We’re thrilled that Joshua Shea has joined our Young Ambassadors Board.  He’s a talented songwriter and musician as well as a brilliant actor – you may have seen him as Young Newt in Fantastic Beasts!  We caught up recently with Joshua to talk about all things songwriting!

What is your favourite part of the songwriting process?  One of the areas I find the most enjoyable is producing in Logic. Once writing the song, I think it’s incredibly satisfying to produce and record an idea, and experiment with modern technology to bring the idea to life.

How do you usually start a song? How do you find that spark?  At the moment, I try to start with a theme that I would like to write about. This tends to be something personal to me, or something I feel compelled to write about. Then inspiration comes in many different ways. Sometimes it’s a melody. I tend to improvise on the piano and see what happens!

What achievement are you most proud of?  Playing Young Newt in Fantastic Beasts was an incredible experience and I learnt huge amounts about the acting industry.  I also had the chance to be a supporting artist to Olly Murs at ‘Big Gig in the Park’ in Jersey, that was very exciting!

Which of your songs do you think is your best work and why?  I have an unreleased project which I am currently working on – I feel like I have progressed and developed my own style as a musician in the last year, and am excited to share that with everyone very soon!

Who would be your dream artist/writer/band to collaborate with?  I would love to work with Sufjan Stevens as I think his music is so unique and atmospheric. I think it combines mainstream and experimental in a really interesting way.

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 constantly learning and developing, I’m hoping to write more music and collaborate in the next few months, especially whilst having some more free time!

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 be too self critical. I find my best ideas come when I’m not too precious and just experiment.
Just have a go and don’t be discouraged if you feel uninspired. I think that’s part of the process. Record the idea onto voice memo’s and come back to it the next day. See if your perspective has changed!

Favourites round! Don’t think about it, just say what first comes to mind. Who/what is your favourite:

Artist?  Francisco Goya

Songwriter?  FINNEAS

Song?  Ithaca by Beatenburg

Album?  Geography by Tom Misch

Chord?  A minor dominant 7 + flattened 6th

Gig you’ve been to?  Any of my mum’s gig’s!

Lyric?
She’s ocean wide, canyon deep
From open eyes to twilight sleep
-Jacob Collier

Genre?  Experimental

Catchphrase?  ‘Here’s looking at you kid’ – Casablanca

Fruit?  Mango

What’s your instrument of choice? Is there an instrument you would like to learn?  Piano all the way – I would like to learn the guitar!

Do you have any hidden talents or party tricks?  I spent a lot of my childhood learning fancy ways of shuffling a deck of cards!

What are you non-musical hobbies?  Acting, Filmmaking, Dancing, I’m quite enjoying cooking and baking at the moment!

What do you think matters most to 8-18 year olds?  That’s a really hard question. I found music and acting a great way to express myself, but having a supportive network of friends and family is just as important!

What do you like about Song Academy?  I like the way Song Academy encourages young people to share their music and ideas with each other and get the chance to get their music out there.
It bridges an incredible gateway for aspiring artists looking to enter into the music profession.