We’re delighted that Natalie Shay has joined our Young Ambassador Board.  Natalie is a super talented songwriter whose songs have had significant radio play.  We caught up with Natalie recently to talk about all things songwriting!

What got you into music? Did you immediately start writing it or were you a fan for a bit first?  Started playing classical guitar aged 5 and started musical theatre around the same time so I’ve always kinda been part of it. When I was 10 or 11 I got my first acoustic guitar and started writing songs around the same time (they were bad). Did this for a bit until I started playing shows aged 13, been doing it ever since.

What is your favourite part of the songwriting process?  Once I have the melody and it’s time to lyric it. Writing lyrics is such a big healer and outlet for me, a song gets its stamp from the lyrics so I love that part.

How do you usually start a song? How do you find that spark?  On my own usually just because I feel inspired by an emotion or am feeling sad. When I’m in sessions it’s normally formed around what I’m wanting to document through song and what kinda flavours the other person / people in the session are feeling.

What achievement are you most proud of?  Being on the Eurovision UK jury in 2018.

Which of your songs do you think is your best work and why?  I think my song ‘yesterday’. It was an independent release and I will always be proud of how it did. I really liked the song but obviously had no idea what kind of response it would get. It premiered on billboard and secured spots on 9 new music Friday playlists including the uk.

Who would be your dream artist/writer/band to collaborate with?  Gary Lightbody from Snow Patrol.

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 feel like you’re always learning. But I feel like for now as 21 year old shay I’ve established my brand for where I’m at now. Who knows where things will go.

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?  Get writing. There’s nothing to lose. It’s a great way to document your life and development as a person. Even if you never share the songs they will always be special and important to you.

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

Artist? Little Comets (band)

Songwriter? Taylor Swift

Song? Summer Girl – Haim

Album? Fearless – Taylor Swift

Chord? E ( if u listen to my songs, this becomes apparent)

Gig you’ve been to? Little Comets in Brighton

Lyric? The lyrics to ‘ the blur the line and the thickest of onions’ by Little Comets.

Genre? Indie pop

Catchphrase? If my grandmother had wheels she would’ve been a bike

Fruit? Mango

What’s your instrument of choice? Is there an instrument you would like to learn?  Guitar

Do you have any hidden talents or party tricks?  I know full film scripts

What are you non-musical hobbies?  Does musical theatre count

What do you think matters most to 8-18 year olds?  Experience

What do you like about Song Academy?  It’s cooler than coool