Congratulations to Kevin for being a Young Songwriter 2018 Finalist with his song ‘Clara’.  Here’s a bit about Kevin and his songwriting.

What inspired you to write your SAYS18 finalist song ‘Clara’?  I wrote a chord progression on the guitar and made an instrumental demo. It had a bittersweet tone so I wanted to tell the story of someone in their daily life. I thought of the struggles that girls my age go through everyday. Feelings of pressure and anxiety, emptiness and longing, but all the while still enjoying life. Clara’s just trying to figure out how to navigate the complicated world around her.

How long have you been writing songs?  I started writing music when I was about 10 years old, so I’ve been writing for nearly 8 years.

How did you get into songwriting?  I was always inspired by music and I started singing and playing at a very young age, so it was just natural for me to try writing songs.

What does songwriting allow you to explore and achieve?  I found a whole new enjoyment in songwriting when I realized how therapeutic it could be. I just loved to play the piano and try to write something that spoke to me. Songwriting allows me to put my thoughts into an art-form that speaks louder than words.

What’s your favourite part of the songwriting process?  I’ve always found the chords and melodies to be the most fascinating and beautiful part of songwriting. If your music doesn’t speak than how will your lyrics?

What’s the most difficult part of the creative process of songwriting for you?  It can be pretty difficult sometimes to know what you want to say with your lyrics. I revised the lyrics to “Clara” several times before they felt right.

Do you start with lyrics or melodies/chords?  It depends, because just about anything can inspire a song. But I usually like to start with chords and then let the melody lead the lyrics.

What do you like about Song Academy and our Young Songwriter competition?   I think Song Academy has done a wonderful job of giving young songwriters from around the world a chance at sharing their art and getting the encouragement and feedback needed to help shape their craft.

Who are your three favourite artists/songs?  It’s pretty hard to chose but I think my current favorite artists are Mac DeMarco, Electric Light Orchestra, and Paul McCartney.

15 years from now you will be… I hope to make a career in music, whether it be in songwriting, producing, or as my own solo act. My talents are a gift that I never want to stop utilizing. And there’s just about nothing else that I enjoy more than making music.

What’s your favourite thing to do when you’re not writing songs?  I like spending time with my brother and sister, or just enjoying the outdoors on a sunny day.

Our SAYS18 winners will be announced on the 14th May at 6pm (GMT) on our Twitter channel.

Come & watch the top young songwriters from across the UK and Ireland perform @WestfieldLondon, Shepherd’s Bush in the Young Songwriter 2018 live showcase on Sunday 10th June, 2-5pm. Around 40 performers including winners, finalists & highly commended entrants, aged 8-18 will perform! #savethedate #newgeneration #talent #youngsongwriters #songwriting #newmusic #freeevent #SAYS18

Full line-up to be announced shortly.

Young Songwriter 2018 Press Release Finalists Announced

Congratulations to Skye for being a Young Songwriter 2018 Finalist with her song ‘Soaring’.  Here’s a bit about Skye and her songwriting.

What inspired you to write your SAYS18 finalist song ‘Soaring’?  A girl at school said I couldn’t win a running race, so I decided to prove her wrong. I wrote this song after I won the race.

How long have you been writing songs?  I have been writing songs for fun since I was seven, but I never really thought they were any good until now. So THANK YOU Song Academy :)

How did you get into songwriting?  Sometimes I just felt like writing down what I was feeling and then I would sing the words over and over again in different ways and it just turns into a song.

What does songwriting allow you to explore and achieve?  It allows me to be free and have fun with music and express how I am feeling. Usually I’m learning other people’s songs so this allows me to be me.

What’s your favourite part of the songwriting process?  My favourite part is the recording when I start to see all my words come together in a song.

What’s the most difficult part of the creative process of songwriting for you?  The most difficult part can be writing the music to match the words.

Do you start with lyrics or melodies/chords?  I usually start with the chorus and melodies, and then start thinking about some lyrics and what I want to say.

What do you like about Song Academy and our Young Songwriter competition?  I really like that children get to show that they are good writers and get to perform like a professional artist.

Who are your three favourite artists/songs? I like many different styles of music, and my favourites change all the time depending on what I’m learning or listening too. One of my favourites is ‪Taylor Swift, Shake it off.  A more mellow and meaningful song I love is Fix you by Coldplay and I am working on learning a brilliant Tracey Chapman song, Fast Car at the moment.

15 years from now you will be…  15 years from now I will hopefully be on a giant stage singing one of my own songs, with giant inflatable unicorns being passed around the biggest crowd ever.

What’s your favourite thing to do when you’re not writing songs?  Hmmmm, My four favourite things to do are: ballet, make slime (which drives my mum crazy!), run for my team Thames Valley Harriers, and busk on the corner of Portobello Road. I busk there most weekends. At first I did it to raise money for two of my favourite charities but now I’m saving for a Puppy!!!

Our SAYS18 winners will be announced on the 14th May at 6pm (GMT) on our Twitter channel.

Come & watch the top young songwriters from across the UK and Ireland perform @WestfieldLondon, Shepherd’s Bush in the Young Songwriter 2018 live showcase on Sunday 10th June, 2-5pm. Around 40 performers including winners, finalists & highly commended entrants, aged 8-18 will perform! #savethedate #newgeneration #talent #youngsongwriters #songwriting #newmusic #freeevent #SAYS18

Full line-up to be announced shortly.

Young Songwriter 2018 Press Release Finalists Announced

Congratulations to Owain for being a Young Songwriter 2018 Finalist with his song ‘Broken’.  Here’s a bit about Owain and his songwriting.

What inspired you to write your SAYS18 finalist song ‘Broken’? I wrote ‘Broken’ after I split up from my girlfriend.

How long have you been writing songs? I have been writing songs since around the age of 13. I began guitar at the age of 12 and decided to try singing at the age of 13, which then led on to writing my own material.

How did you get into songwriting? I had been writing lots of poems and aspired to be an author when I was in primary school, inspired by my Grandad. I always preferred the creative tasks, such as writing a short story or drawing in art. I later adapted this writing skill, going from poems to lyrics when I went to secondary school and my music teacher, Bethan Jenkins, got me into songwriting.

What does songwriting allow you to explore and achieve? Song writing allows me to express myself easily and in a way others can enjoy. It can help get across different perspectives and can also be a very powerful tool in helping yourself, or others deal with a troubling or upsetting situations. Also, I like to think that people can relate to my music and not only enjoy it for the music it is but also the meaning beneath it. Also, it can be used to provoke thoughts in others. I think this is very important because it is good to look at things from alternate perspectives.

What’s your favourite part of the songwriting process? I enjoy all parts of the song writing process, but one of my favourite parts is when you write a powerful and catchy chorus or hook line. I think that these can make or break a song so when you come up with a really strong chorus it’s a great feeling. Also, it feels great when a song finally comes together and sounds complete. It’s a real confidence booster.

What’s the most difficult part of the creative process of songwriting for you? For me, the most difficult part of the process varies from song to song. Recently I have been struggling when coming up with new chord patterns as I have a tendency to reuse chords from previous songs. However, other days I might struggle to work on just one song at once, instead going back and forth between multiple songs which can turn out to be a bad thing as it means applying less consideration into each individual song.

Do you start with lyrics or melodies/chords? It really depends on the song and day. A lot of the time I’ll think of lyrics throughout the day and note them down on my phone, figuring out a melody later on. For the most part, I like to write the riff or chord pattern first, then write the melody and for lyrics to this melody as I find the lyrics the easiest part.

What do you like about Song Academy and our Young Songwriter competition?  I believe the Song Academy and the Young Songwriter Competition have many benefits. They not only provide a platform for songwriters to get their work listened to and get expert advice, but they also do this for young people, who can often feel limited in the experiences available to our age group. Also, there is no other competition like this that I know of in the UK, so I believe that this is an excellent idea and competition, providing a much needed opportunity to young songwriters.

Who are your three favourite artists/songs?  My favourite artists and songs are constantly changing. I like to stay like to stay current and evolve my music with the trends that I enjoy to listen to. Currently, I enjoy artists such as Shawn Mendes, Ed Sheeran and James Arthur. I also enjoy the Stereophonics, which is I believe is reflected in a few of my songs.

15 years from now you will be… In 15 years from now I aspire to be writing chart songs and deep into the industry. It’s ambitious, but I believe it can be done if I work hard enough.

What’s your favourite thing to do when you’re not writing songs? When I’m not writing songs, I enjoy going out with my friends. I think it’s important to go out and have a laugh with your mates as these times can often inspire a new song or idea so they go hand in hand in a way.

Our SAYS18 winners will be announced on the 14th May at 6pm (GMT) on our Twitter channel.

Come & watch the top young songwriters from across the UK and Ireland perform @WestfieldLondon, Shepherd’s Bush in the Young Songwriter 2018 live showcase on Sunday 10th June, 2-5pm. Around 40 performers including winners, finalists & highly commended entrants, aged 8-18 will perform! #savethedate #newgeneration #talent #youngsongwriters #songwriting #newmusic #freeevent #SAYS18

Full line-up to be announced shortly.

Young Songwriter 2018 Press Release Finalists Announced

CREATIVITY • COURAGE • INDIVIDUALITY • SELF EXPRESSION • INSPIRATION

#SAYS18 #StrengtheningMentalHealth #Community  #Songwriting

The Young Songwriter 2018 finalists are announced and are being judged by our star-studded judging panel including Tom Odell, Guy Chambers & Imelda May

Finalists of the hotly contested Song Academy Young Songwriter (SAYS) 2018 competition have now been revealed. The SAYS18 winners will be announced on the 14th May! All finalists and highly commended entrants will perform live in front of family, friends and the general public at Westfield, London on Sunday 10th June, from 2pm to 5pm and the Young Songwriter 2018 compilation album will be released in June 2018.

8-12 years old category

Happy Birthday by Erik Antonyan, Soaring by Skye Bishop, All She Has To Do by Zoe Efstathiou, Interweaving by Daisy Grace Powell, City by Mia Bran, A.S. Bach by Asher Saipe , One Bad Day Won’t Bring Me Down by Laetitia Felix, Head Full Of Clouds by Greta Benn, Hello by Harry Hatcher, Dear Diary by Greta Benn.

13-18 years old category

Free Spirits by Lisa Kowalski, Broken by Owain Felstead, T-Shirt by Katie Kittermaster, Snapped by Lottie Jenkins, Like Lava by Matilda Mann, Trust Me by Tabitha Jade, Way You Move by Oscar Welsh, Only Me by Jade Thornton, Your Picture On The Mantelpiece by Joshua Shea, Bad Boy by Isabella Weinstein.

International category

Here I Am by Madi Earl, This Letter by Joe N Cave, Clara by Kevin Jones.

This year’s panel of award winning judges includes singer songwriters Tom Odell and Imelda May, songwriters & producers Guy Chambers (for Robbie Williams, Tom Jones, Kylie Minogue, & Mark Ronson), Eg White (Adele, Duffy, Take That, Pink), Tim Laws (Gabrielle, Lighthouse Family), Jessica Sharman (for Ward Thomas), Nicky Cox (editor, First News) and Nigel Elderton (Chairman, PRS for Music). A number of the judges will be at Westfield on 10th June to watch their favourites perform live.

This year’s competition attracted close to 500 high quality entries from cities across the world, from London, Dublin, Cairo, Helinski, Johannesburg, Nashville, New York, Reykjavik, Zagreb to Melbourne. 16% of entrants were aged 8-12, 41% aged 13-15 and 43% aged 16-18.  Girls were 70% of the entrants.

Analysis of entrants’ song themes and lyrics demonstrates that song writing is a hugely valuable outlet for young people to express their feelings and concerns and strengthen mental health. The main themes were: frustrating emotions of being in love (16%), moving on from a relationship after heartbreak or when it’s not working (14%), happiness of being in love (12%), anxieties and pressures of life (12%), importance of believing in yourself and being yourself (10%), being empowered in your life and being in control (8%). SAYS18 entrants expressed themselves with such power, imagination and creativity, both lyrically and musically, sharing their dreams, their pain, their hope & hearts with the world.

There were several noticeable differences between the age groups with the 8-12 year olds writing more about friendships and being empowered in your life and the 13-18 year olds focusing on the roller coaster emotions of being in love and moving on from destructive relationships.   A much higher proportion of the younger age group wrote about mental health themes of anxiety and pressures of growing up in today’s society, perhaps showing a need for more support at this younger age.

There was a wide variety of genres across SAYS18 songs, from folk to jazz, soul, rock, punk, reggae & pop. The younger age group wrote across a wider range of genres, with the pop genre as the most popular style. The older age group had a focus on acoustic folk (41%) with jazz/soul/blues and rock being popular styles.

The annual Song Academy Young Songwriter competition has gone from strength to strength since it’s launch in 2011 and is now the leading song writing competition for young people aged 8 to 18 across the UK and Ireland with a strong sense of community. It’s a springboard for the next generation of creative stars to get noticed by key players in the music industry, build confidence, have their voices heard and shine in the limelight.

During the SAYS18 competition period, 16.5 million people were reached across the Song Academy social media platforms and website. 19,000 people were engaging with SAYS18 with retweets, posts, comments, email click throughs. During the entry period there were 4,480 listens to the SAYS18 songs.

Tom Odell, singer songwriter said “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.”

Guy Chambers, songwriter & producer said “It’s a huge pleasure to be a part of this years judging panel for the Song Academy Young Songwriter 2018. I have always been a supporter and nurturer of young talent, so it will be great to see what this year’s competition has to offer. Good luck.”

Imelda May, singer songwriter said “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.”

Director of PRS for Music, Myles Keller said “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 British 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. Music is integral to our nation’s identity and it is crucial that we nurture the next generation of songwriters now to ensure a creative future. PRS for Music is absolutely delighted to support such a positive and exciting competition.”

Keep a watch for The Song Academy’s spotlight blogs on each of the top ten finalists and hear the latest news on the Young Songwriter 2018 showcase and star guests to be attending via the Song Academy Twitter feed @SongacademyUK.

A big thank you to our SAYS18 sponsors, PRS for Music, SoundCloud, Focusrite, ICMP and Trinity College London.

Young Songwriter 2018 Press Release Finalists Announced

– Ends –

For further media information, photography, videos, interviews, etc., contact Rowena Atkins, Founder of Song Academy, rowena@songacademy.co.uk 07710 023743.

NOTES TO EDITORS:

Who are we? A Song Academy overview

The Song Academy champions young people aged 8-18 and is nurturing the next generation of songwriters & creative leaders.

We believe we have a unique concept which focuses on the hearts and minds of young people, giving them the tools and platform to express themselves and have their voices heard. We celebrate their individuality. We unleash their creativity and inspire them with what’s possible. We also connect them to a vibrant community of their peers who love writing original songs, as well as exposing their songs to key players in the Music Industry. Overall, we build young people’s confidence and self-belief.  Our focus is on the love of songwriting rather than the love of fame.

The Song Academy runs after-school sessions, holiday workshops, school workshops, birthday parties and an annual nationwide 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 song-writing ability in our members. More information is at https://www.songacademy.co.uk.

www.songacademy.co.uk

contact@songacademy.co.uk

07710 023743

We’re delighted to announce the highly commended songs in The Young Songwriter 2018 competition. Enjoy listening to them!  All finalists and highly commended entrants in the UK & Ireland will be invited to perform in our Young Songwriter 2018 showcase at Westfield, London.  The finalists are shown on our Young Songwriter 2018 competition page

In the spirit of developing the songwriting talents of young people we offer an excellent song feedback service, offering ideas on how to develop your songs.  We cover lyrics, melodies and the production/structure of your songs.

SAYS18 Highly Commended, 8-12 year category

SAYS18 Highly Commended, 13-18 year category

SAYS18 Highly Commended, International Category

Keep a watch out for the winners announcement on 14th May!

A big thank you to our wonderful SAYS18 sponsors, PRS for Music, SoundCloud, Focusrite, ICMP and Trinity College London.

 

Song Academy had the pleasure of chatting to Imelda May about what she thinks is important about songwriting.  She shared some ideas for young songwriters to help develop their talents.  What stands out during our conversation was how passionate Imelda is about the art of songwriting and the positive difference it makes to the songwriter.

Imelda believes that songwriting is an art and there’s no right or wrong way to approach writing songs.  During her songwriting journey, from her first song aged 13 to becoming one of Ireland’s most celebrated artists, she has gained a number of insights which have helped her develop and enjoy the songwriting process.

Focus on the song not the end of result

Make sure your song has strong roots and don’t worry about whether it’ll be a hit or whether people will like it.   Approach songwriting as a personal journey where you can be fully self expressed and take a stand for what’s important to you .  The beauty of songwriting is that you can write from personal experiences or what’s going on for those that are close to you. You can change the roles whenever you want.  The power of songwriting is that it’s universal and non-judgemental.  Songwriting is a wonderful way of saying something to someone when you’re uncomfortable telling them directly.  It’s also a great outlet for releasing your emotions.

Imelda writes mostly about personal experiences so she has all the fine details to craft into a song.  If she’s writing for someone else – she’ll ask many questions and do a lot of research to get the fine detail. You need to immerse yourself in what it’s like to be that person and capture exactly what what’s going on in the story of the song.  Memories can be described across all the senses that are unique to the particular person.

Enjoy the songwriting process, don’t be afraid & keep writing

Songs are important but let yourself be free writing and don’t worry about getting it ‘right’.  Learn from your mistakes – it’s a journey.  Songs will be ready at the time and then you often look back on your songs and think oh I’d change that part now.

When Roy Orbiston was asked, “What’s your best song”, he answered, “I haven’t written it yet”.  It’s important to keep being inspired to write better and better songs.

Always carry a notebook to capture ideas

Inspiration for songs can happen at anytime.  Always carry a notebook, and jot down words, sentences, poems and thoughts when they arise out of the blue.  Then when you sit down purposefully to write you have inspiration for your songs ready if needed.

Listen to as many songwriters as you can

Listen to many songwriters’ songs and read their lyrics.  See what inspires you.  Some songs have full lyrical stories, others have space for melodies/composition and lyrics are repeated.  The opening lines are crucial for getting the listener’s attention, drawing them in and making them keen to know more.  Here are a couple of Imelda’s favourite songs:

Roy Orbiston – In Dreams

The Pogues & Kirsy McColl – Fairytale of New York

Sam Cook – A Change Is Gonna Come

What two words sum up the value of songwriting?

Expression and Connection.  Through expressing yourself you connect with others and connection is so important and what makes us human & happy.

Imelda is excited about listening to our Young Songwriter 2018 competition songs!  The entry deadline is the 8th April – make sure you enter your original songs and connect to an international community of young songwriters all passionate about songwriting.

#SAYS18

Casio Music are supporting our Young Songwriter 2018 competition by donating a newly released CTX-5000 keyboard (retail price £499.99) for the new fanbase award for all 2018 SAYS competition entrants!

Great songwriters know that networking and raising their profile are hugely important for building a future in the industry. That’s why we’re offering a special Fanbase Award to the songwriter who can create a great following for their music.

To enter, all you have to do is:
Post a video of you performing part of your song you’ve entered onto Instagram
Make sure you mention us somewhere in the text (@song_academy) and add the hashtag #SAYS18
Get as many people as you can to like your video before the 8th April!

The earlier you start promoting, the better chance of getting more likes and winning the prize!

Enter your own songs into our Young Songwriter 2018 competition – entry deadline is the 8th April

In this blog post, Graham Turner from Music Gateway, an online marketplace for people in the music industry, offers some usual information to our young songwriters wanting to create a sustainable career in the music industry.

Co-writes or Cow Rights

Hmmm, now; here’s a subject I could write a book on.

“It’s like rats on a sinking ship, crawling over each other to get to the cheese.”

Most successful songwriters will tell you, the best way to improve your writing, network your way ahead, and give yourself the best chance of writing something fantastic, is to co-write.  I’d agree with that; wholeheartedly!

I’ve had some truly amazing experiences writing with other people.

I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some top top writers in LA and Nashville, had the honour of having some of my teenage hero’s playing my songs here in the UK and learned so much from some of the best producers in Scandinavia and Europe.

I’ve had songs played on Radio in most parts of the world and had a couple of songs featured in TV shows and even had one song voted by Publishers in the top 40 songs written in Nashville in 2013.

My co-writers, in the main, have been exceptionally talented, amazingly generous and fun to work with. Without exception, all of my successes have been as a result of having a clear vision about what we were writing, who it’s been aimed at and agreeing what contribution we were happy with sharing BEFORE the song was written.

On the flip side, I’ve had some people go to sleep on a couch while I write a song around their explanation of how they got their hangover that’s so painful, it’s stopped them being able to work, yet they’ve demanded 50% publishing rights of the song, afterwards.

I’ve had producers block the use of a song that they didn’t even write, because the film didn’t fit their image (even though it went on to reach number 3 in the HMV dvd charts), and after we’d offered to pull their name from the credits but still demanded we pay them their % points. It later transpired that since they produced it, they’d gone on to write with Little Mix and decided that we were no longer worthy of his lofty position.

I’ve written with Emmy award winners who were generous enough to include a so-called friend of mine in one session. It turned out to be a big mistake as my “friend” got completely competitive during the session by rudely cutting across every single line or creative suggestion made, and we had to call a halt to the session.

I’ve helped people write and re-write their lyrics for them, spending up to 20 hours researching and writing their song, only to be offered a miserly 10% share after the event.

It sometimes gets even more spiteful when a song looks like it’s going to make money. Suddenly, people start counting hours, words or notes and trying to split things out even further.

Of course, most industry decision makers are not stupid. They can see through all of this very quickly.

It’s funny really. I didn’t realise it at first, but if you stand back at a Network Event or look from afar on Social Media, you can actually see, it’s like rats on a sinking ship, crawling over each other to get to the cheese.

I often wonder why some people can’t see the bigger picture and as soon as you start arguing about this kind of stuff, two things happen.

The Good Karma in the song disappears almost immediately, and what could have been a good thing, goes with it.

You end up with 100% of nothing. (or whatever percentage you’re left with).

So what’s the moral of the Story kids?

Don’t write a single note until you’ve agreed these two rules; IN WRITING:

  • What the writers split is going to be?
  • Who is it aimed at (or more importantly – where don’t you want your song used)

Now, that’s fine when it comes to the song, but there’s also some discussions needed around production, especially nowadays when production takes up a large part of making the final sound of the song (even though it may not necessarily be part of the raw song). Of course, many producers do write and produce so it’s less of a problem discussing this but you still need to consider:

  • How are you going to pay for the production (will you do it yourselves – in which case, you still

need to discuss this as part of the writing splits conversation). If you pay for the production, you

Normally own the master recording rights, which is important, as some finished songs are released as is when you get a song placed and therefore can command a production fee to buy out the recording and potentially negotigate royalty points as well.

  • Who’s going to sing it? (do they get a share of the song if they’re contributing to the melody line, or are you going to pay them a session fee for their time?)

You’ll have your own view, but I’ve always found that the best co-writes are where everyone has equal shares, even if they only plant a seed that another party has the type of receptive and expansive mind needed to grow it.

On the flip side, the ones where competitiveness over shadows creativity or where Ego over shadows humility when dealing with the business end, can only be described as Cow rights.

Discover more about information Music Gateway and check out their Next Gen competition for singers, musicians and songwriters.  For 14-23 year olds to enter a musical instrument performance an original song, solo, ensemble or cover

We’ve 5 weeks to go until the entry deadline of The Song Academy Young Songwriter 2018 competition!  If you’re 8-18 years old and are writing your own songs enter today!

 

Enriching young people’s musical knowledge, fostering self-belief and giving opportunities to showcase their creative & musical talents & build sustainable careers in the music industry

In today’s world, being creative isn’t easy. There are so many technological distractions which can easily cut children off from the real world and encourage them to live in a game and social media world. But supposing your child had something they wanted to share but didn’t know how to express it? Or what if they were afraid that their creativity would be laughed at or frowned upon? Or they are starting a new school and have worries but feel embarrassed or unable to talk about them directly, or perhaps they’ve lost someone close or quarrelled with a friend and don’t know how to express their emotions? This is where Song Academy can come in – a place where children learn to write their own songs about whatever they like.

Music and especially songwriting is a powerful tool when it comes to expressing emotions. Songs are often written from the heart – whether joyful or sorrowful – and the very act of composing and writing lyrics and melodies can be very cathartic. Indeed the Ancient Greeks believed if you had sorrow and you wrote it down in a song for Apollo he would take away the pain! Many musicians and therapists believe that songwriting is a great way to discover and process feelings of all kinds – hope, fear, joy, sorrow, excitement, anxiety which can all be uncovered as children learn to play with words and melodies. The physical act of writing down what they are feeling can help children distance themselves from worries and fears as well as express wishes, hopes and dreams.

Song Academy is not a run-of-the-mill after school songwriting club; it is a safe, creative environment which offers children the opportunity to write out and sing their feelings, expressing themselves freely through song. They get the unique opportunity to write with others, understand how other children might be feeling, and so learn how to be sensitive towards others, as well as exposing them to a multitude of different view points and ways of life. Also, they are learning how to sing, how to perform to an audience, both individually and in a group, which helps them gain confidence whilst extending their knowledge of music theory & composition in a fun, exciting environment.

The Song Academy staff are all young enthusiastic professional songwriters and musicians who delight in helping children find their own words, melodies and voice.

For the gifted young songwriters our international Young Songwriter competition offers a unique platform to get their songs heard by key players in the music industry and stand out for their creative and musical talents.  The SAYS18 entry deadline is the 8th April.

Song Academy supports music education and is a powerful extension to the music curriculum in schools as well as the English and PSHE curriculums, through running songwriting clubs and workshops in primary & secondary schools.

At the launch of SAYS 2018, Song Academy takes a closer look at the awards, inspiration and top tips for hit songs from a selection of this year’s judging panel: Tom Odell, Guy Chambers, Imelda May, Lucie Silvas and Eg White.

TOM ODELL: SINGER-SONGWRITER

AWARDS: He won Critics Choice Brit Awards in 2013 and won the Ivor Novello Award for Songwriter of the Year in 2014.

INFLUENCES: The first album he listened to was Goodbye Yellow Brick Road by Elton John, but he also says that David Bowie, Joni Mitchell, Jackson Brown, Nick Cave, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Billy Joel and Randy Newman had a great effect on his music. He believes that there should be more to songs than being catchy, that there should be soul and depth to a song and that the listener should keep discovering something new each time they listen.

FUN FACT: In 2010 he formed a band in Brighton called Tom and the Tides, before he moved to London and became a solo act.

TOP TIPS: “I find that I write much better songs when I’m being honest, and writing about things that happen to me. It can get a little weird though, when friends or girlfriends work out that a song is about them. But it’s amazing what you can get away with it. Artistic licence, I think they call it.”

GUY CHAMBERS: SONGWRITER/PRODUCER/MUSICAL DIRECTOR

AWARDS: Best known for his collaboration with Robbie Williams, Guy Chambers was songwriter, producer and musical direction on Robbie William’s first five solo albums, ALL of which reached number 1 in the UK charts. He has also written songs with Rufus Wainwright, Katy B, Mark Ronson, Tina Turner, Kylie Minogue and many more. He has won 3 BRIT Awards, 3 Ivor Novello awards and 1 Q classic Songwriter Award.

INFLUENCES: The Beatles, Burt Bacharach, Echo & the Bunnymen, Teardrop Explodes and The Clash.

FUN FACT: He collaborated with Robbie Williams on his record Swings Both Ways in 2013, which became the 1000th number 1 album in the UK and his favourite chord is Em9.

TOP TIPS: “To any young songwriter: find someone to collaborate with who’s better at something, who covers your weak spots. Because we all have weak spots [-] but to actually write hits, I think a lot of it is being with people who are…hopefully better than you. [Also] if the chorus doesn’t hit before a minute, there’s probably a problem.”

IMELDA MAY: SINGER-SONGWRITER AND MULTI-INSTRUMENTALIST

AWARDS: She won Best Female Artist of the Year Awards in 2009 and had a number 1 album in Ireland with Mayhem in 2010, which also won Album of the Year.

INFLUENCES: Her early influences were Folk and Rock ’n’ Roll: she especially loved Buddy Holly, Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent and Billie Holiday.

FUN FACTS: At 14, she sang in an advertisement for Findus Fish Fingers and as a result she became known as ‘the fish finger girl”

TOP TIPS: “[Songwriting] is like fishing… sometimes it feels like they’re given to you in a way, but you have to be ready to catch them. If you’re fighting it and pushing it different ways, you’ll miss it. If you just open your mind a bit it tends to come to you and then [you can] rework it.”

LUCIE SILVAS: SINGER/SONGWRITER

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AWARDS: Her album Breathe In went Platinum in the UK in 2005 and in 2016 she was listed as one of the CMT Next Women of Country. Alongside being a successful solo artist touring with Elton John, Jamie Cullum, Little Big Town and Chris Stapleton, she has also written for artists such as The Saturdays, Will Young and Miranda Lambert.

INFLUENCES: She was very influenced by Ray Charles, Nat King Cole, James Taylor, Roberta Flack, Brandi Carlile, Sara Bareilles but she cites Merle Haggard as her earliest inspiration.

FUN FACTS: Born in the UK, part raised in New Zealand, now living in Nashville, TN, Lucie Silvas started playing the piano and writing songs aged 10 before going on the road as a backing singer for British singer-songwriter Judie Tzuke.

TOP TIPS: “Take more risks! When you’re young you have a naturally fearless attitude, and I would tell my [younger] self to use my instincts more and not listen to too many opinions around me. Your gut feeling is usually right…. and even if it’s not, at least you weren’t stuck in one place by being too afraid to make a decision. Oh… and don’t spend all your money (but that’s the boring advice)!”

EG WHITE: MUSICIAN/SONGWRITER/PRODUCER

AWARDS: Eg White won the 2004 Ivor Novello Award “Best Song Musically and Lyrically” for Leave Right Now and won the 2009 Ivor Novello Award for Songwriter of the Year, and in the same year was nominated for a Grammy for his work on Adele’s Chasing Pavements.

INFLUENCES: Coming from a family of classical musicians, he took up the piano at the age of four.

FUN FACTS: He started a band with his brother called Brother Beyond in the late 1980s and he wrote Chasing Pavements with Adele in two hours.

TOP TIPS: “There are two things you need: mainly persistence… and the other is flexibility. [Also] express [the sentiment of the song] strongly. A song about ambivalent feelings probably sucks”.


Aged 8-18 and written your own original songs?  Know anyone that is a talented young songwriter?  Click here for The Young Songwriter 2018 competition online entry form & latest competition news.