Elijah Tolefe is 13 years old from Windsor and his song ‘Weekend’ was selected as a top 60 song in The Song Academy Young Songwriter 2020 competition 13-18 year UK/Ireland category. We caught up with Elijah recently to talk about all things songwriting!
What inspired you to write your song? I was inspired to write my song one weekend, while thinking about all the things I would’ve liked to do during the weekend that I wouldn’t have been able to do. I was talking to some of my friends and while they were listing stuff that we should’ve done together, I started writing it down, and came up with the lyrics for the song.
What got you into writing songs? I’ve always been into music, especially instrumental music as oppose to vocal. Naturally, because I liked music so much, started writing Electronic songs when I was about 9.
What is your favourite part of the songwriting process? Favourite part of the songwriting process has to be the final mix, when I end up changing half of the instrumental and rewriting most of the song. Although stressful, my songs tend to really come together at this point.
Describe your setup that you used to write your #SAYS20 entry, was it just a pen and paper or a fully kitted out studio? When creating Weekend, I wrote the first few lines on a laptop, before moving to my mini home studio to write the majority of the song.
How do you usually start a song? How do you find that spark? Although I wrote the lyrics for this song first, I tend to put together the beats first, because I find that so much easier. I also like to improvise on the piano, so I can work out interesting chord progressions.
Who would be your dream artist/writer/band to collaborate with?I would love to collaborate with Chance the rapper, JayZ, Stormzy and Ed Sheeran. I would also like to mix with Timberland and Calvin Harris.
What made you enter #SAYS20? How did you hear about it? Last year I entered in the 8-12 category, and placed in the top ten. I entered again this year as I enjoyed the process last year and I am happy to have my music listened to. I heard about last year’s competition from my previous school.
What would you say to someone aged 8-18 who is thinking about entering the Song Academy Young Songwriter competition next year? Do you have any tips for them? I would say, have fun with it, relax, create and don’t get too invested in the result.
What are your favourite other entries from this year’s competition? Who out of the other entrants (it doesn’t have to be a finalist!) would you like to collaborate with? I really liked a lot of the songs I heard, my personal favourites are, “Little Alchemy“ (everything about it was engaging,), and “Other Love”, I especially enjoy the instrumental sounds.
What do you like about the Song Academy Young Songwriter competition? I like the that the Song Academy brings together songwriters, singers, rappers, and musicians of a certain age in the UK, and Internationally. It’s given me confidence to share my passion for music and also highlights the fact I share this passion with so many other people.