We’re delighted that Jenk Oz has joined our Young Ambassadors Board!  Jenk is an entrepreneur, speaker, actor, musician, DJ and founder of Thred Media.  Jenk talks to us about how he got started as a musician, his advice for young people interested in songwriting and so much more.

What got you into music?  I started taking piano lessons at school once a week when I was 5 years old, it seemed like everyone was picking up an instrument, so I thought why not give it a go.  Over time, I started picking up other instruments so I could play a certain type of instrument based on the songs I was interested in learning. Alto sax suited more jazz type songs, guitar was well suited to pop and the drums was my rock outlet!

What is your favourite part of the songwriting process?  To date, I have not written that many songs but when I started, it was all about the rhymes and the rap. I wanted to be the Fresh Prince of Belair!

What achievement are you most proud of?  Grade 8 Piano and professional DJ gigs

Who would be your dream artist/writer/band to collaborate with?  Drake and Calvin Harris

Do you feel like you’ve mastered your craft or are you still learning? If you’re still learning, what’s your next milestone?  Piano Diploma

What would you say to someone aged 8-18 who is thinking about writing songs but hasn’t started yet? Or do you have any tips for 8-18 year old songwriters who are already writing?  The faster you take the words/melodies out of your head and write them down, the faster you can free up space for the next round of creative thoughts!

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

Artist?  Queen and Loyle Carner

Songwriter?  Dave

Song?  Hell N Back and Death Bed

Album?  Scorpion

Chord?  B flat 11 chord in Bohemian Rhapsody- best song ever written

Gig you’ve been to?  As crazy as it sounds, I’ve been to 100+ shows, nothing beats LIVE

Lyric?  Anything in the song Gold Digger- Kanye

Genre?  Hip Hop

What’s your instrument of choice? Is there an instrument you would like to learn?  Piano

Do you have any hidden talents or party tricks?  Whip cream catch

What are your non-musical hobbies?  DJing, acting and Rugby

What do you think matters most to 8-18 year olds?  Their phones

What do you like about Song Academy?  Gives young people a chance to express their feelings through song, it’s an outlet 24/7 no matter what is happening around them.

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

We’re delighted to announce the Song Academy Young Ambassadors board!

This board includes selected past finalists worldwide who are making waves in the music industry, as well as young people who are leaders of youth culture. Our young ambassadors will be inspiring the Song Academy community to be creative, positive and connected!


Jenk Oz

Miriam Nyarko

Lottie Jenkins

Andrea Turk

Joshua Shea

Katie Kittermaster

Natalie Shay

Kevin Jones

Roman Lewis

Cassa Jackson

Tabitha Jade

Gus Harrower

Watch out for new content and events.

If you know an aspiring young songwriter aged 8-18 don’t let them miss the opportunity of entering The Young Songwriter 2020 competition!  Entry deadline is the 31st March.

More information and the online entry form

Please help us spread the word to young people writing songs in their bedrooms.

The Young Songwriter 2020 competition is a force for good, inspiring young people across the world to express themselves and get their songs heard by top judges and connect to kindred spirits. The art of songwriting nurtures creative talent & strengthens mental health – we believe these are essential for Gen Z to create their future.

Calling young songwriters!
Aged 8-18? Written your own original songs?
Then enter The Young Songwriter 2020 competition before the 31st March 2020!
Don’t miss the opportunity to get your songs heard, connect to young songwriters worldwide & win great prizes. Judges include Tom Odell, Imelda May, Miranda Cooper, Eg White, Emily Philips, Sacha Skarbek, Harley Alexander, Paul Adam, Dan Gillespie Sells, Sodajerker and Janet Devlin! #SAYS20

Enter at www.songacademy.co.uk/SAYS20


By definition, rhythm is the pattern of regular or irregular pulses caused in music by the occurrence of strong and weak melodic and harmonic beats.

Sounds complex? No worries, we’ll explain what it is through practical examples. However, if you’d like to know more about how rhythm works, you can watch this brilliant documentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_jEkNiYFNc

Simply put, rhythm is that music component that makes us move, or even just tap the foot, when we listen to a song. As the presenter says in the video, “with rhythm music becomes hypnotic and sensuous”.

Listen to a metronome at 60bpm:

It’s static, boring, aseptic.

Now, listen to some African drumming:

It’s exciting, it moves us and even makes us want to dance!
This should make you understand (and feel) the importance of rhythm!

To continue with the same analogy, sound itself is not music. A simple single note doesn’t move us, it’s boring just as the metronome was. We need several notes to be put together in order to make up a song which we can enjoy.
Rhythm is the manifestation of time just as a melody is sound put into practice.

Here’s a selection of songs with great rhythms we can get inspired by:

Joss Stone – You Got The Love   

Even just the drums intro gives me energy and makes me tap my foot and move my head on time! Why is it though? It’s the mix of strong and weak accents on different beats, in particular what we call “pushes” (that is, accents on the off-beat). See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beat_(music)#On-beat_and_off-beat

Taylor Swift – Shake It Off

Taylor even talks about that “sick beat” at 2:26 minutes into the song!

Green Day – Wake Me Up When September Ends

It shows how a simple guitar playing a simple rhythmic figure can still catch our attention, but also that drums are the real “champions” in terms of rhythm: listen to the sudden change at min 1:28 when drums start playing!

Jack Johnson – Bubble Toes

The evidence that rhythm does bring songs to life! Check out the difference between the beginning of the song and the more rhythmic part starting at min 0:48 and then at min 1:24 when drums kick in. It’s a massive change! How does it make you feel?

We believe that songwriting is a powerful tool for young people to express themselves and be heard.  We’d like Head Teachers and Music Teachers to use The Young Songwriter 2020 competition to give their pupils a voice and lead the generation Z conversation on what’s important to them and what future they want.

Benefits of being part of The Young Songwriter 2020 competition

Sets the inspiring goal of writing & completing songs to enter between 1st February & 31 March 2020

Gives pupils a platform to be heard

Helps reach musical pupils who aren’t part of the choirs or orchestras

Inspires pupils to build on the musical & creative writing skills learnt at school to write their own contemporary songs & stretch their abilities

Helps increase the exposure of the music department & the school

Showcases the most talented pupils, providing a unique PR tool

Helps develop the skillset crucial to the next generation of creative leaders

Encourages collaborations between budding lyricists, musicians & producers

Enriches the school’s PSHE & Wellbeing programmes

Gives pupils the opportunity of being part of a wider community of young songwriters passionate about songwriting and making a difference

The Young Songwriter 2020 entry period is 1st February to 31st March 2020.  

Find out more.

The Young Songwriter 2019 live showcase + 10th anniversary celebration of Song Academy
Saturday 22nd June, 7pm – 9:30pm
at The Tabernacle in Notting Hill, London

Don’t miss out on seeing the stars of tomorrow performing in an intimate setting. This exciting showcase will celebrate the creative talents of The Young Songwriter 2019 competition finalists, whilst demonstrating the power of songwriting as a means of building confidence and connecting the youth of tomorrow’s music scene. Performers will include winners of The Young Songwriter Competition 2019 (UK & Ireland), selected finalists and Song Academy alumni who are making waves in the industry.

Special guest performers include Janet Devlin! We are delighted that the showcase will be compered by three young creative stars – Jenk Oz, Sebastian Croft and Miriam Nyarko.

Book your tickets now before they sell out! Email contact@songacademy.co.uk.  Available tickets cost £10.

Full line-up to be announced shortly!


With the 10th anniversary of Song Academy this year, we’ve looked back over the last 10 years to see which Song Academy alumni of our songwriting clubs/workshops and The Young Songwriter competition, who are making waves in the Music industry and are on the rise!

In order from left to right…

MULLALLY. Mullally was a Young Songwriter 2015 finalist.  He has been called the “The new master of an edgy soulful sound.” Mullally aged 21, began his musical venture from the age of just 16, where he played the guitar, wrote and recorded music in a band with his 3 best friends before going solo at the age of 18. From Great Yarmouth Mullally moved to London and spent some time in LA to work with some of the most talented producers, songwriters and artists including Anne Marie, Rudimental, Fred Ball (Rihanna, Jay Z, Beyoncé), DarkChild (Michael Jackson, Rihanna, Sam Smith), Danny Parker (Shawn Mendes, Nick Jonas), Jason Evigan (Maroon 5,Bebe Rexha) Cool & Dre (DJ Khaled, Beyoncé, Jay Z), Two Inch Punch (Sam Smith, Rag n Bone Man) Amy Wadge (Ed Sheeran), Jamie Scott (Justin Bieber, Rag N Bone Man, Major Lazer) Harmony Samuels (Ariana Grande, Chris Brown, Ella Mai), Eg White (Adele, Florence + Machine).

Mullally has performed at sold out headline shows in both L.A. & London, festival performances & support slots for some of the UK’s most revered artists including Jess Glynne, Anne-Marie, Rag n Bone Man, Clean Bandit and Sean Paul.

NATALIE SHAY.  Natalie has been a Young Songwriter finalists for 3 years in a row.  Aged 19 year old she is a multi award-winning, indie pop/rock artist from North London. Deemed as one of London’s hottest emerging talents, Shay is launching herself into the forefront of the industry, with recent critical acclaim. Natalie’s talents have found herself performing to sold-out audiences at some of London’s most iconic and renown venues, including The Roundhouse, Ronnie Scotts and Brooklyn Bowl, O2. Natalie’s new single ‘This Feeling’ landed Shay at a stunning number 4 on the iTunes singer/songwriter charts.

ROMAN LEWIS. Roman was one of the first members of the Song Academy songwriting clubs and has been a Young Songwriter 2019 finalist for a couple of years. Roman was one of the eleven Song Academy songwriters who wrote ‘Right To Be Loved’ to raise awareness of the large number of vulnerable children in care and the difference that adoption and fostering makes in the world, for both child and parent.  In a world inundated with singer-songwriters, Roman Lewis, at just 18 years-old, figured out how to do something very few of them do – be himself. His feverish youth, animated delivery, and unambiguous passion shines through on every verse, and his songwriting, sometimes inspired by 18th Century poetry, is rich beyond his years.

Roman’s debut project “Heartbreak (for now)” is quickly gaining traction all over the world, and for good reason. He is tapped into the mindset of the new generation because it’s his own. No doubt that within a few years Roman will be at the helm of a brand new generation of singer-songwriters capturing the hearts of anyone with two ears and a soul.

KATIE KITTERMASTER.  Katie was runner up in The Young Songwriter 2018 competition. Katie’s songwriting is based on her personal experiences, which resonate strongly with her peers. Her vocals are haunting and distinctive.   Katie lived in Dubai for 3 years where she was lucky enough to perform for Ricky Martin, 50 Cent and Eva Longoria. She also opened the charity event at the British Embassy for the high profile charity ‘Help For Heroes’.

‘Can You Hear Me?’ is Katie’s debut single. She gained her first BBC airplay with BBC 3 Counties on the Mike Naylor show. She has also had an incredible amount of local radio play, which bodes very well for the future.

Katie will be going on tour with Brian McFadden and Keith Duffy of Boyzlife in September.

OSCAR LANG.  Oscar attended Song Academy songwriting clubs for several years and has been highly commended in many Young Songwriter competitions. Now 19 years old, he began writing music in 2011 at age 11, but only properly started writing as ‘pig’ in 2016. Since then, he has released two self-produced albums, Teenage Hurt and Silk, on Spotify. Oscar has a great group of creative friends, from artists (including Beabadoobee), film makers and musicians around him to spark ideas and collaborate on making music.

MALORY TORR.  Malory was runner up in The Young Songwriter 2013 competition. After recently opening for George Ezra at a Kingston gig, 19 year old London singer/songwriter Malory Torr has an exciting career ahead of her. Malory has a rare sound  (often described as ‘quirky and unusual with interesting lyrics’), using a combination of ukulele, guitar and banjo to create her indie/pop originals. She has gigged for several years appearing at the O2’s Indigo Stage, Soho Pizza Express, The Pheasantry Chelsea, Half Moon in Putney, Troubadour, Proud Camden and many more. In the summer of 2013 Malory was featured as ‘Uncharted Territory’ artist of the week by Richard Madeley on Terry Wogan’s show on BBCRadio2. The chosen song was ‘Birds and the Bees’. In addition her track ‘Heart of Gold’ was played on Dermot O’Leary’s show on BBCRadio2 in August.

ARCHIE FAULKS.  Archie won The Young Songwriter 2013 competition.  He first rose to prominence under the moniker Tenterhook in 2014. As Tenterhook he enjoyed tearaway success over the course of two EPs, which spawned radio hits that led him to be featured as Zane Lowe’s Next Hype on Radio 1, while also receiving support from BBC 6Music and Radio X. He became a worldwide No.1 on Hype Machine, clocked up millions of plays on Spotify and completed a number of tours across the UK and Europe playing with the likes of Asgeir and Rhodes.

Europe got a sneak peak of the new Archie Faulks sound earlier this year when he played a number of shows with Isaac Gracie that went down a storm. ‘It Rains’ is Archie’s debut single.

‘LAST ONE HOME’.  The Band Last One Home were a Young Songwriter 2017 finalist.  Last One Home are the stage-shaking, up-and-coming, pop rock band consisting of songwriter and singer-guitarist Tom Westlake, bassist Harry Lowndes and drummer Phil Horler.

The band have hit 2019 full-on with major success, making it to the top 20 shortlist of the DrakeYolanDa Award out of hundreds of applicants from across the UK. This newly prestigious award scheme resulted in a performance in front of judges Gareth Malone, Matt Cardle, YolanDa Brown, Ben Earle and Roisin O’Connor.

​Last One Home’s latest single ‘You Don’t Have To Hold On’ was released in February and gained vast amounts of popularity, immediately being added to the ‘Indie Radar’ and ‘This Noise Rocks’ playlists on Spotify! It has since been added to This Feeling’s ‘Best New Bands’ playlist!  The band’s success so far has led them to support internationally famous bands such as ‘Crazy Town’, ‘Courage My Love’ and ‘Halflives’ on their UK tours.

KEVIN JONES.  Kevin won The Young Songwriter 2018 competition, international category.  He’s a 19-year-old indie rock artist and producer from Indianapolis with a uniquely charming catalogue of music, from the melodically driven ‘Limelight’ EP to his newest single ‘Barista Girl’. His classic yet eclectic songwriting style has gained acclaim from the indie community and beyond.

‘Kevin & the Anti-socials’ is an indie rock/pop band fronted by Kevin and formed in Indianapolis. Their contagious melodies and classic pop sensibilities make for a fresh, youthful take on the mesmeric sounds of the 60s & 70s. All while in tune with the jazz-infused footsteps of Mac DeMarco and boy pablo. Featuring the talents of Grace Mann (drums), Michael Kaster (bass), & Brandon Kaster (keys), they’re certainly a new group to keep an eye on.

In September 2018, he opened for British indie artist Tom Odell in Los Angeles at the Moroccan Lounge, for the first concert of Odell’s 2018-19 ‘Jubilee Road’ tour.

GABRIEL DRYSS.  Gabriel was one of the first members of Song Academy songwriting clubs and been highly commended in several Young Songwriter competitions.  Gabriel joined ‘Kids United’ with Unicef when he was 12 and toured the world.  He got to the finals of The Voice 2019.  Gabriel is a singer, songwriter, actor and dancer.

TABITHA JADE.  Tabitha was a Young Songwriter 2018 finalist and winner of the best vocalist award.  This rapidly emerging Artist currently studying at Paul McCartneys LIPA, has scooped a multitude of awards including; National Songwriting 2015 (Sony and Universal), nominated BOB Unsigned Music Awards Best Female 2017, Best Live Act 2018 Liverpool Lifestyle Awards, Winner of Best Female Urban (Radio Online) 2017, and Winner of OpenMicUK 2018. In Liverpool she’s one of the coveted LIMF Academy Top 20 & One To Watch , confirming her as one of the UK’s top Teens.

The vibe is Soulful, having grown up listening to: RnB; HipHop, Dance, Reggae, Jazz and Pop. Live fronting the band on main stages is where Tabitha has received critical acclaim.  She’s spent the last few years gigging Nationally, touring across the UK’s major northern and southern City Arena’s and Festivals.

TAYLOR GAYLE.  Very few teenage music artists earn and discover the kind of success already experienced by Taylor Gayle. The pop and soul singer-songwriter has performed at some of the nation’s most popular venues, including New York City’s Apollo Theater, and Nashville’s Bluebird Café and Tin Pan South. Taylor has also received wide recognition for her songwriting, She won the 2017 Song Academy’s International Young Songwriter Category and was a finalist in the Smoky Mountain Songwriting Festival Songwriting Competition. She won the 2017 Your Music Out Loud in the USA Youth Achievement Award and has been a finalist in the John Lennon Songwriting Competition, and the Unsigned Only Competitions.

REBECCA CLEMENTS. Rebecca was runner up in The Young Songwriter 2013 competition.  Now working with Iain Archer, the producer behind Gabrielle Aplin and Jake Bugg, Rebecca is making a name for herself as one of the UK’s most exciting new songwriters.

Hailing from Bristol, her music has raised comparisons with the likes of Adele and The Kids Are Solid Gold alumni Daughter, and gained props from The Line of Best Fit.

SOPHIE DEMASI.  Sophie won The Young Songwriter 2017 competition.  She’s a singer/songwriter/producer from West London whose music has been described as having a pop structure with a hip hop beat and layered, harmonized vocals.

SAATCHI SEN.  Saachi is an Indie-Pop act with a Jazz twist, playing exciting, eclectic, original music. Featuring keys, kit, brass and bass, with high energy vocals, the band has played to packed out audiences at venues like the iconic Borderline, Camden Assembly, Upstairs at the Garage and the Cambridge Junction. They also achieved finalist status in the Isle of Wight Festival’s New Blood competition as one of 8 out of over 2000 entrant acts, as well as the Cambridge Band Competition, broadcast on Cambridge TV and radio. Lead singer Saachi Sen’s songwriting has gained high level recognition, receiving PRS for Music’s Lynsey de Paul prize and featuring on compilation albums from Roundhouse and EMI’s 30/30 project and The Song Academy Young Songwriter. Saachi is a Roundhouse Resident Artist for 2017-18. Every Saachi gig is a chance to hear something new, fresh and unexpected.

The band has released their singles ‘Anaesthetise’ and ‘I Need Real Love’ on Spotify and other popular music platforms, as well as their first music video ‘Redcoat’.

ROSIE SULLIVAN.  The talented 18-year-old from the Isle of Lewis has had a busy career already since winning The Young Songwriter 2015 competition.  Since then Rosie has released two E.P.’s. She released her debut E.P. “Wonderland” in 2016 and in October 2018 released her new E.P. “Space”. She has performed regularly including slots at Belladrum and Thornhill festivals and won fans and admirers from all over the world. In October 2017, went on her first tour with two other artists from Edinburgh and Glasgow. Partners with Creative Scotland, ‘Hit the Road’ is a three day tour experience, playing at each artists home town.

GUS HARROWER. Gus won The Young Songwriter 2016 competition.  He is widely regarded as one of Scotland’s most innovative young musicians. Since the release of his debut EP in 2015, he has become a regular feature of the Edinburgh music scene and has made a name for himself, performing in a range of venues across the country; from Sneaky Pete’s in Edinburgh, to Glasgows 02, and most notably, a packed out Wembley Arena. He kick-started 2018 with his sophomore EP, Where We Were, venturing into a darker, more politicised approach to songwriting.

The success of his latest EP has landed him a nomination alongside breakthrough artists Lewis Capaldi and Callum Beattie in the Scottish Alternative Music Awards. While his experience touring with Hit The Road was one of many catalysts for his mature development between his two EP’s.  Having recently drawn comparisons to Bon Iver and Jack Garrett, his ability to write and perform infectious anthems has been recognised on BBC Radio Scotland as Janice Forsyth’s song of the week.

EMI MCDADE. Emi was runner up in The Young Songwriter 2015 and 2016 competitions. She has performed on stages such as BBC Introducing, Ronnie Scott’s, Guildhall, Sofar Sounds, Thekla, The Bedford, and many others, headlining the Acoustic Stage of Dot to Dot Festival, as well as supporting artists such as JP Cooper, Mike Dignam, Tom Crouch, Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker, and performed alongside artists such as Jasmine Thompson. With recent singles, Emi has received extensive radio play throughout the UK, Australia, and America (as well as regular play on BBC and BBC Introducing), sold out her first headline shows, and became a featured artist on Noel Edmund’s new radio ‘Positively Talented’.

CASSA JACKSON. Cassa is a twenty year old London based singer-songwriter with a soulful edge. She was a Young Songwriter finalist in 2016.  Her debut single ‘PRISONER’ and is available on all music platforms and the eerie music video on cassajacksonVEVO. She wrote her first EP working alongside Jessica Sharman (Song Academy songwriting leader who was influential in the Ward Thomas’ number one album on iTunes ‘Cartwheels’. In 2017, highlights for her included performing as a guest solo artist at Wembley Arena for the ‘Voice In A Million’ charity event and performing a set at ‘Colour Day Festival’ in Athens to a crowd of 40,000 with a renowned Greek DJ. She now regularly gigs in London at places such as ‘The Bedford’ in Balham, ‘Sketch’ in Oxford Circus and ‘The Fiddler’s Elbow’ in Camden. Her genre is soul pop and she likens herself to artists such as Julia Michaels, Dua Lipa, Adele and KT Tunstall. She is currently working with the musical director of ‘Hamilton’ on some new sassy tracks.

RALPH TAYLOR.   Ralph was a Young Songwriter 2016 finalist.  The Suffolk-born musician is just 21 years old, but his aptitude for complex groovy beats, hook-laden arrangements, and deep pop sensibilities belies his youth. With refined productions, chic melodies, and a lax vocal delivery, the South London artist’s modern resonance is energizing and hip. Drawing sonic inspirations from the likes of Prince, Jamie Woon, and rising star Rex Orange County, Taylor shows off his affinity for crisp-pop and authentic lyrics.

MATILDA MANN. Matilda was a Young Songwriter 2018 finalist and has been a member of Song Academy songwriting clubs.  London-based, aged 19, she brings on stage a concentrate of melancholic, stripped-down ballads that showcase the young artist’s remarkable skill set and a sensibility for indie folk influences.

BRENDAN CLEARY.  Brendan was a Young Songwriter 2014 finalist.  Moving to London at the age of 18, Brendan has spent time honing his craft in both Ireland and the Lake District, where his home was always filled with the likes of The Beatles, The Eagles, Simon & Garfunkel and James Taylor, all of whom he cites as big inspirations for his musical style. Since moving to the capital, Brendan worked tirelessly to improve his stature as a music artist and songwriter; enrolling on to BIMM London’s Songwriting course, joining the infamous London gig circuit and enjoying regular airplay on BBC Introducing and local independent radio stations. 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” as well as “Everything he does is believable and makes you really want to listen to what he is saying”.

Brendan has supported acts like David Gray, Paddy Casey and Brian Kennedy to name a few.  Brendan has also worked with songwriters from; Graham Henderson (Sinead O’Connor), Belen Arjona (Latin Grammy nominee) to F/H block and the TMS production team which reinforces his diversity as a Songwriter. He is currently working on new music but in the meantime he is discovering his talents as a top line writer for Tim Van Werd and Aidan Black to name a few!

Brendan now leads several Song Academy songwriting clubs in West London.

LOUIS COUPE.  Louis was a Young Songwriter 2013 finalist.   From his beginnings as the outcast in music class, Louis Coupe has forged his own path through a sheer passion for music. It was a surprise ticket to see Elton John that saw the then 12-year-old instantly obsessed with the music of the greats – The Beatles, The Stones, ELO, and Louis set about teaching himself any instrument he could find.

After years of honing his craft and earning his stripes touring the local circuit as well as any pub, boat, living room and arenas across the UK, Louis’s rebellious maverick attitude towards music really does leave any musical rulebook firmly at the door.  Contrasting his confident and dynamic live show, Louis’ writing encompasses a frank and cynical perspective on his life, from honest discussions on relationships and anxiety, to ironic conversations around the human existence, which shows a quiet, vulnerable side to the energetic front man. Taking influence from a huge range of music from the lo-fi vibes of Bon Iver and Jeff Buckley, to the eclectic sounds and melodies akin to the likes of Bowie and Father John Misty, Louis fashions together a diverse and experimental, yet classic sound, channeling all the egos and authenticity of his historical counterparts.

GILSKA WEERAKKODY.  Gilska was a member of Song Academy songwriting clubs for many years and has been a Young Songwriter finalist.  Gilska was one of the eleven Song Academy songwriters who wrote ‘Right To Be Loved’ to raise awareness of the large number of vulnerable children in care and the difference that adoption and fostering makes in the world, for both child and parent.  Gilska has performed with Voice in a Million for a couple of years and reached the Open Mic UK competition regional finals.  She is currently a vocal diploma student at the music school ACM.

Aurelia is 17 years old, from Wandsworth, London.  Her song ‘Stupid Squirrel’ made the Top 30 in The Young Songwriter 2019 competition 13-18 years UK & Ireland Category.  Congratulations!  Here’s a bit about Aurelia and her songwriting.

What inspired you to write your SAYS19 Top 30 song?  At the time of writing stupid squirrel I had been feeling very anxious from things that were happening in my personal life and had a lot of obstructive thoughts and feelings; this song was about the fragility and naivety of myself, as well as how I am in a way thankful for staying child like. Although it often makes things seem a million times more scary and overwhelming, it also makes small things much more exciting, I feel like it also helps with my creativity.

How long have you been writing songs?  I started singing as far back as I can remember, I began to write songs (albeit very very bad ones) when I got into secondary school. I started taking it more seriously in the past couple of years.

How did you get into songwriting?  Since I was very young I have always enjoyed writing poetry using different techniques, especially metaphors, poetry definitely helped me get into songwriting a whole bunch more. However I think the main thing that spurred me to write was when I started learning guitar by myself. I would just play simple chords and improvise a tune, not really taking it very seriously at the time, it just felt natural. I definitely started feeling the urge to actually make proper songs after I learned basic production skills after studying music at GCSE.

What does songwriting allow you to explore and achieve?  For as long as I can remember I have always struggled with expressing my feelings. I find it hard to pinpoint exactly what I’m feeling and why, and I find it even more difficult trying to explain my feelings to another person. When I write songs, I change my feelings into metaphors that seem to capture how I am feeling in that current moment, though those metaphors may not make sense to some people I know that it may for a few. I believe we shouldn’t narrow down complex feelings to one simple word or cause, as everyone feels things differently. For me, using metaphorical descriptions and stories help me to get across these feelings that I wouldn’t be able to explain otherwise. I also really love writing about issues that aren’t just about broken hearts, but about important issues we currently face as a society, such as mental health, or even things like climate change. I want to be able to help the world as well as people with the things I create.

What’s your favourite part of the songwriting process?  Definitely writing lyrics, it’s the part that I always have the most fun with and try to come up with experimental ways to represent feelings and themes!

What’s the most difficult part of the creative process of songwriting for you?  I have always found coming up with a melody difficult, as for me most of my favourite songs I have created have had a melody which came naturally with the lyrics. If the melody is unclear and doesn’t come easily with the lyrics I write I usually find it hard to continue writing that particular song.

Do you start with lyrics or melodies/chords?  For me this is really flexible and changes a lot depending on my mood. Sometimes I’ll get a tune in my head and start writing finding chords and lyrics from that melody and sometimes I start with a couple of lyrics that I wrote and liked.

What do you like about The Young Songwriter competition?  I loved the experience of being introduced to new sounds and being inspired by the amount of young people trying their hardest like I am. Being selected for the top 30 was also an amazing experience and has definitely increased my confidence about the songs that I create and has made me want to try even harder to pursue what I want to do. It kind of turned my dream into a goal, so as to say.

What are your three favourite artists/songs?  I find it really hard to narrow down favourites, especially when it comes to specific songs, but I think my main inspirations when it comes to creating music are Queen, Gorillaz and cavetown. Each of these artists have such unique sounds to their music, which is what I want to achieve within my own and are probably the most influential to my style at this current moment, especially Gorillaz and cavetown. I also really like artists such as Dodie, Rex Orange County, spookyghostboy, the list goes on.

Ten years from now you will be… Writing songs ! Hopefully ! It’s what I enjoy the most and I hope that I can keep creating tunes that bring happiness to people and target issues that I feel need exposure :)

What’s your favourite thing to do when you’re not writing songs?  Well I take art at college, so I very much enjoy doing art and character design, as well as watching too much anime and netflix. I also very much enjoy playing Splatoon with my friends whenever I get the time !

The top 3 songs will be announced on the 23rd May.  Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to hear the announcement first! #SAYS19 #songwriting #newmusic #expressyourself #beheard

The Young Songwriter 2019 showcase & 10th anniversary of Song Academy celebration will be on Saturday 22nd June at 7pm at The Tabernacle, Notting Hill, London.

Clara is 15 years old, from London.  Her song ‘Sanity’ made the Top 30 in The Young Songwriter 2019 competition 13-18 years UK & Ireland Category.  Congratulations!  Here’s a bit about Clara and her songwriting.

What inspired you to write your SAYS19 Top 30 song?  To be honest, I don’t really know.. It came out of nowhere. I think it’s about what was going on in my mind at that time.

How long have you been writing songs?  I’ve been surrounded by music all my life and started writing songs when I was about seven.

How did you get into songwriting?  My dad plays the ukulele (badly) but likes to collect them. He has a surplus of instruments so let me have one. From that point on I’ve collect and learned many string instruments. I play cello, double bass, guitar, bass-guitar and all the ukuleles. Writing songs with a ukulele comes easily. It started off with a couple of silly songs with a friend and has grown from there.

What does songwriting allow you to explore and achieve?  It helps me explore what it is to be human.

What’s your favourite part of the songwriting process?  I love the creative side of it – coming up with a melody that fits with the chords I’ve chosen. It’s like solving a puzzle.

What’s the most difficult part of the creative process of songwriting for you?  The biggest challenge is ensuring each song is unique but within my style.

Do you start with lyrics or melodies/chords?  I always start with chords because they are the foundation of the song, for me. Coming up with an interesting and unusual chord progression is always a good start.

What do you like about The Young Songwriter competition?  It gives young people, starting out, a chance to be heard and have their songs judged by professionals. It’s great to be taken seriously by people I don’t know and to have a platform to get my voice to lots of people. I really like the feedback and its thrilling to see the plays on Soundcloud go up, not personally knowing the people who are listening.

Who are your three favourite artists/songs?  At the moment it’s Bjork & Sibylle Baier,

10 years from now you will be…  I would hope to be making a living from making music.

What’s your favourite thing to do when you’re not writing songs?  I like making papier-mâché masks. I don’t know why. It just happens.

The top 10 finalists will be announced on the 3rd May.  Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to hear the announcement first! #SAYS19 #songwriting #newmusic #expressyourself #beheard

The Young Songwriter 2019 showcase & 10th anniversary of Song Academy celebration will be on Saturday 22nd June at 7pm at The Tabernacle, Notting Hill, London.

Zoe is 12 years old, from Fulham, London.  Her song ‘Coffee Shop’ made the Top 30 in The Young Songwriter 2019 competition 8-12 years UK & Ireland Category.  Congratulations!  Here’s a bit about Zoe and her songwriting.

What inspired you to write your SAYS19 Top 30 song?  I was in conflict with one of my good friends, so I wanted to change the position I was in. Although, I knew that if I did leave her,  I would be upset about what I had done.

How long have you been writing songs?  I have been writing since I was 7, when I got offered a piano from a friend who was moving.  But I started writing songs properly at 10.

How did you get into songwriting?   It is how I deal with my emotions. When I feel sad I create a song. Then I feel better.

What does songwriting allow you to explore and achieve?  Every song is a new beginning. It helps me in English, I am getting better at poetry.

What’s your favourite part of the songwriting process?  I love the composition part, music makes me feel amazing. It’s a good way to relieve stress.

What’s the most difficult part of the creative process of songwriting for you?  After I finish the first part of the song, ‘Verse 2’ is the hardest part. It’s because I have to join the rest of the songs story with it, which I find hard.

Do you start with lyrics or melodies/chords?  It is definitely different every time but on average I start with the chords.

What do you like about The Young Songwriter competition?  It gives young songwriters a really great opportunity.

Who are your three favourite artists/songs?  It’s always changing for me but my favourite artists lately have been: Solange, Motaki, Billie Eilish

10 years from now you will be… Hopefully songwriting.

What’s your favourite thing to do when you’re not writing songs?  Improvisation piano and learning to play instruments by ear.

The top 10 finalists will be announced on the 3rd May.  Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to hear the announcement first! #SAYS19 #songwriting #newmusic #expressyourself #beheard

The Young Songwriter 2019 showcase & 10th anniversary of Song Academy celebration will be on Saturday 22nd June at 7pm at The Tabernacle, Notting Hill, London.