Congratulations to Callum James, SAYS17 Runner Up with his original song ‘Cardboard Spaceship’. Here’s a bit about Callum and his songwriting.
What inspired you to write ‘Cardboard Spaceship’? This song was essentially written about the relationship with my younger brother. There is almost a ten year age gap between us and he always used to want to emulate me. He would like to wear clothes and shoes similar to mine. Often wanting to wear shoes and clothing that I had outgrown but was too big for him. He liked to wear hand me downs even though they were often threadbare. We used to watch old Star Wars movies when he got home from school and on one occasion in the summer holiday we made a spaceship with windows cut out of a large cardboard box that we took from the recycling. People are forever saying he looks like I did when I was younger. I have had comments from people that have listened to the song that the sentiments reminded them of their younger siblings. The bigger message is about being able to go where ever you want and be your own person just by imagining and believing.
How long have you been writing songs? About 5 years
How did you get into songwriting? From listening to music and wanting to emulate others that I admired and as means of expressing myself. I had always been surrounded by music but probably the artist that made it real for me when I started writing was Ed Sheeran.
What does songwriting allow you to explore and achieve? Songwriting to me is a form of therapy and helps me express my innermost thoughts and feelings. It makes me feel comfortable with myself and able to cope with situations.
What’s your favourite part of the songwriting process? When I think of a catchy hook it really excites me and I record it on my phone. I will then play it over and over and refine if required and then put words to it.
What’s the most difficult part of the creative process of songwriting for you? Over coming “writers block”. Sometimes I’ll just write and write and eventually the words will start to flow. Before starting songwriting, I had struggled writing things down clearly. Last year I was diagnosed as being dyslexic and so now realise why I had those issues. Songwriting has helped greatly in that respect.
Do you start with lyrics or melodies/chords? Chords.
What do you like about Song Academy and our Young Songwriter competition? It gives a platform for your song to get heard by many different people. The calibre of the judges and their respective talents means that your song is listened to by music professionals who have won Ivor Novello awards for instance. It is a real privilege and not something that is usually possible. To benchmark one of my songs against those written by other songwriters is really useful and to have reached the final 10 shortlist is really special.
Who are your three favourite artists/songs? Ed Sheeran “A Team”, Cat Stevens “Father and Son”, Bears Den “Clouds over Pompeii”
15 years from now you will be… Hopefully still performing and writing songs. I am constantly trying to learn how to play better and listen to all genres of music for influence.
What’s your favourite thing to do when you’re not writing songs? Anything relating to music; whether performing live, listening to music or watching live music .
Have a listen to all our top ten SAYS17 finalists
Our SAYS17 winners will be announced on the 8th May at 12pm on our Twitter channel.
Come & watch the top young songwriters from across the UK and Ireland perform @WestfieldLondon, Southern Terrace in the Young Songwriter 2017 competition live showcase on Sunday 4th June, 2-5pm. Around 50 performers including winners, finalists & highly commended entrants, aged 8-18 will perform! #savethedate #newgeneration #talent #youngsongwriters #freeevent
Full line-up to be announced shortly.