There’s incredible talent across the country. Have a listen to our selected songs this week. If you know any budding young songwriters – send them our way!

 

Stand Tall “I wrote this song to inspire those with a dream to follow it no matter what comes in there way. I have a dream to be a producer/rapper and will not let anyone stand in the way of that. The song was written to show how young people like myself have a voice that is often overlooked and it was an attempt to show my voice. It was also written to show that hard work pays off and that we only have one life and so we must use it to its full and never give up on what we believe and the vision that we have.”

Judgment Day “This song was created during the long, tense summer wait for results day. I wanted to express my frustration and anxiety of waiting. In general, I wanted this song to show to a wide range of audiences (the song can be interpreted in many contexts) the thoughts of people who feel ‘trapped’ and desire free expression of emotions, good or bad, without intervention (the reason why I write music).”

What made me “I wrote this song as a commentary on the state that the rap music industry is in at the moment, particularly mainstream rap and the lack of content or feeling. I wanted to capture this essence and the essence of the way people will push away content or talent as it isn’t as easily palatable as a catchy melody and hook.”

Daydream “It’s really embarrassing, but to be honest, when I was writing the lyrics I was thinking about a couple from East Enders, so I guess East Enders was my inspiration. Probably my most cheesy lyrics, but when I play the song to other people, it usually makes them smile, which is what I want all my music to do.”

Replay “The main feel of the song came from the guitar picking loop I made up after listening to a lot of Ben Howard’s picking style; I really liked how it sounded and made the guitar loop and vocal harmony intro before writing the lyrics. The lyrics were written more to create the right vibe: mellow but optimistic, inspired by a fusion of the ambience of some of my favourite acoustic songs. The concept behind the lyrics came from a film I watched called ‘I’ll Give it a Year’ where in the end a couple finally decides to split up, but are happy about it. This idea really interested me and this song was an exploration of that.”

Frustrated “I was feeling upset with my best friend and I needed to express my feelings so I decided to write a song and the words came to me because of this. Sometimes my lyrics are about my private thoughts but it is nice to share them with people.”

 

Only just over 3 weeks to go before our 2015 Young Songwriter competition is closed for entries!  If you think you’ve written some hit songs – send them our way!


‘Regret it straight away’ “This song is about waking from a most bodacious night and realising that the girl that you took out for a fun time is actually a girl that you want to take out with you every time you ‘hit the town’. What a soppy sod, I know.”

‘Expectations’ “For this song, I actually created the chorus just by writing a few words down and forming lines which rhymed. I like the kind of poetry in which things contradict themselves or there are absolute opposites. The poem ‘Valentine’ inspired me also. In this poem, it talks about silver rings, and I love the saying of ‘every cloud has a silver lining. This is how the line ‘So find some other cloud to line with your silver rings’ came about. I really enjoyed writing this song and spent many blissful hours in the shower singing my head off to finally get it ‘right’.”

‘Faith’ “In all honesty, Faith was one of those songs that just comes from nowhere! I sat at the piano one night with scattered candles and a blank sheet of paper, and an hour or so later the song had almost written itself. It was a combination of different thoughts and feelings that I had at the time – thoughts about relationships (of course it was about a boy!), thoughts about faith. I’d also just come across Hozier’s music… Which was definitely an influence! In a nutshell ‘Faith’ is about two people from different worlds, an unhealthy relationship. Innocently forfeiting your beliefs, your future, your surroundings, just to stay with this person. And the fact that something can look good from the outside but be broken within.”

‘Vanilla Essence’ “I think it is important that, as teenagers, we understand that it’s okay to lead a life others don’t understand. For example, if a crowd is going to a party to get drunk you don’t actually have to join them. You can do what makes you happy! And this is what inspired the song ‘Vanilla Essence’; it’s my way of telling the young adults around me that they can be what they want to be and do what feels right for them. It also addresses the issue of growing up and deciding our futures. For this I remembered some of the things my friends had said on this topic and exaggerated them to get the point across that it’s sometimes very difficult and overwhelming to be a teenager! (But also lots of fun.)”

‘Wrong mentality’ “I wrote this song a few years back, when I was sick and tired of people talking about other people behind their back. We live in fear of what others are saying about us, trying to conform to the ideals that society sets, and in doing so, we get more and more miserable and lose who we are and the bits about us that make us unique. I’m tired of feeling so judged, the things I do and the life I live are mine, and I want to be able to enjoy what I do freely. I wrote this song because I wanted to be able to encourage people to worry less and live more, and to vent the frustration I was feeling at the time.”

‘Battle Cry’ “A while back I went to go see “12 years a slave” with a few friends. I was left fairly disconcerted by the heavy content of the film and the inhuman hardships that this man had to go through. I thought to myself had I gone through half of what these characters had been through I could not go on. “Battle Cry” is about will and the decision to carry on and survive. It’s about breaking past the hopelessness and the anguish so you can allow it to enhance you. Writing this song taught me the importance of pain and how sometimes it is necessary to build you into your strongest self.”

‘Never Enough’ “I wrote this song about 2 main themes. The first theme was what inspired the chorus. I have struggled with an eating disorder for 5 years and I felt this feeling of never being satisfied hence the main motif “never enough”. There was this hole inside me that could never be filled. I’d either eat until I felt sick but still feel empty, or I would starve myself and never feel thin enough. The second theme that the song is most heavily based on is regret. I broke up with my boyfriend because I thought he was somehow too adoring and too attached to me and I was scared. A few months later my Mum became very ill, I fell out with my best friend and I felt completely alone. This is when I began to wish I had never broken up with my boyfriend. I knew in the back of my mind that it was wrong for me to want him back. I knew that I missed him because I felt lonely. I knew I wasn’t thinking straight. I had this overwhelming longing for him even though I knew I shouldn’t. He gradually became more and more close to me again but I felt it was “never enough” because I knew he was seeing another girl. I tried to feign not caring and being happy with a friendship and nothing more. However, each time he showed care for me I felt this utter longing and need for him to be back in my life. I wanted him to save me from drowning in loneliness and unhappiness. I felt selfish but I couldn’t help it. The song is about that feeling of never being satisfied or content. You’re always pushing for more.”

‘Behind your eyes’ The inspiration for this song came from having experienced frustrating relationships with friends, whether that was being judged or made to feel unimportant. I called the song Behind Your Eyes because, as the lyrics say, I would be ‘intrigued’ to see what the world would be like from another persons perspective.”

‘Dreams’ “I am passionate about the arts and I find that I dream a lot about what I could become because that is all I want to do. I wrote this song to try and put into words how strongly I feel inside to fulfill my dreams. When I perform its like a fire burning within me and I hope that this song will also inspire others to fulfill there dreams and set their dreams on fire too.”

If you’ve written a song – enter our 2015 Young Songwriter competition and have the opportunity to play at Wembley Arena and have a half day recording session with Sony ATV….plus other fabulous prizes!

We’re half way through our 2015 competition and the entries are starting to race in!  Have a listen to a selection of this week’s entries:


‘Let me down’ “This song was inspired by the feeling of being used by someone who you had considered very special to you.”

‘Free’ “I wrote this song after coming home from a frustrating day at school and I had no gigs coming or anything remotely musical in the pipeline. I took my frustration out on my piano and outpoured a river of lyrics which all came from the fact that I blamed my lack of work at the time for where I was from and the fact that I was living in the middle of nowhere. There was also element of being annoyed with the people around me who didn’t believe in my dream and were very skeptical anytime I would bring it up.”

‘Jukebox’ “I got the inspiration for jukebox from all the relationships in the world which are completely dominated by the man, when the woman does so much for him and he doesn’t appreciate it. The woman in this song whose point of view I’m singing from is fed up of being ignored, and she thinks about how he would feel if she ended it.”

‘Headphones’ “It’s about how I drown my stress and unhappiness etc. in music and that even though the world is always ready to swallow me up I can still push on. It is also about how I’m still trying to find myself and my own sound and I’m telling everyone that I’m not depressed or sad, I just need to keep listening to already famous amazing stars and keep learning about myself and my sound.”

‘Just beginning’ “I wrote this song to show people that you should always believe in yourself and not give up on your dreams just because some else doesn’t think you can achieve them.”

‘Shooting Stars’ “Watching the news most nights, we constantly see areas of war around the world with rockets shooting across the night skies like shooting stars and although they are beautiful to watch, they bring nothing but death and destruction. In the cities and towns people live, fight and die and even the people fighting suffer, as they too are separated from their families, with nothing but a picture to remind them of their families.”

If you think you’ve got what it takes to write a hit song – enter our Young Songwriter 2015 competition!

Here are the Brit 2015 nominees, and Song Academy’s predictions for who will win tonight…

BRITISH MALE SOLO ARTIST

Damon Albarn // Ed Sheeran // Sam Smith // George Ezra // Paulo Nutini

Song Academy predicts:  Ed Sheeran is cited as inspiration for many of our Young Songwriter Competition entrants. So for inspiring the next generation of Brit winners…go Ed!

 BRITISH FEMALE SOLO ARTIST

Ella Henderson // FKA Twigs // Jessie Ware // Lily Allen // Paloma Faith

Song Academy predicts: We’ve been loving Paloma Faith this year, check out our blog on her collaboration with Sigma.

BRITISH GROUP

One Direction // Royal Blood // Clean Bandit // Alt J // Coldplay

Song Academy predicts:  We’re routing for One Direction (and of course Jamie Scott, SAYS15 judge who has written many of their tracks)

BRITISH BREAKTHROUGH

Chvrches // FKA Twigs // George Ezra // Royal Blood // Sam Smith

Song Academy predicts:

It’s been a cracking year for George Ezra and he will also be performing on the night!

BRITISH SINGLE

Calvin Harris – Summer // Clean Bandit ft Jess Glynne – Rather Be // Duke Dumont ft Jax Jones – I Got U // Ed Sheeran – Thinking Out Loud // George – Ezra Budapest // Mark Ronson ft Bruno Mars – Uptown Funk // Route 94 ft Jess Glynne – My Love // Sam Smith – Stay With Me

Song Academy predicts: Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars –read our blog on why this song is SO GOOD here>

MASTERCARD BRITISH ALBUM OF THE YEAR

Alt-J – This Is All Yours // Ed Sheeran – X // George Ezra – Wanted On Voyage // Royal Blood – Royal Blood // Sam Smith – In The Lonely Hour

Song Academy predicts: The fact that SAYS15 judges Fraser T Smith, Eg White and Naughty Boy all have writing and production credits on ‘In The Lonely Hour’ mean that we are 100% behind Sam Smith on this one! 

BRITISH ARTIST VIDEO OF THE YEAR

Calvin Harris – Summer // Ed Sheeran – Thinking Out Loud // Mark Ronson ft Bruno Mars – Uptown Funk // One Direction – You And I // Sam Smith – Stay With Me

Song Academy predicts: Ed Sheeran Thinking Out Loud is a beautiful video, but as this one is down to a public vote will the Directioners make it a win for 1D?

INTERNATIONAL MALE SOLO ARTIST

Beck // Hozier // Jack White // John Legend // Pharrell Williams

Song Academy predicts: We think ‘Happy’ will swing this category for Pharrell Williams

 INTERNATIONAL FEMALE SOLO ARTIST

Beyoncé // Lana Del Rey // Sia // St Vincent // Taylor Swift

Song Academy predicts: It’s a tough call between Sia and Taylor Swift – but for the sheer number of amazing songwriting credits to her name we’re backing Sia.

INTERNATIONAL GROUP

5 Seconds of Summer // The Black Keys // First Aid Kit // Foo Fighters // The War On Drugs

Song Academy predicts: 5 Seconds of Summer have proven worthy rivals to One Direction so for that feat alone we think the gong should go to them!

GLOBAL SUCCESS AWARD

 Song Academy predicts: This award is top secret and announced on the night. In terms of global success and Sam Smith’s Grammy haul and smash hit ‘Stay With Me’ is the reason we think he should win this category.

BRITISH PRODUCER OF THE YEAR

Alison Goldfrapp & Will Gregory // Flood // Jake Gosling // Paul Epworth

Song Academy predicts: Not many nominees here but it’ll be 3rd time lucky for super-producer Paul Epworth.

CRITICS’ CHOICE

James Bay // George The Poet // Years & Years

Congratulations James Bay: We predicted George The Poet – if you are find you are stuck on lyrics for your SAYS entry why not do like George The Poet does and say them out loud? For his lyrical genius we think George is deserving of the Critics’ Choice award.

Now get songwriting and enter our Young Songwriter 2015 competition!

It’s amazing to hear the variety of songs our entrants are sending in.  Have a listen to these featured songs below.  If you know any aspiring young songwriters – send them our way!


13-18 year old entrants

‘Don’t Worry’  “This song is about unrequited love. A boy comforts a girl who is upset about a boyfriend. The girl doesn’t know that the boy really likes her. Through the lyrics the boy explains how he feels about her and his love for her:.

‘Postman Song’   “A brainstorm of the word “bicycle” lead me to the theme of a postman, and from there, I focused on making the lyrics amusing, and then combining them with a fun and catchy tune”.

‘Sunset’   “One of my close friends brother died in a car crash. So I tried to put myself in her shoes. And write as if it was one of my brothers”.

‘Echoes’  “This song is about being in a dark place in your mind and just sometimes needing someone or something to guide you through it”.

‘Needle In The Hay’  “This is purely a song about love and the feeling and emotion behind it. I wrote this about my current girlfriend”.

7-12 year old entrants

‘Gazing’  “My song is about changing the world. It’s inspiration comes from many different things. Exclusion, World Hunger and War are our main issues and only one human being alone couldn’t stop it. My song explains how if you believe in yourself and work as a team anything is possible. When I sing my song, I imagine myself floating in space and smiling, along with other people doing the same. ‘Gazing’ is my escape from reality. When I was writing this song, I was under a lot of stress and pressure and singing is my silly childish dream, but singing a song I wrote myself and that I could be proud of makes singing more than a childish dream”.

‘Tears of Gold’  “Nobody has ever given me their phone number so I couldn’t call them if I wanted to chat or talk to them because I was sad. So I decided to write a song about being able to call friends if I’m sad”.

Looking forward

We’ve had some fabulous entries in week 2.  Have a listen and if you know any aspiring young songwriters aged 7-18, tell them to enter before 6th April!


‘Open Up The Sky’ “This song was written about loving someone, who hasn’t ever considered loving you back. Someone who doesn’t acknowledge you, the way you want them to. They, in other words, see right past you. It’s about seeing them with someone else who doesn’t treat them as well as you could, and saying how they should open up their minds, think outside the box, look beyond the sky, and consider you instead”.

‘More than good friends’ “This song is about when I was friends with a boy and I had feelings for him that were more than just friendship. The feelings are mutual but there was uncertainty about taking things forward”.

‘Not Ready’ “Inspiration for this song came from the pressure teens have to decide a career path and make formal choices about their futures. Being indecisive about the choices available and being unsure that choices made will be available to them”.

‘Electro Circus’ “This song is about all the “freaks” in the universe. It’s about how the misfits have a special thing which makes them amazing. I am quite obviously and definitely a misfit and have been named “freak” and other bad things which made me feel like I don’t belong. I mention, in the song, how people like me are “toxic” to all the normal people and we shock. This song expresses my way of embracing that. In this song I, metaphorically, put on an original, shocking and dazzling “electro circus” with all of the other “freaks” where my feelings explode in electronic music and I show the world, which is the audience of the circus, what I’m really made of.

To enter goto: https://www.songacademy.co.uk/says15/

You hear a song on the radio. You want to buy it – not stream it – because you want to keep it and play it again and again; so you go to iTunes or Amazon and you purchase it, roughly £0.99 a track, £9.99 an album. There. Lovely stuff. You’ve bought your new favourite song or album. It’s yours. You think you own it. But you don’t.

It might surprise you, but in most cases you are renting, or leasing, the song, not buying it. When you buy from Apple and Amazon you are being sold a licence to use the song/film or ebook but are not buying the actual item itself.

Thinking many years ahead, what about when you die; who can you leave your music collection to? According to Apple, you can leave your family or friends your iPod with your music on, but you cannot leave instructions to share out your iTunes account after you are gone. So as the law currently stands one cannot leave their iTunes music to their family.

For years families have been passing down their music collection to their children and grandchildren to share their past with them via music. They’ve been able to do this as their music is in a physical form; on vinyl, tape or CD. What’s more, your parents’ and grandparents’ music collections act as a wonderful history of songwriting, educating you on how and why music has evolved through the decades. But in our over-technological era, the songs you’ve downloaded and “purchased” in your life may end up resting in peace with you.

Think about all the songs you have on your computer – what if you couldn’t give those songs that you’ve paid for to your children or friends? Do you think people will go back to illegally downloading mp3s, because they’d rather own them illegally, than pay for “renting” them? Or do you think this will regenerate an interest in CDs and Vinyls with people being able to buy them and own them physically, not digitally, and thus be able to pass them on to their loved ones?

Tweet us at @songacademyUK to let us know your thoughts. 

What do you think of when someone says the word vinyl? Vintage, old fashioned, crackley, retro. These are just a few words used to describe vinyls by young music listeners today. Some didn’t know what a vinyl was, others knew because they’d heard their parents talk about them. But have you ever listened to one? Have you ever listened to your favourite song through a record player, hearing the needle find its familiar spot on the groove of the record with a buzz and crackle, building anticipation and excitement before the melody and lyrics ring out?

Many of you will have grown up ripping music online or illegally downloading it through torrent websites or streaming it. But what can you do with a vinyl that you can’t do with a download? Hold it. Feel the imprints of the song along the outside of the record, look at the album artwork close up and frame it, get out the lyric sheet from the booklet inside the vinyl cover and read the words you may have missed when listening first time.

Things sound different on a vinyl; the song comes to life, it has a warming authenticity which requires you to interact with it as you have to turn it over to hear the other songs on the album when the first five tracks are finished. By needing to engage with the physicality of turning a record over, it requires you listen, and to not ‘multitask’ (i.e. putting it the machine and popping off to do something else, expecting it to play until you turn it off). And now, the excitement of holding a vinyl record in your hand, putting it on the turntable and sitting with a friend listening to it together is back in fashion.

Vinyl sales are on the rise – some say by a 50% increase. Only a few years ago it looked as though vinyl would become obsolete. Vinyl records had been overtaken by cassette tapes, which were subsequently superseded by compact discs (CDs) in the early 1980s, which was then ousted by mini discs, which was then overshadowed by iPods. The trend? The more portable, the better. The iPod boasted of having over 2,000 songs which you could listen to anytime, anywhere with earbud headphones. But what has the iPod done for the listening experience to music? Can you really hear the emotion of the song through tiny headphones on noisy trains or tubes or has music become a means of blocking out daily life?

It poses the question – how and why do you listen to music? What do you think, if any, are the sonic differences between vinyl and digital music? Do you have a record player? If so what is in your collection? Tweet us at @songacademyuk and or Instagram us a photo of your records.

And if you want to add to your record collection, check out this link for the recommended vinyl stores in the uk: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/rockandpopmusic/10954342/The-coolest-record-stores-in-Britain.html

There is a threat on one of London’s most vibrant and historic streets, a threat that will eradicate decades of music history from our city and further remove future generations from an essential link to our music past.

Denmark Street, also know as Tin Pan Alley since the late 1950s, has been a mecca for musicians ever since rock’n’roll moved to London. But now, due to development plans surrounding the Cross Rail Interchange and the increase in commercial interest in the local area, there is a rise in property values and these “skyrocketing rents are making it unaffordable for small local businesses [to stay] and are dissolving the community and its legendary musical culture.” [RoundBoyPictures “The Demise of Denmark Street”]

What will take the place of the music history that has been around for last 70 years? More corporate chains such as Starbucks and Pret A Manger (as if there aren’t enough already, clogging up London’s streets), more over priced housing for the elite to be at the heart of the city with excellent transport links, that’s what. However, by adding homogenous chain stores and removing historic individuality, what will people travel into town to see? Commercial property? Why will tourists want to visit the heart of London if they destroy iconic sites like Denmark Street, a gem in British popular music culture?

For a musician, this street was a haven; you could do everything as Alex Jackson, from an independent film company called Round Boy Pictures who are making a documentary on “The Demise of Denmark Street” (https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Demise-Of-Denmark-Street/658932924190243) said. “You could join a band, buy instruments, get them repaired, record, play live” and furthermore you could discuss new and old music face to face all day long with other like-minded people – the opportunities for young, aspiring and professional “museos” were endless. This street heard the early recordings of Jimi Hendrix and the Rolling Stones, this street was the first place that Elton John worked, it was where the Sex Pistols lived; it’s drenched in British pop culture; yet all of that is on the verge of being demolished.

Having already shut down the Astoria and 12 Bar Blues, two venues which have hosted some of the best live showcases in London from Adele, to Jeff Buckley, to the Libertines to many more, developers want to renovate the rest of the street.

Denmark Street is about real life musicians and music lovers. It’s something tangible, away from social media threads, an important piece of London’s history. How many music streets solely dedicated to music are there in London? How many memories will be swept away under the concrete? What message is this sending out to young aspiring musicians, music journalists, up-and-coming managers and songwriters? Where else can you go and play 15 different guitars or try out 10 different pianos, just to make sure you’ve found the one to suit you best? Will we be forced to buy our instruments on the Internet, putting them at risk of being damaged in transit or having to spend time and money sending them back because they not the right fit for us, purely because we haven’t played them first? Choosing an instrument is a very personal affair, and one that shouldn’t be compromised to make way for something that will not improve or remember the culture of the city we live in.

Jobs will be put at risk in an already struggling employment crisis and for many musicians working in music shop is a way to work flexible hours in order to make a living whilst following their musical dream.

As one fan said on social media, “I’m sure the Pret A Manger they replace [12 Bar Blues] with will bring an equal amount fo character, heritage and sense of community.”

How many of you have been to Denmark Street? What are you views on it? Tweet @songacademyUK and let us know what you think about its current demise. And if you haven’t been then make sure you go along before it’s gone, take some photos (don’t forget to tweet/instagram them to us) and perhaps jot down a few ideas for a protest song while you’re there entitled “Denmark Street”: send your songs to contact@songacademy.co.uk for a chance to get featured on our website.

 

Our Young Songwriter 2015 competition is off to a cracking start! Have a listen to our playlist of selected songs this week and read what inspired these young songwriters to write their song…


‘Rewind’ “I wrote this song thinking about all the bad things that human kind have done and how we look back on them now and wish we could change them, but obviously those bad things have been done so all we can do is move on from it all”.

‘Losing Faith’ “It may appear a bit bleak, but it is based on the world today and my current experiences and the environment that I live in and my struggle to keep faith in what I believe in”.

‘Run’ “I was cheated on by my first love. This song is about realizing that you deserve so much more and going away from the same pattern and not letting them ruin your life anymore. Nobody listened to me when this happened I was on my own and resorted to music, I wanted people to hear me and how hurt I was but that I will not let people around me and everything that was going wrong pull me down. Nothing can pull me away from my music. I want to share my song with the world”.

‘Dirty’  ” I wrote this song after listening to various Kasabian and Jamiroquai albums. The song’s about a modern popular London lad that is in a relationship. However, he has options to move on with other relationships and life in general, but he doesn’t have the courage to leave her because she puts his wrongs to right when times are tough. Furthermore, he puts himself in a tricky/dirty situation and cheats behind her back”.

‘Dreaming’ “This is a song I wrote about a boy and a girl who have once been in a relationship. I tried to base it on the fact that a break up may be hard for both people, but if it’s needed it is the best thing for both. I have had a similar experience to this and I felt that I didn’t want it to be a typical break-up song where it’s just regret, I wanted the listener to hear the reasons why it’s happened and to understand or relate to the lyrics and meanings”.

‘I danced with you’ “The main concept of this song is the feeling you get when you begin falling for a friend you have been close with for years, and then you begin showing these emotions to them and all you are getting is nothing in return”.

‘Look at me’ “These lyrics evolve around our life, starting a new school, making new friends and all the ups and downs of daily life. We know that there are so many more amazing artists out there who are also in the same boat as us but we really just want to show you what we can achieve together as a team”.

If you think you have what it takes to write a hit song – click here to enter our Young Songwriter 2015 competition!