 competition is open for entries from 1st February to 31st March 2022, for 8-18 year olds worldwide. Get your songs ready!

SONG ACADEMY.  The platform for young songwriters.  Find your voice.  Find your tribe.

Save the date! It’s under 2 weeks to go!

The Young Songwriter 2021 live showcase will be held on Saturday 25th September, 7 – 9:30pm at The Tabernacle, 34-35 Powis Square, Notting Hill, London W11 2AY.  The Young Songwriter 2021 competition winners, finalists and Song Academy alumni making waves in the music industry will be performing their original songs live at The Tabernacle – a fabulous venue in Notting Hill. We’ve missed our live events and this one is set to be the best yet!

The showcase celebrates young people and the power of songwriting to help young people find their voice and find their tribe, making an exciting creative future.

We are delighted that the showcase will be compered by two young creative stars – Joshua Shea and Cassa Jackson.  Josh Shea is a talented actor, director, musician and songwriter, as well as a past Young Songwriter finalist.  He was young newt in Fantastic Beasts and Devin in The Royals.  He’s recently launched a musical duo with his sister, Esther ‘The Sheas’.  Cassa Jackson is a talented singer songwriter, musician and past Young Songwriter finalist.  Her tracks have exceeded 4 million streams on Spotify. She’s supported The Jacksons on tour and in a couple of weeks is supporting JLS for their hotly anticipated comeback tour. Playing in arenas all around the UK including the 02 four times!

The Song Academy Young Songwriter competition is the leading international songwriting competition for young people aged 8-18.  This year attracted a record 1,031 high quality entries. Sponsors of this year’s competition are Yamaha, Focusrite, Kobalt, PRS for Music, ICMP and Soundtrap.  The SAYS21 star-studded judging panel included Fraser T Smith, Tom Odell, Calum Scott, Tom Grennan, Chris Difford, Michelle Escoffery, Miranda Cooper, Eg White, Emily Philips, Sacha Skarbek, Hannah V, Dan Gillespie Sells, Sodajerker and Janet Devlin.

To book your seats at this unique event send an email to contact@songacademy.co.uk. £20 for seats at tables in the stalls (8 person tables and 10 person tables). £15 for seats in the gallery. All seats have an excellent view of the stage. Limited availability so we suggest you book soon. E-tickets will be sent out the week before.

ARTISTS PERFORMING

 

1ST HALF

TALKS TOO MUCH,  LEONA MAE

FIREFLIES,  LILY CRIDDLE

TEARDROPS,  NELLY BINGHAM

ILLUSION,  JOHNNY BEAU

DID I?  ISLA CAMPBELL

VOICES,  MACY O’NEILL

WISH I DIDN’T CARE, CASSA JACKSON

HONEY,  CLARA FREEMAN-TAYLOR

HOW TO BE VULNERABLE,  EMILY SEMPLE

GIRL IN THE DRESS,  LOIS BROOKS

HOME, SOPHIE GRIFFITHS

INTERVAL

2ND HALF

TALK TO ME, THE SHEAS

FANTASY, GILSKA

NO PLACE,  WILL MASSIE

LIGHTS OF THE SKY, LILITH BEE

LAYING ON MARS,  BENJAMIN FRERE

DROWNS ME OUT,  TAIA THOMPSON

CLAPHAM JUNCTION,  JOE LEVER

WE’RE NOT LONELY ANYMORE,  LEXIE CARROLL

ALL IT TAKES,  HETTA FALZON

EXPRESS YOURSELF, SONG ACADEMY

We hope to see you there!

Background on Song Academy Song Academy was 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 and find their tribe.

Song Academy stands for the craft and art of songwriting in its purest form, enabling young aspiring songwriters to aspire to the very best melody, lyric, structure, concept, harmony, mood and impact a song can have. 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.

 

 

We’ve teamed up with YouTube Music to create an exclusive opportunity to meet Plested & ask him questions about his songwriting & experience in the music industry.  Plus you’ll learn how to get the most from the YouTube platform and be inspired by performances from a couple of talented young songwriters.

Phil Plested, who performs as “Plested” is a singer/songwriter from Croxley Green, Hertfordshire. He began writing songs at school (Rickmansworth) and was scouted at a talent show and signed to Island Records. He’s spent the past several years penning songs for some of pop music’s biggest names, including Lewis Capaldi (“Hollywood” and the UK and US Radio #1 “Before You Go”), Little Mix (the UK Top 5 single “Touch”) and Kygo (“Remind Me To Forget” ft. Miguel & “Lose Somebody” ft. One Republic). Phil most recently co-wrote “Leave Before You Love Me” for Marshmello x Jonas Brothers as well as the Anne-Marie & Niall Horan duet “Our Song”. He is in the studio with Lewis Capaldi, Dermot Kennedy, Niall Horan & Clean Bandit to name a few.

This online event on Tuesday 7th September, 6pm to around 7:15pm is for aspiring young songwriters aged 8-18 worldwide. Limited places available. To reserve your place (it’s free to attend) send an email to contact@songacademy.co.uk

We’re super excited to announce the launch of our new song production & recording workshops and 121 sessions!  Although we focus on the art of songwriting, we believe that it’s important for young songwriters at a minimum to learn how to make their recording sound clear enough to hear the individual parts – the listener doesn’t want to miss out on hearing your amazing lyrics!

We encourage all young songwriters to develop a knowledge of production as it opens up a new creative dimension to songwriting across different genres and helps to enhance the impact of a song.

It’s important to note that you do not need incredible production skills and a top mix in order to submit a successful song to The Young Songwriter competition, many of the best songs ever written would still be just as good whether they were produced fully or just played on one instrument!

Check out our production & recording workshops and opportunities for 121 sessions, for those who are new to producing & recording their songs, and opportunities for more advanced young producers.

What do you need to start producing your songs at home?

Here are some examples of home studio setups, with 1 being the most simple and 5 being the most complex.

  1. The most simple – recording yourself performing your song using either the voice memo app on your phone or a tape recorder to capture the raw performance as it sounds in the room.
  2. Using a USB microphone with your computer to capture your performance, possibly adding a few simple effects after the fact to enhance the recording.
  3. Using music production software/a DAW to record the individual parts of your song separately. For example, a USB microphone and an adaptor/cable to connect a guitar/keyboard/MIDI keyboard directly into your computer, resulting in multiple recorded tracks that will be mixed together.
  4. Music production software/DAW using an audio interface, allowing for multiple instruments/voices to be recorded at once either by plugging microphones into the XLR inputs or jack leads into Hi-Z inputs. This can be combined with multiple virtual instruments controlled via MIDI in the DAW.
  5. A full studio setup, including 16 or more input channels, giving you the ability to record several instruments with multiple microphones, including live drums, live piano, guitar amps and strings, at the same time. This setup may also include a MIDI interface in order to control several synths and/or drum machines at the same time. This would also usually be accompanied by a monitoring setup that allows for multiple headphone mixes for different musicians.

Some of the most well known brands for home studio setup audio interfaces include Focusrite, Universal Audio, M-Audio and Presonus. The pros and cons will depend entirely on your needs, but it’s a good idea to research every bit of kit as thoroughly as possible as they all have their own unique selling points. As for microphones, the most well known brands are Shure, Rode, AKG, Audio Technica and Sennheiser. As with the audio interfaces, it’s a good idea to research microphones, and it may be more important as different microphones work better for different sources. A microphone that is good for vocals, may not be great for mic’ing a guitar amp, for example.

Why use a USB microphone?  The first step up from using your phone to record voice memos would be a USB microphone. These range in price and quality, but typically will sound better than a phone microphone or standard computer microphone. You can use it to record the different parts of your song in separately, then mix them together in a DAW, which brings us to the next question…

Why use a DAW?  A Digital Audio Workstation, or DAW, is a piece of software that allows for the recording, layering and processing of audio files. It is the heart of most modern setups, and DAWs are a cheaper, efficient alternative to expensive large format mixing consoles. Some bigger studios may still use traditional style consoles, but many will still record into a DAW via an audio interface instead of recording to tape.

Why use an audio interface?  Audio interfaces have many benefits over USB microphones or plugging a microphone directly into your computer. First of all, they are dedicated units that are built to record audio at a high quality without introducing unwanted noise or artefacts that you might get when using USB microphones. Most interfaces also have independent gain controls so you can set the gain of your microphone and get a comfortable level using a physical control on the interface itself. Audio interfaces can also have multiple inputs, something which isn’t usually possible (or is very difficult) without using one, so they increase the possibilities of your studio with each extra input. Lastly, most interfaces use XLR and jack inputs, that allow you to easily plug in a variety of instruments or microphones, including guitars, keyboards, drum machines. If the interface has a phantom power feature, it means you don’t have to have an extra phantom power supply for your microphone.”

We’re looking forward to helping you start your journey as a young producer and develop your production skills.  Click here for song production & recording workshops dates and the various 121 sessions we offer.

 

Every year we get asked the questions “what type of song should I enter into The Young Songwriter competition?” and “do you have any songwriting tips?” so we thought we would put together some ideas and guidelines to help you write a winning song!

We believe the key way to raise your songwriting game is practice – write more and more songs and get feedback on how you’re doing.  Take on different ideas and challenges.  Write songs on your own and collaborate with others who have different skills sets to spark ideas off each other.

As well as running The annual Young Songwriter competition, we inspire many aspiring young songwriters throughout the year and help make sure their songs are the best they can be by offering an insightful song feedback service, weekly online and in-person songwriting clubs in term-time and online/in-person holiday workshops throughout the year.  Being part of a vibrant community helps to raise everyone’s songwriting level.  In addition, across our social media platforms we offer songwriting tips and challenges to accelerate your songwriting progress.

The main things that we listen out for when judging The Young Songwriter competition entries are originality, captivating melodies, evocative lyrics, a coherent structure, a catchy chorus, emotive performances, clever use of rhyme, invention, a sense of anticipation, and strong concepts.  The songs can be in any genre.

It’s important to say at the outset that songs which break all the rules and defy any expectation  can be the biggest hits of all! Therefore, in as much as there are so called ‘rules’, feel free to bend and break them if you feel inspired to!

The power of songwriting is that no matter what inspired the songwriter to write a song, the listener interprets the song in their own unique way, and finds strength from the message and connection.

 

Here are some elements of the songwriting process which we think are important:

Have a strong theme/concept

One of the key components, and biggest challenges, of songwriting is trying to express common, relatable feelings in an original and interesting way. The more inventive you can be when describing your feelings or experiences (for example, the pressures and joys of growing up and living in our society), the better. It’s a great way to boost self-respect and self-identify through song, and to talk about issues you are passionate about in an engaging way.

Young Songwriter competition entries cover a huge spectrum of topics, from personal experiences and feelings, to wider issues involving the writer’s communities, or even the entire world. Looking back on prior years, a popular theme was the state of the planet and awareness of environmental issues such as climate change. Another theme that came up a lot was mental health, with songs exploring anxieties, depression, drugs, death and high expectations. We also received many entires that explored the need be who you are, embrace your individuality and go for your dreams. Many songs took a stand for equality and freedom from barriers. Love and heartbreak always feature highly in Young Songwriter entries, with many different spins: we broke up, we’re breaking up, we’re about to break up, we’re not going to break up, I wish I could break up with you, we didn’t break up, I wish I had someone to break up with. Also, songs about the pain of toxic relationships and unrequited love.

But not all songs have to be dramatic and poignant – many people wrote songs about aspects of everyday life, like nature, sunlight, boredom, society, the stars, anything! Through lyrics and harmony the seemingly banal can sometimes be lifted onto another plain. It is great to be able to find inspiration in ordinary things, and it’s an amazing skill to be able to present those things in a way that people find exciting.

 

Come up with an interesting song title

A song title is almost like a book cover, so 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. It can also be a good way to start a song, having a strong title that sets the theme of the song can inspire more lyrics around it!

We’ve had many interesting song titles in The Young Songwriter competition past entries, including; Biting Into Ice, Concrete Sheets, Sneaks & Geeks, Dead Plants, Like Lava, T-shirt, Packet Full Of Noodles, Armour, Paperclips, Shine in the Darkness, Blue Fingertips, Burnt Peaches, Lies In Makeup, Sungrazer, Hijacked By Parasites, Reset, Little Alchemy, Dopamine, Me Myself and I, Mrs Ocean, Keyboard Warrior, Battlecry, Muddy Clear, Growing Gills, Swim Against The Stream, Muddy Boots & Messy Hair, Ode To Ego, Painting With Colour, Helvetica, Puppeteer, Head Full Of Clouds, Same Blood, Mindless Town, Can’t Buy Forgiveness, Cat And Mouse, Fading Rainbow, The Taste Of Dust.

 

Have a good song structure

Here’s an example of a great song structure:

Introduction — An opening passage, either instrumental or vocals without lyrics

Verse I — Introduces the song’s message and sets the scene

— 4 to 8 bars long

Pre Chorus — Link between the verse and chorus
— Builds up both melodically and lyrically

— 2 or 4 bars

Chorus — Main message of the song
— Catchiest part and most memorable part of the song (normally includes a ‘hook’)
— Most dynamic part of the song

Verse II — Continuing the explanation of the song

— Solidifying the message and introducing new imagery

— Lyrics change, melody stays broadly the same as verse 1, but you can tweak it a bit to keep it interesting!

Bridge or Middle Eight — A contrasting section that brings the song to a new level

— Rhythmically and melodically the song changes

— Looking at the message from a different view point
— Can build up tension leading up to the climax of the song

Chorus — Repeat (can add hooks to the outro of it)
Outro — The closing passage. It can be instrumental or vocal

 

Write engaging lyrics

Young Songwriter finalists write lyrics that show the listener a scene unfolding rather than simply telling the listener how they feel. American songwriter Jason Blume, who has 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.

Action:

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.

Imagery:

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.

Detail: 

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!

 

Play around with new melodies and chord sequences

Play around with different combinations until your find the melody you’re looking for. Choose a key for your song and then try out the I, IV and V primary chords as well as the  II III, VI and VII chords.

Make sure your chorus stands out from your verses with different melodies and chords.

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 ‘ahh’s 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). Other songs with simple but strong hooks include One Kiss by Calvin Harris featuring Dua Lipa, or Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen.

A lot of hooks are incredibly simple and may even be made by manipulating vocal parts, cutting them up or re-pitching them in an interesting way, songs that do this include Latch by Disclosure featuring Sam Smith, or Stay High (the Hippie Sabotage remix of Habits) by Tove Lo. Try and think about hooks for your own song, either lyrically, melodically or instrumentally. They can be incredibly simple and consist of a couple of notes, or a bit more interesting, just make sure they stick in your head!

 

Rhythm

Rhythm is an important part of many songs, it’s what makes people dance, or makes them nod their head and tap their feet. A solid rhythm can be a hook in itself, and it will lay the foundation on which to base the rest of your song around. It will also determine what kind of song it is, is it a fun, dancey song that makes you want to dance, like Get Lucky by Daft Punk? Or is it a slow, wistful song that people will sway along to, like Imagine by John Lennon? It could even be a fast, uptempo song that sounds exciting and triumphant, like Feel The Love by Rudimental ft John Newman.  If the aim is to make the listener dance, try writing a song to the BPM of 120. If you’re writing a romantic acoustic song, experiment with different time signatures like 6/8 as this will get people swaying along to your song!

Another thing to experiment with is using triplets, it can open up a whole new world of melodic and rhythmic possibilities! A good example that we mentioned in the previous section about hooks is Latch by Disclosure featuring Sam Smith, you’ll hear the hi hat doing triplet rhythms where traditionally for that genre you would expect an even number of hi hats (either quarter notes, eighth notes or sixteenth notes).

Beats and rhythms also don’t have to be perfectly on beat, and often a beat that makes you want to dance will be a ‘swing’ or ‘shuffle’ rhythm, this is a technique that changes the length of notes to create a more uneven but interesting rhythm. An example of a swung rhythm is Ex’s and Oh’s by Elle King, hear how some of the hits are slightly late which gives a driving feel to the song.

 

Production

The Young Songwriter competition entries are mainly judged on the song itself rather than the production, but there are some entries that use the production to help present their song in a stronger way. For example, a more pop/electronic entry might rely on solid drum sounds and more bass than an acoustic entry. Both are totally acceptable approaches and it’s important to note that you do not need incredible production skills and a top mix in order to submit a successful song, many of the best songs ever written would still be just as good whether they were produced fully or just played on one instrument!

 

Recording

We receive many different styles of recordings, many people record themselves at home, even in their bedroom with a phone! We understand that not everyone has access to recording studios or fancy equipment, and much like the production, if your song is strong it will shine even without an expensive or time consuming recording process. The most important thing is that the recording is clear enough for our judges to hear the individual parts, try to avoid recording in noisy environments that may make your recording difficult to hear, or distract from the song itself. You can record elements separately and combine them in a DAW (SoundTrap, Logic, Pro Tools, Reaper, Ableton or any other suitable software) or record with one microphone in one go, whichever you feel most comfortable with!  If recording onto voice memos be sure to sing as clearly as possible as the judges don’t want to miss out on hearing your amazing lyrics. That goes for all recordings.

 

THE POWER OF SONGWRITING IS THAT NO MATTER WHAT INSPIRED THE SONGWRITER TO WRITE A SONG, THE LISTENER INTERPRETS THE SONG IN THEIR OWN UNIQUE WAY, AND FINDS STRENGTH FROM THE MESSAGE AND CONNECTION.

 

Remember to check out our insightful song feedback service to make sure your songs are the best they can be before entering The Young Songwriter 2022 competition!  Entries can be sent from 1st February to 31st March 2022.  We also run online songwriting clubs and holiday workshops throughout the year.  In addition, across our social media platforms we offer songwriting tips and challenges to accelerate your songwriting progress.

 

 

 

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 winners 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.

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 winners were selected as they stood out for being special and original. Emily Phillips, renown songwriter and chair of The Young Songwriter 2021 judging panel said, “Chairing the judges this year was an exciting and stimulating experience!  To hear the feedback and thoughts of such renowned writers, producers and artists was fascinating.  The selection process was hotly debated as strong opinions clashed over different genres of music, reinforcing the fact that this is not an exact science but equally, that the winning songs were recognised and applauded for their artistry, inspiration and craft.  The standard was very high this year, so a huge congratulations to the winners and runners up!”

Michelle Escoffery, President of the PRS Members’ Council and SAYS21 judge, said:  “The Song Academy Young Songwriter 2021 competition is an incredibly valuable platform for helping the next generation of music creators develop their skills and build confidence in the profession. This year’s submissions have been filled with some fantastic original and interesting new music, that really captures the imagination and most importantly, reflects the resilience displayed by these songwriters over the past year. I want to thank all of the applicants for sharing their creations with us and a huge congratulations to those who have made the top three in each category. I look forward to seeing what you all do next and wish you the very best of luck in your careers.”

Goto the Song Academy SoundCloud account to listen to the finalists’ songs!   The Young Songwriter 2021 live showcase will be held at The Tabernacle, Notting Hill, London on Saturday 25th September 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.”

The SAYS21 winners were announced on a live stream with SAYS21 judges Tom Odell, Emily Phillips, Hannah V and Janet Devlin joining the live stream. Have a listen to Tom Odell talking about how he writes his songs and tips for young songwriters.

TOP 3 SAYS21 SONGS – 13-18 YEAR OLDS, UK/IRELAND

1st Place.  ALL IT TAKES – HETTA FALZON
2nd Place. WE’RE NOT LONELY ANYMORE – LEXIE CARROLL 

3rd Place.  LAYING ON MARS – BENJAMIN FRERE

TOP 3 SAYS21 SONGS – 8-12 YEAR OLDS, UK/IRELAND

1st Place. GIRL IN THE DRESS – LOIS BROOKS
2nd Place.  FIREFLIES – LILY CRIDDLE
3rd Place. ILLUSION – JOHNNY BEAU

TOP 3 SAYS21 SONGS – 13-18 YEAR OLDS, INTERNATIONAL

1st Place.  STARDUST – KELTY PARKER
2nd Place.  LOST MYSELF – JO MACKENZIE
3rd Place.  PEOPLE LIKE YOU – PIP LEWIS

TOP 3 SAYS21 SONGS – 8-12 YEAR OLDS INTERNATIONAL

1st Place. MY FRIEND IN MIAMI – VENICE AND BELLE HERRERA
2nd Place.  COLOURFUL – EVANGELINE DURUPT
3rd Place. TALK – BENJAMIN MAGRO

Listen to all Top Finalists songs on the Song Academy Soundcloud account

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, 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 rowena@songacademy.co.uk 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.

NEXT OPPORTUNITIES:

Summer Holiday Workshops

Song Feedback Reports

Autumn Term 2021 weekly songwriting clubs

Create your own top trumps card, celebrate your creative talents and get to know more about aspiring young songwriters around the world!  The Song Academy Top Trumps Young Songwriters new initiative aims to connect young songwriters aged 8-18 around the world, sparking new collaborations, showcasing their creative talents and nurturing new leaders in the Music Industry.

We’re launching a new Top Trumps Young Songwriters initiative on Instagram & Facebook to encourage connections and collaborations between young songwriters around the world and have a bit of fun!

If you’d like to create your card please tailor the image below (right click to download it) and email your card to contact@songacademy.co.uk.  Plus please share with your followers and tag us (Instagram song_academy Facebook songacademyUK).

We can also create your card.  Please email a photo/avatar and answers to the following questions to contact@songacademy.co.uk:

Top Trumps File: Your name!
Favourite genre:
Musical Hero:
Instruments played:
Lyrical genius (out of 100)
Melody Master (out of 100)
Production Wizard (out of 100)
Number of songs written:
Life Motto:

We’re looking forward to seeing your cards and connecting you to our vibrant community of young songwriters!

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 3 finalists 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.

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 3 finalists songs were selected as they stood out for being special and original. Emily Phillips, renown songwriter and chair of The Young Songwriter 2021 judging panel said, “Chairing the judges this year was an exciting and stimulating experience!  To hear the feedback and thoughts of such renowned writers, producers and artists was fascinating.  The selection process was hotly debated as strong opinions clashed over different genres of music, reinforcing the fact that this is not an exact science but equally, that the winning songs were recognised and applauded for their artistry, inspiration and craft.  The standard was very high this year, so a huge congratulations to the winners and runners up!”

Michelle Escoffery, President of the PRS Members’ Council and SAYS21 judge, said:  “The Song Academy Young Songwriter 2021 competition is an incredibly valuable platform for helping the next generation of music creators develop their skills and build confidence in the profession. This year’s submissions have been filled with some fantastic original and interesting new music, that really captures the imagination and most importantly, reflects the resilience displayed by these songwriters over the past year. I want to thank all of the applicants for sharing their creations with us and a huge congratulations to those who have made the top three in each category. I look forward to seeing what you all do next and wish you the very best of luck in your careers.”

Goto the Song Academy SoundCloud account to listen to the finalists’ songs!   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 Saturday 25th September 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 3 SAYS21 FINALISTS – 13-18 YEAR OLDS, UK/IRELAND

ALL IT TAKES – HETTA FALZON
LAYING ON MARS – BENJAMIN FRERE

WE’RE NOT LONELY ANYMORE – LEXIE CARROLL

TOP 3 SAYS21 FINALISTS – 8-12 YEAR OLDS, UK/IRELAND

FIREFLIES – LILY CRIDDLE
GIRL IN THE DRESS – LOIS BROOKS
ILLUSION – JOHNNY BEAU

TOP 3 SAYS21 FINALISTS – 13-18 YEAR OLDS, INTERNATIONAL

LOST MYSELF – JO MACKENZIE
PEOPLE LIKE YOU – PIP LEWIS
STARDUST – KELTY PARKER

TOP 3 SAYS21 FINALISTS – 8-12 YEAR OLDS INTERNATIONAL

COLOURFUL – EVANGELINE DURUPT
MY FRIEND IN MIAMI – VENICE AND BELLE HERRERA
TALK – BENJAMIN MAGRO

Listen to all Top Finalists songs on the Song Academy Soundcloud account

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, 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 rowena@songacademy.co.uk 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.

NEXT OPPORTUNITIES:

Summer Holiday Workshops

Song Feedback Reports

Autumn Term 2021 weekly songwriting clubs

This week it is #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek, hosted by @mentalhealthfoundation. The theme this year is connecting with nature, so we’ve decided to create a Spotify playlist of songs about nature that may help you think about the world around us and see the benefits of nature when it comes to mental health. We are also huge believers that songwriting can help young creators express themselves and has a direct, positive affect on mental health, so why not combine the two and write a song about nature or the world around us?

In today’s world, feeling relaxed and being creative isn’t easy. There are so many technological distractions which can easily cut young people off from the real world and encourage them to live in a disconnected social media world, plus big events like COVID-19 and climate change have created fear and uncertainty in our daily lives as well as uncertainty about the future. Imagine a young person had something they wanted to share but didn’t know how to express it, or they were afraid that their creativity would be laughed at or frowned upon, or they feel isolated and that no one believes in them. Maybe 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 argued with a friend and don’t know how to express their emotions.

This is where songwriting can help. Music and especially songwriting is a powerful tool that allows people to express emotions, as well as relate to the emotions of others. Songs are written from the heart, mind and soul – whether joyful or sorrowful – and the very act of composing and writing lyrics and melodies can be very cathartic. 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 deal with their worries and fears as well as express wishes, hopes and dreams.

Music therapist Barbara Dunn said that ‘songwriting is a way to give voice to the essence of who we are, to understand and express ourselves and, to some extent, our relationship to the community and world that surrounds us’. If we can get more young people engaging with their feelings and thoughts, and transforming them into a song with a message that is personal or universal, then maybe they’ll grow up to believe, as John Lennon once penned, ‘there’s nothing you can do that can’t be done, nothing you can sing that can’t be sung’.  Everything is possible.

Song Academy is dedicated to the wellbeing of young people and the future of music. Through our songwriting programmes and The Young Songwriter competition we enable young people to express themselves and be heard. From writing 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.

Have a listen to our Spotify playlist of songs about nature. Click here to listen to the playlist on Spotify.

What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong.  Earth Song by Michael Jackson.  Sun is Shining by Bob Marley & The Wailers.  Go To The Woods by Dar Williams.  One World by John Martyn.  (Nothing But) Flowers by Talking Heads.  Truth to Power by OneRepublic.  Big Yellow Taxi by Joni Mitchell.  Eyes Wide Open by Gotye.  Pass It On Down by Alabama.  Rocky Mountain High by John Denver.  Going Up The Country by Canned Heat.

For those young people who’d like some help developing their songwriting talents or writing their first song, we have an exciting programme of online songwriting workshops running this Half-Term & in the Summer holidays.  Another opportunity we provide is an excellent song feedback service throughout the year.

 

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.

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
CLAPHAM JUNCTION – JOE LEVER 
DROWNS ME OUT – TAIA THOMPSON
HONEY – NETTLE
HOW TO BE VULNERABLE – EMILY SEMPLE
I CAN’T BREATHE – HATTY YAP
LAYING ON MARS – BENJAMIN FRERE
TALKS TOO MUCH – LEONA MAE 
TWO TWO SEVEN- ALEKS KOSTOV
WE’RE NOT LONELY ANYMORE – LEXIE CARROLL 

TOP 10 SAYS21 FINALISTS – 8-12 YEAR OLDS, UK/IRELAND

DEEP WATERS – TWINKLE ANSAR
DID I – ISLA CAMPBELL 
FIREFLIES – LILY CRIDDLE
FOLLOW ME – LUKE PENDER 
GIRL IN THE DRESS – LOIS BROOKS
GOLDEN DAYS – LILY CARROLL 
ILLUSION – JOHNNY BEAU
SLOWLY – SAMBELLE PRINCE 
TEARDROPS – NELLY BINGHAM
VOICES – MACY O’NEILL 

TOP 5 SAYS21 FINALISTS – 13-18 YEAR OLDS, INTERNATIONAL

GOLDEN YEARS – YOB
LOST MYSELF – JO MACKENZIE 
PEOPLE LIKE YOU – PIP LEWIS
STARDUST – KELTY PARKER 
THE ASTRONAUTS’S SONG – MICHAEL ABIMANYU KAENG

TOP 5 SAYS21 FINALISTS – 8-12 YEAR OLDS INTERNATIONAL

COLOURFUL – EVANGELINE DURUPT
GRAFFITI ON THE WALL – ALEXIS G. ROLEY 
MY FRIEND IN MIAMI – VENICE AND BELLE HERRERA
TALK – BENJAMIN MAGRO 
WHO AM I – TAMARA YASIN

Listen to all Top Finalists songs on the Song Academy Soundcloud account

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, 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 rowena@songacademy.co.uk 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.

NEXT OPPORTUNITIES:

Half-Term Songwriting Workshops 

Summer Holiday Workshops

Song Feedback Reports