We’re super excited that Gus Harrower has joined our Young Ambassadors Board. Gus is a brilliant singer songwriter from Scotland and won The Young Songwriter 2016 competition and has gone on from strength to strength.
What got you into music? Did you immediately start writing it or were you a fan for a bit first? I used to be involved with musical theatre so I was always into performing and was especially interested in the music side. I’ve also been playing piano from an early age but didn’t start actually writing music until I was around 13/14. I had my first gig but was going to be performing a set full of covers so wanted an original song in there too.
What is your favourite part of the songwriting process? I can take ages to write a song. Ideas that I had months ago will reappear in my voice memos or pop back into my head at random times but my favourite part of the writing process is when you can see a song, or these ideas become a bigger thing. Its like when you’re baking a cake and you start with the mixture but it doesn’t really look like a cake until it’s baked and all it needs is decorated. If that even makes sense.
How do you usually start a song? How do you find that spark? It can start in different ways. Sometimes it starts with a lyric (with or without music) or sometimes with a chord structure. It can really depend. I’ll occasionally start a song with a title too, that can be fun. For me, I don’t think I know a song is good until it’s all finished and I can hear it in it’s entirety.
What achievement are you most proud of? I’m proud of getting recognised for my songwriting. Of course, winning the Song Academy Young Songwriter competition back in 2016 was incredible and getting to perform my song at Wembley Arena was mental and something I won’t forget. Recently, I was a finalist in BBC Radio Scotlands singer/songwriter award which was also a fantastic experience.
Which of your songs do you think is your best work and why? Ooh this is a tough one. One of my favourite songs of mine is one called ‘Where We Were’ and I just think lyrically its the strongest. I released that on a self-produced EP a couple of years ago alongside a track called ‘Rosie’ which again is a song close to my heart.
Who would be your dream artist/writer/band to collaborate with? Gary Barlow
Do you feel like you’ve mastered your craft or are you still learning? If you’re still learning, what’s your next milestone? I’m always learning! Even by listening to new music, going to see a gig etc. all of that plays into what you write and if I was to say ‘I have mastered it’ I’d be so wrong. And I’d hope someone would tell me that!
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? Songwriting is just like writing a poem or a story. There’s no right way to do it so don’t be scared to dive in and get started. And to be people already writing, I think the most important thing is to be honest, to yourself and to the music. For a while I tried to force music onto a page and I didn’t get anywhere with it.
Favourites round! Don’t think about it, just say what first comes to mind. Who/what is your favourite:
Artist? Bon Iver
Songwriter? Justin Currie
Song? Vincent by Don McLean.
Album? 22, A Million
Chord? Anything with a major 7th and added 9th.
Gig you’ve been to? Take That
Lyric? “Tell her something in my heart. Needs her more than even clowns need the laughter of the crowd” from Tell Her This by Del Amitri
Catchphrase? “S’all Good man”
What’s your instrument of choice? Is there an instrument you would like to learn? I want to learn the drums.
Do you have any hidden talents or party tricks? I can make a snake with my hands. Not that impressive.
What are you non-musical hobbies? I like watching films, playing video games, and I went bouldering once so I’ll class that as a hobby!
What do you think matters most to 8-18 year olds? Being happy, creative and confident.
What do you like about Song Academy? It’s a unique platform to showcase young songwriters and gives them a chance to meet and collaborate with other musicians.
Aged 8-18? Written your own original songs?
Then enter The Young Songwriter 2020 competition before the 31st March 2020!