Express Yourself!

Now more than ever, young people need opportunities to express themselves. Song Academy has revolved around the tagline ‘Express Yourself’ since being founded 12 years ago, so writing a song called ‘Express Yourself’ felt like a good way to empower young people to speak up, express themselves, believe in themselves, connect with their generation and be part of the conversation shaping their future.

Proceeds from ‘Express Yourself’ will be donated to Young Minds, the UK’s leading charity fighting for children and young people’s mental health.  ‘Express Yourself’ is available on Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer and more!  Go and check it out!

As Fraser T Smith (Songwriter, Producer and Song Academy Young Songwriter 2021 judge) says “With so much going on in the world, it’s never been more vital for young people to be able to channel their energy and emotions into something positive, which is what The Young Songwriter competition encourages and facilitates through songwriting. Every young person has something to say, a story to tell, or a message to share – that’s why Song Academy is so important to our community.”

The lyrics and melodies of “Express Yourself’ were written by several members of the Song Academy community and fine tuned by some of the Song Academy young ambassadors and Song Academy team.

Songwriters:  From the Song Academy community: Eddie Atkins, Francesca Morison, Rosie McWilliams, Ciara Mill, Daisy Peacock, Rowan Scourfield, Judah Venable & Jonathan Young
Song Academy Young Ambassadors: Sebastian Croft, Gus Harrower, Cassa Jackson, Kevin Jones, Miriam Nyarko, Jenk Oz, Joshua Shea

Singers:  Eddie Atkins, Gus Harrower, Cassa Jackson, Francesca Morison, Rosie McWilliams, Ciara Mill, Miriam Nyarko, Daisy Peacock, Rowan Scourfield, Joshua Shea, Judah Venable, Max Elliot & Jonathan Young

Guitars, Keyboards and Programming:  Max Elliot

Guitars and Bass:  Rowan Scourfield

Additional Production, Mixing and Mastering:  Sam Cramer

 

LYRICS

EXPRESS YOURSELF

Verse 1
Speak up, you’ve got something to say
Time is passing every single day
Don’t be afraid of your reflection
Aim for growth and not perfection

Verse 2
Shout it out don’t just store it away
The stars in you could get lost in space
When you don’t know how you feel
Just know that it’s OK to reveal

Pre Chorus
It don’t matter where you come from
But it matters who you are
Don’t lose your motivation
Ain’t no better time to start…to

Chorus
Shine like a star
Show who you are yeah
Lift up your voice
So the world knows your heart and
Trust yourself to yeah
To express yourself
Don’t be defeated
Mistakes masterpieces
You’ve got the power to change what we’re seeing
Trust yourself to yeah
To express yourself

Verse 3
Don’t be shy, take pride in yourself
Don’t leave your voice lying on the shelf
They tell you lies but you know the truth
When you believe it others will too

Verse 4
Shout it out don’t just store it away
The stars in you could get lost in space
When you don’t know how you feel
Just know that it’s OK to reveal

Pre Chorus
It don’t matter where you come from
But it matters who you are
Don’t lose your motivation
Ain’t no better time to start…to

Chorus
Shine like a star
Show who you are yeah
Lift up your voice
So the world knows your heart and
Trust yourself to yeah
To express yourself
Don’t be defeated
Mistakes masterpieces
You’ve got the power to change what we’re seeing
Trust yourself to yeah
To express yourself

Rap
V1
It’s our time to rise up, the voices of change
Cause people on the streets in a fiery rage
equality, the environment, we won’t betray
Hear the change coming, coming ablaze
V2
Health threats abound, don’t let em deter
For the mission is now, no chance to defer
Think about your future, shout out and be heard
For this is our time, our power is our word
V3
Democracy challenged, all over the map
Get yourself counted, don’t let it collapse
Use your love to overshadow the hate
Hear the change coming, coming ablaze
V4
Tomorrow’s bright lights, depend on today
So stick to your causes, show others the way
The future is now, rise up and be heard
For this is our time, our power is our word

Chorus
Shine like a star
Show who you are yeah
Lift up your voice
So the world knows your heart and
Trust yourself to yeah
To express yourself
Don’t be defeated
Mistakes masterpieces
You’ve got the power to change what we’re seeing
Trust yourself to yeah
To express yourself

Shine like a star
Show who you are yeah
Lift up your voice
So the world knows your heart
Trust yourself to yeah
To express yourself

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Aged 8-18? Written your own original songs? Fancy writing your first song? Get ready to enter The Song Academy Young Songwriter 2021 competition from 1st Feb-31st Mar 2021!

New Music Alert

NEW MUSIC ALERT! Congratulations to Alex and Carina on their EP releases ‘Birthday Cake’ and ‘Spaceout!’  We’re so proud to support all of our Song Academy members as they release new music into the world.  It’s incredibly exciting but can also be scary to release new music, so we’re proud to support our members who decide to share their gift with the world!
We caught up with Alex to find out more about her songwriting and where she get’s her inspiration.

What got you into music? Did you immediately start writing or were you a fan for a bit first?  I was a big fan of Ed Sheeran growing up and I think his music was what inspired me to properly write songs as I was so in awe of how he wrote lyrics. But I think I’ve been writing bits and pieces for as long as I can remember.

Where did your inspiration come from for the songs on your EP?  I tend to find inspiration from things going on around me and stuff I’ve heard about however these songs were all pretty personal and I think that’s why I like them so much.

What’s your favourite part of the song writing process?   Probably when the main scaffolding of the song comes together and I start singing it through. It’s always really exciting to have made something from a couple of random thoughts in your head.

How do you usually start a song? How do you find that spark?   I find it a very subconscious process, I’ll often come up with lyric not really knowing what it means or anything, I just think it sounds nice, and then as the song goes on I’ll realise what I’m writing about.

How did you produce your songs?  I pretty much recorded and produced the whole thing myself on logic.

Who would be your dream artist/writer/band to collaborate with?   Definitely Cavetown, his lyrics are the coolest.

What would you say to someone aged 8-18 who is thinking about writing songs but hasn’t started yet?  Or do you have any tips for 8-18 year old songwriters who are already writing?   Don’t overthink it too much!

What do you like about Song Academy?  I’ve met some really lovely people who’ve inspired me with my own writing. It’s cool to find people who also write songs and see each others progress.

Here’s our interview with Carina on her songwriting and where she finds inspiration.

What got you into music? Did you immediately start writing or were you a fan for a bit first?  I was always a pretty quiet so I never used to be into music, but I’ve always loved to write: stories, poems etc. As I got older I grew more confident and I guess my love for writing evolved into lyrics and music production also. I find it so much easier to convey how I feel and my ideas through music rather than just prose.

Where did your inspiration come from for the songs on your EP?  The bulk of the EP was made during the pandemic – and I’d look on my phone through all these videos and voice memos when life was normal (when I went to nyc and it was raining, friends talking at parties, etc.). It really inspired me to create something out of it, especially because it’s always been a goal of mine to release some music while I’m still a teenager. I think young people have interesting stories to tell, but often don’t get the opportunity to tell them, so I’ve always wanted to challenge that.

What’s your favourite part of the song writing process? The best thing about writing for me is that I struggle quite a bit with dissociative episodes, and it really helps. Dissociation can make you feel like you aren’t real and it becomes incredibly difficult to connect with anything, but writing can counteract that. When I make music, I’m taking something from inside my head and turning it into something that exists outside of myself. That process is very grounding for me and that’s why I do it so much.

How do you usually start a song? How do you find that spark?  I guess it’s different every time, but I ususally get my initial ideas in pretty random places. I came up with the hook for ‘frontin’ when I was sitting in my school library which is funny because that does not match the vibe of the song at all. It always comes first with a little phrase that I find interesting though, like something that my friend will say in conversation or something I’ll see in an advert.

How did you produce your songs?  It took me about 10,000 years. I’m not joking. Essentially my parents have always been very supportive of me doing this, so they helped me to get everything I needed which is amazing – however they are not musical so I had to learn everything mostly on my own, with some help of a very cool producer guy called Ian who my Mum found on the internet. All my songs are written, recorded and mixed in my bedroom by me alone, which means it takes time but it’s also very special to me as well. Ian masters them for me though, which is cool.

Who would be your dream artist/writer/band to collaborate with?   See that’s an interesting question. There’s a bunch of artists who I take inspiration from for my music but I think my dream collaboration would be with someone who has a very different vibe to me, because it’d be amazing to do something outside of my comfort zone and that I couldn’t do on my own. Either this artist called Toro Y Moi who has this very unique chillwave indietronica sound that I’m obsessed with, or LAUSSE THE CAT who’s an anonymous rapper that came from Soundcloud. He makes soundscapes that tell stories, and they’re so effective.

What would you say to someone aged 8-18 who is thinking about writing songs but hasn’t started yet?  Or do you have any tips for 8-18 year old songwriters who are already writing?  There’s really not much more I can say than just be brave and do it. I was so scared to share my music for so long, so I understand what it’s like, but I am so so so beyond glad I did because it’s so rewarding. Being a young person can be difficult sometimes and having an outlet that’s entirely yours and that no one can control but you can be such an incredible thing. I’ve actually recently started to build a label and community with a bunch of my friends, because I believe young people shouldn’t have to be held back.

What do you like about Song Academy?  Song Academy is so important to me because if I hadn’t have gotten involved here, I’d probably never have pursued music like I have. Just the simple act of performing and watching my peers there perform a song once a fortnight is so motivating. It made me improve so much, because instead of writing stuff solely for me to hear, it was for 4 or 5 people to hear now. That alone is so encouraging. I want to try to build that too eventually with my label.

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Aged 8-18? Written your own original songs? Fancy writing your first song? Get ready to enter The Song Academy Young Songwriter 2021 competition from 1st Feb-31st Mar 2021!

The Young Songwriter 2020 Album is out now!

The Song Academy Young Songwriter Album 2020 is officially OUT NOW for you to enjoy! 27 tracks from this year’s competition all on one amazing compilation album. It’s available on Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer and more! Go and check it out now!⠀

Young songwriters on the album are:  Alex Carroll, Cathy Jain, Cora Harkin, Demie Bagnato, Eliza Mai, Guy Courtie, Hetta Falzon, Hugo Rankin, Jordyn Richards, Dodd-Noble, Leona Mae, Lilith Bee, Lily Criddle, Max Eastland-Park ft. Kiera Milward, Nadia Ahadi, Naomi Vosika, Pip Lewis, Rachel Dawson, Riley Stevenson, Ruby Mulholland, Sadie Mustoe, Saga Elizabeth Gregory Strand, Skye Bishop, Venice and Belle Herrera, William Massie & Zach Zbar.

This album not only gives young songwriters a unique platform to get noticed by a larger audience and educate them in the digital world of e-commerce and the dynamics of the music industry, but it also provides them with their own revenue source.

Fraser T Smith (songwriter, producer and SAYS21 judge) says “With so much going on in the world, it’s never been more vital for young people to be able to channel their energy and emotions into something positive, which is what The Young Songwriter competition encourages and facilitates through songwriting. Every young person has something to say, a story to tell, or a message to share – that’s why Song Academy is so important to our community.”

Do you know any young people who are…

  • Writing their own songs & want to get them heard?
  • Secretly writing their own songs and need a bit of encouragement to share them?
  • Creative & musical and would like to write their first song?

Then encourage them to enter The Young Songwriter 2021 competition!  We’re looking for pure, fresh songwriting talent. Songs will be judged on their originality, lyrics, melody, composition, and potential to be a smash hit! There’s no need to enter professional recordings, however a good recording can help to enhance the impact of songs.

Enter between the 1st February and 31st March 2021 for the opportunity to:

  • Get noticed by some of the best songwriters & key players in the music industry
  • Have your songs heard and stand out from the crowd
  • Record your winning song with a top producer in London
  • Win £1,000 worth of Yamaha equipment
  • Receive a professional music video & photos from the recording session
  • Win a Focusrite Scarlett Solo Gen 3 Studio Bundle
  • Perform in The Young Songwriter 2021 showcase at The Tabernacle, London
  • Get connected to our vibrant community of young songwriters

This competition will be separately judged for UK & Ireland 8-12 year olds, UK & Ireland 13-18 year olds, International 8-12 year olds and International 13-18 year olds.  More information is at www.songacademy.co.uk/says21

This year’s panel of award winning judges includes: Fraser T Smith (Stormzy, Dave, Adele, Drake, Sam Smith), Tom Odell, Chris Difford, Tom Grennan, Michelle Escoffery, Calum Scott, Hannah V, Calum Scott, Dan Gillespie Sells, Harley Sule (Rizzle Kicks), Janet Devlin, Eg White (Adele, Duffy, Take That, Pink), Sacha Skarbek (James Blunt, Miley Cyrus, Adele, Jason Mraz, Duffy), Paul Adam (Dannii Minogue, Amy MacDonald & A&R Director at Island Records), Emily Philips (Rizzle Kicks, John Newman, Maddison Beer), Miranda Cooper (Girls Aloud, Sugababes, Pet Shop Boys, Alesha Dixon), Starsmith (Ellie Goulding, Lady Gaga, Jess Glynne, Paloma Faith), Simon Aldred (Sam Smith, Rag’n’Bone Man, Avicii) and Iain Archer (Bugg, Sea Girls, Lisa Hannigan, Liam Gallagher, James Bay, Snow Patrol, Niall Horan).

Click here for more information on The Young Songwriter 2021 competition.

Click here to join our songwriting workshops in December to get your songs ready!

Summer collaboration competition

Song Academy Summer Collaboration Competition

Open for submissions – entry deadline is 24th August

We’ve had the tagline ‘Express Yourself’ since we founded Song Academy 11 years ago and we want to write a song to celebrate it! We’d like as many young people as possible to contribute to the lyrics, melodies, composition & music video, as possible. This collaborative project will be masterminded by some of the Song Academy young ambassadors. We’d love you to be part of our collaboration & have your voice heard.

Songwriting brief: Please write a song with the title ‘Express Yourself’. Song Academy is about helping every child find their voice. We believe that writing songs is a powerful way to express yourself and communicate what you’re feeling. Songwriting is good for the soul and happiness in life! We’re leaving the brief fairly open so you can be as creative as you want, but we would love for your songs to align with Song Academy’s mission, which is helping every child find their voice, supporting youth’s mental health, helping them to express themselves and championing the benefits of music! We’re looking forward to hearing your songs.

Who can enter? Anyone aged 8-18 year olds, solo or group entries welcome. It’s free to enter!

How to send us your song: Please email your submission before the 24th August to expressyourself@songacademy.co.uk, we can accept SoundCloud, Dropbox, Google Drive or WeTransfer links. You can submit in any format, whether it’s audio or video, or even just some lyrics in a text file!

Please also post your song (or a snippet of your song!) as an audio recording/video recording/music video via Instagram, Facebook, YouTube or TikTok, tagging Song Academy (Instagram and TikTok @song_academy; Facebook and YouTube @songacademyUK). Plus the hashtags #expressyourself #songacademycollaboration.

We will pick our favourite submissions and if you are successful, you’ll be invited to a Zoom call on Wednesday 2nd September, 2pm BST with some of the Song Academy young ambassadors and Song Academy team to create the finished song, along with other writers!

We’re looking forward to listening to your songs!

Who are The Song Academy Young Ambassadors?

Here’s a reminder…

Sebastian Croft

Andrea Turk

Cassa Jackson

Gus Harrower

Joshua Shea

Katie Kittermaster

Tabitha Jade

Roman Lewis

Jenk Oz

Miriam Nyarko

Natalie Shay

Kevin Jones

Ronnie Warwick

Lottie Jenkins

The Young Songwriter 2020 competition highlights

It’s only July and 2020 has already been a rollercoaster year for many of us, with all sorts of ups, downs, twists and turns. We thought it would be good to look back on the incredible past few months we’ve had at Song Academy, and all the positives that have come from not just 2020’s Young Songwriter Competition, but everything else we’ve done.

We figured the best way to do that would be with a video that sums up our last few months, we hope you enjoy it!

 

None of this would have been possible without YOU and we want to thank all of you who entered the competition, attended a songwriting club (online or in real life!), liked or commented on our posts, or told a friend about what we do. We’ve been able to build up an amazing community of Young Songwriters and we hope to keep on building it! Our mission is to help every child find their voice… we’re excited about the future. Next opportunity to get involved are our online songwriting workshops in August!

August online songwriting workshops

We’re calling creative & musical young people to join our online songwriting workshops this August! With 11 years experience developing songwriting programmes, these workshops are perfect for those wanting to write their first song or those already developing an album of original songs.  Develop your songwriting skills and collaborate with kindred spirits.

Choose from 3 types of workshops, to develop your lyric writing, melody improvising, composition and production skills:

3rd, 4th, 5th & 6th August
Group songwriting workshops (groups of 8) writing a song together over 3 hours.
– Songwriting workshops (groups of 4) writing an individual song over two days (3 hours per day).

10th, 11th, 12th & 14th August
Production/Songwriting workshops (groups of 4) getting feedback on a song you’ve already written and having help developing the production of your song over two days (3 hours per day).

Workshops are tailored for different age groups (8-10, 11-12, 13-15 & 16-18 year olds) and different levels of songwriting experience.

Please share with all the young songwriters & musicians you know.

Don’t miss out!  Book a place.

The Young Songwriter 2020 top 3 songs, International category, announcement

We’re delighted to announce the top 3 songs in The Young Songwriter 2020 competition, International category! Drum roll……..the top 3 songs in alphabetical order are:

Cloud 9 by Nadia Ahadi

Suicide Season by Jo MacKenzie

Ten by Jordyn

The winner will be announced at a special Instagram live event on Saturday 20th June from 2 – 3 pm BST.  Stay tuned to our social media channels – Instagram, Facebook  and Twitter  for latest news on special VIP guests joining us.

We caught up with Nadia, Jo and Jordyn to talk about all things songwriting!

NADIA AHADI (17 years old from Jakarta, Indonesia) 

What inspired you to write your song?  I’ve always thought about writing something about cheering people up during a tough time. Everybody goes through it, yet so little people want to talk about it. Writing a song about it will encourage people to open up and build a more supportive community.

What got you into writing songs?  From hearing my favourite artists write about things that they are deeply passionate about, I’ve always wanted to try seeing how I would express my personality through music as they have done it. I also enjoy writing poems or short stories, so I figured combining my love for writing and music would allow me to expand my creativity, especially if the songs are about things I deeply care about and would like to share without directly stating it, as I know people are going to take different interpretations of it.

What is your favourite part of the songwriting process?  When I find the right lyrics and chords that deliver the message of the song in a way that is easy to listen to and catchy as well. It was also thrilling to be able to work with my arranger and see how she envisions the song in her own way that I appreciate and enjoy. Producing a song in a studio was a new experience for me, so I learned a lot more about how the music and song itself would come together.

Describe your setup that you used to write your #SAYS20 entry, was it just a pen and paper or a fully kitted out studio?  Writing Cloud 9 was actually me first learning chords on the ukulele while typing out possible lyrics on my phone. This was all done on the floor inside my room. I had no idea why, but just sitting down on the hard wooden surface gave me reassurance that even though I was on the lowest height and position, my mind was able to wander off to the highest of heights, and I was able to focus and give myself enough pressure and drive to create without being too comfortable, which would probably happen if I was sitting on the warmth my bed.

How do you usually start a song? How do you find that spark?  It usually depends on what I feel and what state of emotions I am in, so it is sometimes difficult to find the spark. However, if there is either a high or low moment in life I would want to either remember or get out of my mind, I would write songs as a memoir or a coping mechanism for the things that happen. I would start out by either writing notes about a certain theme, how I felt, then I’d find a tune on an instrument and associate that with modified lyrics.

Who would be your dream artist/writer/band to collaborate with?It’s difficult to choose, but it would probably be Sabrina Claudio or Phum Viphurit because I’ve always enjoyed listening to all of their songs which never bore me. Since they both are artists from different genres, it would be a great opportunity to get a share of their writing or thought process when creating songs that produce varying styles but equally uplifting outcomes.

What made you enter #SAYS20? How did you hear about it?  I first heard about it from my friend (Andrea Turk) and decided to give myself a try. I’ve never been in any songwriting competitions before so I thought this would be a good experience to start off with, even if I didn’t win.

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’d say do it. Don’t be afraid and put an immense amount of pressure on yourself because that kills the joy and fun of making your song to only meet the qualities of others. Do it because you love writing and you love the experience. I would say write a song that means a lot to you, a song that contains a special message that a lot of people could take into consideration and gain appreciation for.

What do you like about the Song Academy Young Songwriter competition?  I like that this competition allows various young achieving artists around the world an opportunity to express their various styles of music, finding that each writer’s song consists of different messages that can communicate itself in various ways, inspiring others in the process as well. It’s incredibly interesting to see a wide range of cultures coming together to share their same passion for music and songwriting.

JO MACKENZIE (16 years old from Kansas City, USA)

What inspired you to write songs? When I was 8, I remember watching the Disney Channel show Austin and Ally and was so inspired to write songs. My best friend and I then wrote a bunch of songs and tried to perform them whenever we could. From there, I learned how to play piano and guitar, and also began producing with Logic and Ableton at 11. I then released my first song “C.U.R.E.” when I was fourteen and have been releasing music since.

What is your favourite part of the songwriting process?  Regarding the songwriting process, writing the production elements is one of my favorite parts of the process. Another favorite part of mine is being able to sit down and work through emotions via songwriting.

Describe your setup that you used to write your #SAYS20 entry, was it just a pen and paper or a fully kitted out studio?  For the three songs that were chosen as finalists, two were recorded in my bedroom (I Should Come With A Warning Sign and Suicide Season) while the other one (Just Like the Rain) was recorded in a studio. However, all of them were written by myself in my bedroom!

How do you usually start a song? How do you find that spark? My inspiration can come from anywhere. When I was younger, I really loved classic/soft rock n roll, such as Elton John and Billy Joel. To this day, other artists also inspire me, as well as real-life experiences and stories. It might be a cool lyric, an intense feeling, or an interesting chord progression that inspires me to write a song. The spark can come from anywhere!

Who would be your dream artist/writer/band to collaborate with?My dream collaborations would include Jack Antonoff, Ricky Reed, Jason Evigan, Taylor Swift, Lorde, and Maggie Rogers.

What made you enter #SAYS20? How did you hear about it?  I entered #SAYS20 because it seemed like a great opportunity for young songwriters to find their voice and share their creations. I found it while actually looking for songwriting competitions, and I honestly wish I had found it when I was younger, for it is really cool!

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?  If someone was thinking about entering the SAYS competition next year, I would highly encourage it! My advice would be to write a song from the heart and do your best to get a quality recording of it. However, the most important part is the songwriting and not the production/recording quality.

What do you like about The Song Academy Young Songwriter competition?  I like how the SAYS competition gives young writers a voice and place to promote and celebrate their work.

JORDYN (17 years old from Sydney, Australia)

What inspired you to write your song?  10 was inspired by the street I grew up on. I was looking at old photos and a few images really stuck out to me; little plastic cars, chalk, playing in the garden. The song took shape really quickly and I think that was because I didn’t have to create the images, they were already there in my memories and all I had to do was translate them into words.

What got you into writing songs? The first song I wrote was a present for my mum and it was about how much I love her (cliche I know, but I was 10). After that I didn’t write again until my mum pushed me to. I had hit a wall and was bored singing covers, but I didn’t know what else I could do. Without my mum pushing me to write I don’t think I would have started again, or at least not for a while, and I would not be the artist I am today.

What is your favourite part of the songwriting process?  My favourite part is the satisfaction I feel  when I finish a verse or chorus or find the perfect chord. Songwriting is a lot of trial and error and improvisation so when I find the chord or the words I’m searching for it’s the best feeling, especially if I’ve been stuck.

Describe your setup that you used to write your #SAYS20 entry, was it just a pen and paper or a fully kitted out studio?  I have a ‘music area’ in a study that I share with my dad and on the wall behind my desk I have a collage of my favourite artists and songs. I find writing in this space rather than on my bed or somewhere else helps me stay focussed and on track.

How do you usually start a song? How do you find that spark?  I usually start with chord progression that I pay on repeat and improvise over or I’ll start by listing keywords or phrases and create some rhymes to build upon. I think that having a strong foundation for a song (lyrical ideas, chords etc) is really important… I find that when a progression or a phrase sparks something in me, those songs turn out the best. I have stacks of half-written songs that I just haven’t clicked with.

Who would be your dream artist/writer/band to collaborate with?I would love the chance to write with Julia Michaels. She has had so much experience as a songwriter before she made a name for herself as an artist and has worked with so many successful artists. Getting the opportunity to learn from her would be a dream.

What made you enter #SAYS20? How did you hear about it?  My mum saw the competition on Facebook and we thought it would be a good opportunity for me to keep active since all of my gigs have been cancelled.

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 if you are thinking about doing it, just do it! There is no harm in submitting your song, especially when you have the chance to be heard by some amazing people and possibly win great prizes. It can be daunting at first, but once you enter a competition a whole new world opens up for you and you find so many more opportunities to put yourself out there.

What do you like about the Song Academy Young Songwriter competition?  I really enjoyed listening to everyones songs! In other competitions I’ve entered, I haven’t had the chance to hear other entries. I feel like hearing everyone else’s songs made it feel less like a competition but more of a community and exchange, which was really nice given the disconnection we are all experiencing at the moment.


The winner will be announced at a special Instagram live event on Saturday 20th June from 2 – 3 pm BST.  Stay tuned to our social media channels – Instagram, Facebook  and Twitter  for latest news on special VIP guests joining us.

The Young Songwriter 2020 top 3 songs, 13-18 year old UK & Ireland category announcement

We’re delighted to announce the top 3 songs in The Young Songwriter 2020 competition, 13-18 year old, UK & Ireland category! Drum roll……..the top 3 songs in alphabetical order are:

Black Heart by Kitty Dodd-Noble

Lights of the Sky by Lilith Bee

Obsession by Hetta Falzon

The winner will be announced at a special Instagram live event on Saturday 20th June from 2 – 3 pm BST.  Stay tuned to our social media channels – Instagram, Facebook  and Twitter  for latest news on special VIP guests joining us.

We caught up with Kitty, Lilith & Hetta to talk about all things songwriting!

KITTY DODD-NOBLE (17 years old from Dorking, Surrey) 

What got you into writing songs?  I got into writing when I was about 9, I use it as a therapy more than anything else really. It is a really weird feeling comparing how I physically feel after writing a song and prior. It’s like an actual physical weight has been taken out of me and I feel better.

What is your favourite part of the songwriting process?  My favourite part would definitely be writing the lyrics. I really love poetry. I also think that when I have something in my head that I need to get out, by looking at different angles of what’s going on (which I do when writing lyrics).

Describe your setup that you used to write your #SAYS20 entry, was it just a pen and paper or a fully kitted out studio?  I have a small setup in my room with a couple ROKIT 6s, an AKG 414, a komplete control midi controller and a focusrite box. So all fairly simple but does the job. I’m doing music tech A level, so each time I do something I learn more. Always learning more!

How do you usually start a song? How do you find that spark?  It’s really hard to describe. It’s a sort of body sensation. I get a lot of adrenaline and get very excited. Without this feeling I do find it hard to write a track because it’s not really real. I don’t know, the songs that I try to write are never as good as the ones I feel.

Who would be your dream artist/writer/band to collaborate with?I really love Amy Winehouse. I think her lyrics are so beautiful. She wrote with such art and such truth. I think even if you have never felt what she talks about in her songs, you still feel it with her. This is what I want to evoke in my songs too.

What made you enter #SAYS20? How did you hear about it?  I’m at Hurtwood House and my teacher sent an email round. But also… I went to Sauveterre with Rowena’s daughter so that’s where I heard about it originally.

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 mean, why not? Got nothing to lose, you can only gain something. I think everything you do in music (and in life I guess) is a learning curve. There’s always more to learn. So if you get the opportunity then why not?

What do you like about the Song Academy Young Songwriter competition?  I think it’s great. It gives young people a place to put their music up and get some professional feedback.

LILITH BEE (15 years old from Surbiton, Kingston-Upon-Thames, London)

What inspired you to write your song?  The song is inspired by emotions and how quickly they can change seemingly randomly and without any warning. The lyrics of the song are made to juxtapose each other to show this exact change.

What got you into writing songs?  I got into writing songs from the peace I found in listening to music. Because I enjoyed listening to music so much I decided I’d like to create some of my own.

What is your favourite part of the songwriting process?  My favourite part of the writing process is refining the piece through harmonies.

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 writing any song, initially it all starts with a few chords and something to record my ideas . Once the song is fully established in terms of the melody and chords, we record the final version in a professional studio.

How do you usually start a song? How do you find that spark?  Any song idea will come when either making up a chord sequence or just randomly to mind. (Truthfully most of them are “singing in the shower” songs at heart).

Who would be your dream artist/writer/band to collaborate with?My dream artist to collaborate with would be the Argentinian band SIAMES as their songs are my favourites to listen to.

What made you enter #SAYS20? How did you hear about it?  I find it interesting to see what other people think of my songs and if they are really any good at all. The best way to determine this is through competitions. ( and who doesn’t want to seek a little closure).

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?  Advice I would give is to write the song that YOU want to write. Write something that you will enjoy listening to and writing.

What do you like about the Song Academy Young Songwriter competition?  What I like about the competition is that it doesn’t focus so much on how great you are as a singer ( as I know there are better singers out there than me) but rather your skills in actually writing something original and unique.

HETTA FALZON (15 years old from Wells, Somerset)

What inspired you to write your song?  Obsession was inspired by previous songs I had written, the majority of which were about heartbreak. I wanted to write a prequel to those songs. I realised for your heart to be broken so deeply you must have loved been loved just as deeply, and Obsession explores this lovely side of love. The focal idea in the song is opening up to somebody because something that in that past had been so often just lustful might even be love.

What got you into writing songs?  I had grown up surrounded by music. When my dad left, songwriting became an outlet for me to rationalise the situation. Songwriting helps me understand not only myself but those around me with various perspectives.

What is your favourite part of the songwriting process?  I love writing lyrics because in the lyrics is the message and in the message is the raw emotion. If you strip back a song to only the lyrics it should still be powerful. I also think my favourite part of the process is finding that one moment in the song where everything falls into place and from there the rest comes naturally.

Describe your setup that you used to write your #SAYS20 entry, was it just a pen and paper or a fully kitted out studio?  I sit at the piano and I mess about. If I find something I like then I’ll record it onto my phone. It’s all very simple and low-tech but it means I really focus on the song rather than the production.

How do you usually start a song? How do you find that spark?  I can never write a song by deciding to sit down and write a song. Usually I am inspired by things I see or hear outside of my house and I immediately record these ideas into my phone. I will then sit at the piano later on and play around, developing these ideas.

Who would be your dream artist/writer/band to collaborate with?I’m a sucker for effective lyrics. To collaborate with Dermot Kennedy would be insane, his music definitely influences my songwriting. In his music the instrumentation takes a back seat and exposes his lyrics. Similarly, most of the songs I write are acoustic as I feel the focal point should be the text.

What made you enter #SAYS20? How did you hear about it?  I discovered Song Academy when searching for courses for young songwriters and for the past few years I have followed the Song Academy competitions however not taken part as I had little confidence in my songwriting, however this year with recommendations from school, I decided to give it a shot.

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?  It is impossible to write a song that everyone will like. I spent a long time trying and I realised it doesn’t matter what other people think of my music because I write it for me, and if somebody happens to like it too then that’s cool but if they don’t it doesn’t mean it’s a bad song. If I had any advice it would be to write the song that you’d want to listen to. If others do too then that’s just a bonus.

What do you like about the Song Academy Young Songwriter competition?  It gives so many more people opportunities because you don’t need to have an incredible voice or  be a great producer or have expensive equipment. It’s about the song. You just have to be musical.


The winner will be announced at a special Instagram live event on Saturday 20th June from 2 – 3 pm BST.  Stay tuned to our social media channels – Instagram, Facebook  and Twitter  for latest news on special VIP guests joining us.

The Young Songwriter 2020 top 3 songs 8-12 year old UK & Ireland category annoucement

We’re delighted to announce the top 3 songs in The Young Songwriter 2020 competition, 8-12 year UK & Ireland category! Drum roll……..the top 3 songs in alphabetical order are:

A place to play by Skye Bishop

No Place by William Massie

Triple Threat by Riley Stevenson.

The winner will be announced at a special Instagram live event on Saturday 20th June from 2 – 3 pm BST.  Stay tuned to our social media channels – Instagram, Facebook  and Twitter  for latest news on special VIP guests joining us.

We caught up with Skye, William and Riley to talk about all things songwriting!

SKYE BISHOP (11 years old from Kensington, London) 

What inspired you to write your song?  Watching David Attenborough’s amazing documentaries, and learning about climate change at school.

What got you into writing songs?  I’ve been writing songs since I was 8. I enjoy making things rhyme and try to create new melodies and sounds in my head. I love messing around at my piano.

What is your favourite part of the song writing process?  Recording the song and being in the studio. I make a lot of last minute changes when I start recording it.

Describe your setup that you used to write your #SAYS20 entry, was it just a pen and paper or a fully kitted out studio?  I just wrote it with a pen and scrappy piece of paper during lunch at home. I had the idea during my music lesson on a Sunday morning and came home and immediately started writing it.

How do you usually start a song? How do you find that spark?  I usually start with an idea – a theme, something personal to me and then I try and tell a story about it and then work to make the lyrics work together. Then I start singing the different lines over and over again until it sounds right.

Who would be your dream artist/writer/band to collaborate with?Taylor Swift

What made you enter #SAYS20? How did you hear about it?  I love Song academy – I have entered it for the last three years.

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?  Give it a go!  The great thing about song writing is that there is no right or wrong.

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 Alice Maxwell’s song ‘Dreams’.

What do you like about the Song Academy Young Songwriter competition?  I love the whole thing. It makes my Easter holidays really exciting and I love how it gives people my age the opportunity to be heard.

WILLIAM MASSIE (12 years old from Teddington, London)

What inspired you to write your song?  I’d been noticing a lot on the news about refugees and children being forced to leave their homes and I started to imagine how devastating it must be and how they must be so brave to get through it. I decided to write a song about the issue, to honour these families, as there is no place like home.

What got you into writing songs?   My Mum says I was born singing. I started playing the piano when I was around 6, but I wasn’t keen on reading and following the music that my teacher would give me, so I started writing my own music and coming up with my own songs.

What is your favourite part of the songwriting process?  I know it sounds cliche, but I love the whole thing. I love the feeling when you come up with a lyric in the middle of the night, the feeling when you play what could be the chord sequence to your next song, and the smile on my face when I finish writing and rush downstairs to play it to my family for the first time.

Describe your setup that you used to write your #SAYS20 entry, was it just a pen and paper or a fully kitted out studio?  To write ‘No Place’ I used a pen and paper (a lot of post-it notes lying all over my bedroom!) and my keyboard.  I then used my laptop to record and mix it.

How do you usually start a song? How do you find that spark? Normally when I start to write a song it’s either me thinking of a lyric in bed at midnight, or recording a melody on my phone in the park. Sometimes it’s when I’m reading about worldwide issues in geography, R.S. or on the news etc.

Who would be your dream artist/writer/band to collaborate with?  If I could collaborate with any artist it would be sooooo hard to choose, but I’d probably go for Oak Felder. Oak Felder is a songwriter and pop record producer and has been nominated and won grammy awards. He likes to make his music just using a laptop and basic recording equipment.

What made you enter #SAYS20? How did you hear about it?  I entered last year when I saw an ad in the Stagecoach magazine. I loved the experience and was so keen to enter again this year. Its a great focus especially right now in lockdown!

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?  For someone entering the competition for the first time, I would tell them that if they ever think of a lyric, or a melody, or a riff, don’t wait until later to write it down or record it in music memos. Do it then. Do it in THE moment. There have been so many times where I’ve thought of something, not written it down, and then forgotten it. And it kills me to know that that idea could have been my best song yet, and that I’m never going to be able to use it. There is no time that’s not a time for writing music.

What do you like about the Song Academy Young Songwriter competition?  What I like about the Song Academy Young Songwriter competition is how it brings like-minded people together and how it allows us to share our music with others and get feedback on it and find ways to improve our music next time we write a song.

RILEY STEVENSON (11 years old from Fulham, London)

What inspired you to write your song?  I’ve always wanted to be a triple threat!

What got you into writing songs?  I loved singing so I wanted to try writing my emotions on paper

What is your favourite part of the songwriting process?  My favourite part of the songwriting progress is writing the chorus because it’s normally catchy and more fun to write because it’s the main message.

Describe your setup that you used to write your #SAYS20 entry, was it just a pen and paper or a fully kitted out studio?  My Setup was just a pen and paper and a guitar.

How do you usually start a song? How do you find that spark?  I normally get started by thinking of the topic and then normally I have loads of ideas in my head about the melody and lyrics

Who would be your dream artist/writer/band to collaborate with? My dream artist to collaborate with would be Grace Vanderwaal.  I love the music she creates with her ukulele.

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?  Just go for it and give it a shot you never know!  Write on what you have a lot in common with.

What do you like about the Song Academy Young Songwriter competition?  I like that you can express yourself and it’s for all ages.

The winner will be announced at a special Instagram live event on Saturday 20th June from 2 – 3 pm BST.  Stay tuned to our social media channels – Instagram, Facebook  and Twitter  for latest news on special VIP guests joining us.


The winner will be announced at a special Instagram live event on Saturday 20th June from 2 – 3 pm BST.  Stay tuned to our social media channels – Instagram, Facebook  and Twitter  for latest news on special VIP guests joining us.

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