Sophia is 12 years old, from Dubai.  Her song ‘Anxiety’ made the Top 30 in The Young Songwriter 2019 competition International Category.  Congratulations!  Here’s a bit about Sophia and her songwriting.

What inspired you to write your SAYS19 Top 30 song: I wrote the song as a way to express how I was feeling about becoming a teenager and how outside influences can impact how you feel about yourself. Writing is a great way to tell a story, without the listener really knowing if it is something you have personally experienced or not.

How long have you been writing songs?  6 months

How did you get into songwriting? If I ever feel pressured, anxious or even upset, I  feel relieved that I can just let my feelings out in the form of a song.

What does songwriting allow you to explore and achieve? Songwriting  allows you to explore deep feelings and emotions. You can literally grab a notepad and write down what you are experiencing or thinking at that moment.

What’s your favourite part of the songwriting process?  In all honesty, completing it. I’m not saying the entire process is not enjoyable.  I find it rewarding to have the final product complete and be able to listen to it.

What’s the most difficult part of the creative process of songwriting for you?  The lyrics can be stressful if you’re not feeling particularly inspired at the time.

Do you start with lyrics or melodies/chords?  I start with lyrics before I begin the song. I grab a notebook and write down anything I am feeling at the time and once the songwriting process is finished, I start with the melodies.

What do you like about The Young Songwriter competition?  ?   I like the Young Songwriter competition, as it gives young people a platform to showcase their work and show their potential to people who know the industry

Who are your three favourite artists/songs?  Billie Eilish: ilomilo, Clairo: Bubblegum, Khalid: Lovely

10 years from now you will be… Writing songs for top artists as well as myself. My dream would be to write and perform at Music Midtown or Coachella. I love the idea of having my songs heard at huge music festivals.

What’s your favourite thing to do when you’re not writing songs?  I enjoy photography and playing piano when I’m not writing songs.

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.

Star Judges include Tom Odell, Imelda May, Chris Difford, Rumer,

Eg White, Emily Phillips, Dan Gillespie Sells, Miranda Cooper & Nigel Elderton.

Now in it’s 8th exciting year, the prestigious Song Academy Young Songwriter Competition 2019 is open for entries until 31st March 2019 from young people aged 8-18 across the UK & Ireland and internationally.

The Young Songwriter 2019 competition is a supportive and inspiring platform for young songwriters to get their original songs heard and connect to their peers & key players in the music industry. This unique competition focuses on songwriting rather than singing/performance. Songs will be judged on their originality, lyrics, melody, composition, and potential to be a smash hit!

We believe that it is more important than ever, in this fast-paced, competitive and technological world, for young people to believe in themselves and be inspired by their future. Songwriting is an antidote to the pressures on young minds and allows young people to express themselves creatively and gain clarity on what’s going on in their heads and the world outside. Each year, The Young Songwriter competition brings together young songwriters who listen to each other’s stories, feel a sense of togetherness and unite in a vibrant songwriting community.  Please help us reach young songwriters aged 8-18 across the world.

There are many reasons to enter The Young Songwriter 2019 competition:

  • Get noticed by some of the best songwriters & key players in the Music Industry
  • Have your songs heard and stand out from the crowd
  • Get connected to our vibrant community of young songwriters
  • Record your winning song with a top producer in London
  • Win prizes: a professional music video & photos from the recording session, a home studio setup from Focusrite , KRK & sE Electronics, a Casio Music CT-x5000 portable keyboard, a signed Tom Odell ‘Jubilee Road’ Album, a signed copy of songwriter Carole King‘s book ‘A Natural Woman’
  • Perform in The Young Songwriter 2019 showcase at The Tabernacle, London

This competition will be separately judged for UK & Ireland 8-12 year olds, UK & Ireland 13-18 year olds and international entries. Enter online at www.songacademy.co.uk/says19 Include songs’ lyrics on your entry forms and an audio recording in MP3 format (or send your audio recording via SoundCloud).

Schools entering 20+ songs will have the opportunity of winning a Casio CT-x700 portable keyboard.

This year’s panel of award winning judges includes:

Singer songwriters/producers Tom Odell, Imelda May, Chris Difford, Rumer, Dan Gillespie Sells, Eg White (Adele, Duffy, Take That, Pink), Emily Philips (Rizzlekicks, John Newman, Maddison Beer, SOAK), Miranda Cooper (Girls Aloud, Sugababes, Pet Shop Boys, Alesha Dixon), James Walsh, Tim Laws (Gabrielle, Lighthouse Family), Jessica Sharman (Ward Thomas), Nicky Cox (editor, First News) and Nigel Elderton (Chairman, PRS for Music).

Get your songs ready!

Take advantage of our song feedback service where we provide insightful comments on the three areas of lyrics, melodies/composition and production.

Quotes from The Young Songwriter competition judges:

Tom Odell, Singer Songwriter, says “When I was 13 years old I started writing songs, and over the following years I became more and more obsessed with it. But the thing that always kept me awake at night was how to get them out there for people to hear them. This is why I think the Song Academy Young Songwriter competition is a great way to inspire and help through this process, and its something I wish had been around when I was starting out. I can’t wait to hear the songs!”

Imelda May, Singer Songwriter, says “I’m very glad to be part of The Song Academy Young Songwriter 2018 judging panel. Good songwriting is the foundation of all good music. This competition is also simply a great way for songwriters to meet other like minded people and I’m happy to encourage anyone to connect and excel in this beautifully expressive art form and cannot wait to hear the songs.”

Naughty Boy, producer & songwriter, says “Young songwriters are the future of music. A great song will always stand the test of time far beyond our years. I think this competition is important because every songwriter I’ve worked with was always waiting to be discovered.”

Guy Chambers, producer & songwriter, says “It was a great pleasure to judge The Young Songwriter 2018 competition this year.  I was incredibly impressed by the level of songwriting and musicianship among these young individuals”.

Myles Keller, PRS for Music, says “PRS for Music is delighted to be supporting the Song Academy Young Songwriter competition once again.  This wonderful competition empowers young songwriters, enabling them to showcase their talent and offering them a ‘one of a kind’ opportunity to gain crucial feedback from some of the very best songwriters.  In the early stages of a career, this kind of help is like gold dust and really enables industry newcomers to build strong, sustainable careers.”

Simon Barber & Brian O’Connor, founders of Sodajerker says “Judging the 2018 Young Songwriter competition was a fascinating experience, not only because of the wonderful breadth of talented writers who submitted work, but also because of the incredible range of responses that the songs elicited from the judges. It was heartening to see each judge devote such a great deal of time and attention to thinking about the qualities of each song, and whatever the outcome, all finalists should be proud to have reached that stage of the competition. We are delighted to play a small role in such a fantastic scheme led by such a generous organisation. The opportunity that it offers young songwriters to be heard by leading figures in the music industries is second to none.”

Rowena Atkins, Founder of Song Academy, says: “Song Academy inspires young people to 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-belief and drive to achieve their potential.”

Azi Eftekhari, Head of Music Partnerships in the UK, YouTube, says: “It’s so important to nurture young songwriters, helping them harness their creative energy, express themselves, and be part of a community. YouTube Music is proud to support the Song Academy Young Songwriter competition and we can’t wait to see how these talented songwriters grow through this truly impactful programme.”

Quotes from past The Young Songwriter finalists:

Laura, Young Songwriter Finalist, says “Being a self confessed bedroom musician the Young Songwriter competition has given me the opportunity to take my songs into the real world.”

Roman, Young Songwriter Finalist, says “It encourages young people to believe in themselves.”

Sam, Young Songwriter Finalist, says “I like how it is focused on songwriting and not particularly vocal or instrumental talent, especially in this day and age, where that’s a critical factor for success. But if you can write a hit, it’s arguably more impressive than if you can sing one, and I think this competition shows that.”

NOTES TO EDITORS:

Who are we? A Song Academy overview

Founded 10 years ago, Song Academy inspires and nurtures the next generation of songwriters & creative leaders.   We are a unique platform for young people (aged 8-18) to express themselves, be heard and be part of an exciting community.

Our uniqueness is that we focus on the creative process of songwriting – writing powerful lyrics and composing interesting melodies & instrumental parts. We develop songwriters’ skills to write a song that touches, moves and inspires people – either hit songs with mass appeal or for a niche audience. In young people’s demanding, fast-paced and technological lives, Song Academy offers a refreshing space where they can express their thoughts, fears, excitements, disappointments, and opinions in a safe, encouraging environment.  A space where they feel listened to and can contribute to others, enabling them to build a strong mental health and create their own future.

Song Academy runs after-school clubs, holiday workshops, school workshops, birthday parties 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.

 

 

Our Young Songwriter 2018 competition is open for entries until the 8th April.

If your pupils are new to songwriting here are a few top tips to be heard above the noise…

  1. Pick an interesting title
    Even if you are talking about a mundane, everyday occasion or feeling, 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.
  2. Make the first four lines agree with your title
    The great songwriter Ralph Murphy says it very well in his books on the laws of songwriting – if the first four lines of your first verse can link back to your title then you’re onto a winner. Take for example Roar:

I used to bite my tongue and hold my breath
Scared to rock the boat and make a mess
So I sat quietly
Agreed politely
.. Now you’re gonna hear me roar

You create an expectation, and then you fulfil it. By doing this, you never lose sight of the message of your song, you keep in mind what you’re trying to say by always referring back to the title, thus never losing your listeners’ attention or the concept you’re expressing in your song.

  1. Playing around with a major or minor scale for new melodies
    Everyone know the monotonous sound of a scale being practised up and down and up and down – but if you’re stuck for melodies, why not try and take notes out of the scale and use those to bounce ideas off?

For example, if we take the c major scale of CDEFGABC, why not try picking out certain notes and changing the order; CDGCDFCB.  Play around with different combinations until your find the melody you’re looking for? You can choose any scale you like in major or minor.

  1. 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 ahhs 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) and try and think about hooks for your own song, either lyrically, repeating the main message of the song (e.g. Roar or Burn) or melodically, on an instrument or vocal oohs or aahs.
  2. Detail
    If you are listening to a song and the singer sings

You wore that shirt
In spring
In the sunshine

that’s all well and good. But if they were to add a bit more detail, you’d instantly have a much clearer vision of the setting which the singer is remembering and sharing with you, the listener:

You wore that dark blue shirt
On April 5th
In the warm spring sunshine

Instantly, there is context, there is detail, there is a picture in your mind and you can see what you are hearing. Imagery in songs is hugely powerful because once there is a description being sung to you, you can imagine it and therefore feel more involved in the song itself. And that’s what songs do, they connect people, they provide solace for people to know that they are not the only ones who feel or think a certain way, and all of these emotions and thoughts are translated to the masses by the medium of songwriting.

So to sum up, our top tips for writing hits are – create an interesting title, make the first four lines agree with your title, play around with your melodies, create hooks and get descriptive!  Have a play and we’re looking forward to listening to your pupils’ songs.  Enter our Young Songwriter 2018 competition before the 8th April.

Calling creative lyricists, singers & musicians!

Join our vibrant groups of young songwriters and collaborate on writing, composing, producing & recording an original song from scratch with a performance at the end! For 8-11 yr olds and 12-16 yr olds. Unleash their creativity & develop their musicality with professional songwriters.

Songwriting workshops in West London, Winchester and Emsworth.  Check out the dates and book soon to guarantee a place.

“Lets their musical and creative side run free” – Jo, Mother
“It’s awesome creating a song from scratch with professional songwriters!” – Amy, 14 years old
“Inspirational” Charlotte, Mother
“Incredible value – building important life skills as well as writing fantastic songs!” Tanya, Mother

More info and entry form to book places

Write a Christmas smash hit with our professional songwriters!

Where?  West London & Winchester

WEST LONDON at The Holy Trinity Church, Brook Green, Hammersmith, W6 7BL

Monday 19 (2-6pm) & Tuesday 20 December (2-5pm)

WINCHESTER at The Railway Inn, 3 St Pauls Hill, Winchester, SO22 5AE

Tuesday 13 (1-4pm) for 8-11 year olds

Wednesday 14 December (1-4pm) for 12-16 year olds

Who?  Two groups: 8-11 year olds and 12-16 year olds

Join our dynamic & spontaneous songwriting & singing workshops over the Christmas holidays.  Our vibrant groups of young songwriters collaborate on writing & producing an original song with our hit songwriters across two afternoons with a performance at the end.

We develop participants creative lyric writing skills, improvisation of melodies, harmonies and rhythm skills, and composition of instrumental parts/riffs and solos. Participants choose the style of music – rock, country, jazz, pop, rhythm & blues, hip hop, urban, latin, electronic, folk or a new mixture! Those that play an instrument can bring it along and those that don’t can focus on creating the vocal harmonies.

£95 for two afternoons (7 hours) with a performance at 4:45pm on the second afternoon for friends & family

£35 for the one afternoon (3 hour) workshops in Winchester, with a performance at 3.45pm.

To enquire/book – click here for the online booking form.

or email contact@songacademy.co.uk or text/call 07710 023743.

“Lets their musical and creative side run free” – Jo, Mother

“It’s awesome creating a song from scratch with professional songwriters!” – Amy, 14 years old

“Inspirational” Charlotte, Mother

 

The SAYS 16 competition is well underway and entries are flying in. Here are some highlights from the 13-18 category.

Young songwriters have been put words to music to address important issues such as mental health and family bereavement.  Entries also include witty lyrics about exams stress and Instagram (Life in the Teenage), love of coffee (Cappuccino) and there’s even a song about teenage fantasy fiction (More Than Fiction)

Illusions by Emi McDade – is about an unhealthy relationship and a delusional mindset with skewed perception of reality “Playing anagrams with your emotions just to feel like someone understands”

Midnight Men by Jay Johnson – is about all people who work thankless jobs at night that go unrecognised “As sure as you’ve got your head rested on a pillow still…there’s a girl resting her head on a till.

Two Cigarettes by Ralph Taylor – The song uses smoking as a metaphor for love “It seems so strange to smoke our love away, you’re the lighter to our flame, cos when our hearts fade, you spark them up again”

Lifeline by Reuben Gray – Lifeline is a captivating duet between a male and female singer about love and forgiveness.

Wanderin’ Man by Gus Harrower – Gus’s song as inspired by ‘Into The Wild’ and the story of Christopher McCandless

American Girl by Brierley – Is an impressive dance banger that was entirely self-produced by Oliver Brierley -Jones.

Logic by Jessi McDonald – has ethereal and haunting melodies and was written in response to religious extremism.

Lighter by Roman Lewis – An uplifting and acoustic rock song about overcoming rejection and persevering with your dreams

Don’t Slip Away by Kelsey Sadler – An emotional performance of a song written about a family illness before her grandmother sadly passed away.

Destiny by Romy Duggal – Destiny is an empowering song about standing strong and making dreams a reality.

The SAYS 16 competition is well underway and entries are flying in. Here are some highlights from the 7-12 category.

Entrants have written about everything from rugby to maths. Facing up to bullies is a recurring theme (such as in Praveen’s song, Try). As the performers of  Leaving Here  sing, “By writing these songs, we found where we belong”; in songwriting, young people have found a way to channel their feelings.

Her Name – Pixie McCann  Pixie sings bluesy inflected melodies in her song about young love and rejection, written for her friend who suffered heartbreak at the school disco.  “Don’t be angry with yourself, emotions bottled on the shelf.

Afraid of the Dark – Max Eastland Park Max’s uplifting and encouraging song is about getting over your fears. “I turn at a flicker of light, each shadow picks a fight”

Daisy Chains – S Kohl Daisy Chains is an upbeat jazzy number. The song is about her experience of making friends as someone with Aspergers syndrome and “Daisy Chains” is a metaphor for friendship.

Bad Dream – Lulu Hogan Lulu wrote her song for her best friend, after she moved across the Atlantic from Boston to London. “I sit down and see your face painted in the clouds”

Music – Safa Khan  Safa wrote her song about what music means to her, and took inspiration from Coldplay for a catchy singalong chorus.

There is still time to enter the Young Songwriter Competition – submit your entry before April 9th.

Our music video for ‘Right To Be Loved’ is released today!

Eleven talented singer songwriters from Song Academy, aged between 12 and 16 have written a song to have it’s premiere performance at the “Voice In A Million” (VIAM) concert, entitled ‘Right To Be Loved’. VIAM is a promoter of school/singing events with the ambition to positively change the perception of Adoption and Fostering both in the UK and worldwide.

Click here to buy ‘Right To Be Loved’ on iTunes.

Through the power of songwriting and music, these 11 Song Academy young songwriters aim to remind the world that everyone has a right to be loved, has a right to belong and a right to a brighter future. Their aim is 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.

The idea for ‘Right To Be Loved’ was sparked during a meeting between Rowena Atkins, Director of Song Academy and Jo Garofalo, founder of Voice In A Million. They were talking about the Song Academy Young Songwriter competition and giving one of the winner’s the opportunity to perform at the VIAM show. It was a natural step to utilise the talents of Song Academy members to write an original song on the topic of children, adoption & fostering so helping the VIAM mission.

Founder and CEO of Song Academy, Rowena Atkins said “It was a perfect fit – young children writing about the plight of young people in care whilst also making their song relevant to older children and parents adopting – reminding the world that everyone has a right to be loved and a right to be a part of a loving family unit. I’m incredibly proud of ‘Right To Be Loved’ and hope it rocks the world.” A thank to our sponsors PRS for Music, Yamaha, Dawsons Music & Farida.

Founders of VIAM, Jo & Robert Garofalo said “We are delighted to welcome Song Academy to Voice In A Million this year, our mission includes giving talented youngsters the opportunity to shine on world class stages. Song Academy’s ‘Right To Be Loved’ is in perfect harmony with VIAM’s ethos.”

The premiere performance of ‘Right To Be Loved’ will be at the Voice In A Million show at Wembley Arena on 2nd March 2016. Right to be loved was produced at Studio Rokstone – home of ASCAP award winning songwriter and chart producer Steve Mac. The producers were Tim Laws, ASCAP award winning songwriter and record producer, Pete Craigie, engineer, arranger, mixer and live production and Diane Allison Young DAYTime Entertainment.  Our music video was produced by Steve Coleman.

If you’re aged 7-18 and write your own original songs – enter The Song Academy Young Songwriter 2016 competition before 9th April. Check out how to enter.

Aged 8-16? Love singing & making up songs? Want to develop your songwriting talents?

Tinie Tempah and Adele had to start somewhere and this time it could be you! Join our dynamic & spontaneous songwriting & singing workshops over the Easter Holidays.  Our vibrant groups of young songwriters collaborate on writing & producing an original song across two afternoons with a performance at the end.

We develop participants creative lyric writing skills, improvisation of melodies, harmonies and rhythm skills, and composition of instrumental parts/riffs and solos.  Participants choose the style of music – rock, country, jazz, pop, rhythm & blues, hip hop, urban, latin, electronic, folk or a new mixture. Those that play an instrument can bring it along and those that don’t can focus on creating the vocal harmonies.

8-11 years old workshops:  6&7 April and/or 13&14 April, 2-5pm at The Holy Trinity Church, Brook Green, Hammersmith W6 7BL

12-16 years old workshops: 7&8 April, 2-5pm at Bush Studios, Shepherds Bush, W12 7JD *a new programme adding the experience of producing an original song in an iconic recording studio!

Hurray to book a place/s as limited places available.

“Lets their musical and creative side run free” – Jo, Mother
“It’s awesome creating a song from scratch with professional songwriters!” – Amy, 14 years old

#nottobemissed #creativity #fun #bestholidayworkshop

young songwriters workshopIMG_2281older songwriters workshop2older songwriters workshop

11 talented young singer songwriters from Song Academy write an original song to perform at the Voice In A Million Wembley Concert on 2nd March 2016

Eleven talented singer songwriters from Song Academy, aged between 12 and 16 have written a song to have it’s premiere performance at the “Voice In A Million” (VIAM) concert, entitled ‘Right To Be Loved’. VIAM is a promoter of school/singing events with the ambition to positively change the perception of Adoption and Fostering both in the UK and worldwide.

RTBL CoverThrough the power of songwriting and music, these 11 Song Academy young songwriters aim to remind the world that everyone has a right to be loved, has a right to belong and a right to a brighter future. Their aim is 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.

The idea for ‘Right To Be Loved’ was sparked during a meeting between Rowena Atkins, Director of Song Academy and Jo Garofalo, founder of Voice In A Million. They were talking about the Song Academy Young Songwriter competition and giving one of the winner’s the opportunity to perform at the VIAM show. It was a natural step to utilise the talents of Song Academy members to write an original song on the topic of children, adoption & fostering so helping the VIAM mission.

Founder and CEO of Song Academy, Rowena Atkins said “It was a perfect fit – young children writing about the plight of young people in care whilst also making their song relevant to older children and parents adopting – reminding the world that everyone has a right to be loved and a right to be a part of a loving family unit. I’m incredibly proud of ‘Right To Be Loved’ and hope it rocks the world.”

Founders of VIAM, Jo & Robert Garofalo said “We are delighted to welcome Song Academy to Voice In A Million this year, our mission includes giving talented youngsters the opportunity to shine on world class stages.  Song Academy’s ‘Right To Be Loved’ is in perfect harmony with VIAM’s ethos.”

The premiere performance of ‘Right To Be Loved’ will be at the Voice In A Million show at Wembley Arena on 2nd March 2016. Right to be loved was produced at Studio Rokstone – home of ASCAP award winning songwriter and chart producer Steve Mac. The producers were Tim Laws, ASCAP award winning songwriter and record producer, Pete Craigie, engineer, arranger, mixer and live production and Diane Allison Young DAYTime Entertainment.

* ‘Right To Be Loved’ can now be purchased on iTunes, Spotify and other online distributors 

VIAM-2015

Young songwriters of ‘Right To Be Loved’

Lilah Atkins, Ginevra Benedetti, Ella Bleakley, Max Elliott, Roman Lewis, Claudia Namor, Gilska Weerakkody, Emma Whiley, India Whitehurst, Spencer Winningham, David Zazo

Producers of ‘Right To Be Loved’

Tim Laws ASCAP award winning songwriter and record producer

Recent credits – Bellowhead, Seth Lakeman, Rubylux, Sharon Corr, Peter Aristone & Mel C, Roachford, Scarlette, Clare Grogan’s Altered Images, Pauline Black’s Selecter  with DAYTime Entertainment

Discography collaborations – Lighthouse  Family, Gabrielle, Steve Wonder, INXS, Daryl Hall, Sugababes, Will Young

Pete Craigie engineer, arranger, mixer and live production

Recent credits – Bellowhead, Seth Lakeman, Rubylux, Sharon Corr, Peter Aristone & Mel C, Roachford, Scarlette, Clare Grogan’s Altered Images, Pauline Black’s Selecter with DAYTime Entertainment

Discography collaborations – Gabrielle, Pet Shop Boys, Alicia Keys, Sugababes, Shirley Bassey, Pavarotti, Simply Red

Diane Allison Young, DAYTime Entertainment