Young Songwriter 2016



Buy our Young Songwriter 2016 Compilation Album on iTunes.

We’re delighted to announce our Young Songwriter 2016 winners and runners up!

7-12 year category
Winner – Superhuman by Sam Hancock, 11 years old from Sale, Manchester
1st Runner Up – Promises by Erin Jordan, 11 years old from Warrington, Cheshire
2nd Runner Up – Daisy Chains by Ameya Kohli, 12 years old from Ascot, Berkshire

13-18 year category
Winner – Wanderin’ Man by Gus Harrower, 17 years old from Edinburgh
1st Runner Up – Lighter by Roman Lewis, 15 years old from Chelsea, London
2nd Runner Up – Illusions by Emi McDade, 18 years old from Highnam, Gloucestershire

Believe by Sophie ” I believe!! it’s very accomplished.”  Tom Odell; “Meaningful message and good chorus” Rumer;
Hey Hey by Ben ” Yeah! what an energy.. keep writing!” Tom Odell;  “I really like the common conversational touch in the lyrics and the fact that I can feel someone communicating in a lively way with me.” Eg White;  “This is a boy in love with his guitar! I get the sense that the songs just flow out of him …   big career ahead” Jamie Theakston
Kiss Your Old Life Away by Lottie ” Love the Elton vibe! Chorus went somewhere unexpected which was great!” Tom Odell;  “I like this and the spiritual imagery. It’s very unusual.” Rumer;  “Love the sentiment here …. Well done Lottie” Jamie Theakston
Superhuman by Sam ” Something wonderful about this. There is a great natural flow to this song. Feels effortless but always keeping your attention. There is a very innocent dream like feel to the lyric, which keeps you listening.” Tom Odell; “Empowering message.  Talented boy!” Rumer; “Great, imaginative lyric” Guy Fletcher
Depression by Max ” This is very deep for some one so young. I really like it. It has a very Nick Drake feel to it.” Tom Odell; ” Love this, Marvin Gaye vibes.. And I like the message and am very impressed that he created this demo by himself.”  Rumer
Promises by Erin ” Heart breaking! This is really strong. Simple and moving.  Good middle 8 as well.” Tom Odell;  ” Very catchy song, great melody. Simple idea, but very effective!”  Rumer; “Strong lyrical hook” James Walsh
Daisy Chains by Ameya ” I like the lyric a lot. Feels accomplished.” Tom Odell; ” A really strong idea, and fun! Clever use of language. Very impressive!” Rumer;  “breezy, bright, accomplished … couldn’t help but sing along!” Jamie Theakston
Beautiful by Daisy ” Wonderfully beautiful. Love her voice . Well done Daisy!” Tom Odell;  “I love the way Daisy makes me feel like she’s just broken free and is singing at the top of the mountain with arms wide open! Great playing and singing!”  Tim Laws; “Just beautiful … loved the lyrics of the chorus” Jamie Theakston
Lunchroom Rendez Vous by Cenk ” Youthful – very fun!”  Tom Odell; ” What a charming song! I like the honesty in the song. So cute.” Rumer; “A shot in the arm from Cenk -… what a performer” Jamie Theakston
Questions by Eddie ” This is insane!!!! I love it. He sounds like Joe Strummer! Lyrics are genius” Tom Odell; ” I love this kid! Great song, sooooo charming. Superfun.” Rumer;  ” I love the lyrics  – ‘Questions whizzing round my head, can’t get them out, despite all I’ve read’! Genius!!! Really great stuff and Eddie shows real potential.” Tim Laws; ” This really felt like the authentic voice of an 8 yr old …… I expect big things to come from our youngest finalist!” Jamie Theakston

Wanderin’ Man by Gus ” Uplifting. It’s good!” Tom Odell; ” This young man is very promising.” Rumer;  ” Well done Gus – loved this song” Jamie Theakston; “Great song with exciting chorus. Good sense of lyric and timing and well performed.” Guy Fletcher; ” Nice stuff. Good lyrics. Newton Faulkner with a bit of Jack Johnson’s playfulness.” James Walsh
What are we fighting for by Natalie ” Very moving. I believe it. Great work.” Tom Odell; “Just brilliant” Jamie Theakston;
Illusions by Emi “Interesting chords & piano”  Tom Odell; “Great song, dreamy voice and production. Very impressive!” Rumer; “Beautiful song – beautiful voice”  Jamie Theakston
Lighter by Roman ” Great voice. Crazy he’s 15. I like it a lot. There is a unique lyric here, keep writing, could be huge!” Tom Odell;  “Very promising talent.” Rumer; ” Very accomplished – love the George Ezra vibe” Jamie Theakston
Coming Home by Sam ” Amazing musicality. Full of depth. I love it. ” Tom Odell
To My Head by Fintan ” I like it. Reminds me of sort of MIA lorde vibe. Insightful lyrics.” Tom Odell; ” Love the dark, menacing vibe. Amazing work for a 13 year old.” Tim Laws; ” Original, catchy. I found myself singing along to it” Jamie Theakston
Everything to Lose by India “Amazing voice and interesting lyric. I like it.” Tom Odell; “I did like the gambling the chips on his shoulder line” Eg White; “Loved it lyrically” Jamie Theakston
Can’t Buy Forgiveness by Jonty & Cassie ” Pretty impressive”  Tom Odell; ” Felt very contemporary – loved the girl power vibe”  Jamie Theakston; ” Jonty is on point with his production here and Cassie delivers a superb top line. A superb collaboration!” Tim Laws
Switch Up by Josh ” I think it sounds like a future hit!” Tom Odell; ” Very professional – loved this” Jamie Theakston; ” Josh has a great voice and has written a great lyric and melody and has delivered his vocal in a very professional way. Excellent stuff.” Tim Laws
Sweet Dreams by Charlie “Big uplifting chorus.”  Tom Odell; “Charlie delivers her vocal beautifully. I like the twist on the lyric at the end of the chorus.”  Tim Laws; “Nice song idea, with a strong chorus.”  Rumer

Press Release – Song Academy Young Songwriter 2016 Top Ten Finalists Announced

Song Academy Logo for Media

Congratulations to the highly commended entrants.

7-12 year category
Just Stop It, Harrison – United by Evelyn, Leah, Erin and Amelia – Running Free, Alex – Someday, Silvia – Patience, Nicole – Secrets, Theo – Come On, Zoe – Bad Boy, Alex – Friendship, Lily – Stilts, Ben

13-18 year category
You Say, Annie – No Apology, Tom – Unrequitedly, Melanie – Two Cigarettes, Ralph – Rewind, Ella – Canvas, Camellia – Breathe, Elidh – Walk Away, Bronwyn – Jumping From Swings, Maisie Katie – Wire, Clara – Wrong Place, Oscar – Cappuccino, Oscar – Stay Away, Gilska – Skeleton Dreams, Georgie – Look Back And Smile, Charlie

Our 2016 Young Songwriter showcase was held at Westfield London on Sunday 12th June. Winners, finalists and selected high commended entrants & Song Academy members performed.

Have you got what it takes to be a 2017 Young Songwriter finalist?


  • Record your winning song at a London recording studio with a top producer

  • A Yamaha Reface Concept Keyboard

  • A Farida Guitar

  • 4 tickets to Beautiful – The Carole King Musical in London

  • Winners and finalists will perform at Westfield London in our Young Songwriter 2016 showcase


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.

Myles KellerPRS for Music

Young songwriters are the future of music. A great song will always stand the test of time far beyond our years. I think this competition is important because every songwriter I’ve worked with was always waiting to be discovered.

Naughty Boy

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.

Tom Odell


Our judging panel comprises of a cherry-picked range of influential songwriters and music producers, including Tom Odell, Rumer, Eg White, Fraser T Smith, Guy Fletcher, Lou Rhodes, Jamie Theakston, James Walsh, Josh Record, Diane Young and Nigel Wright. All 2016 judges are shown below.

Performers @WestfieldLondon, 12 June

7-12 year old finalists

13-18 year old finalists


Ultimately we are offered a life changing experience with the Song Academy Young Songwriter competition every year.

Gilska, 2015 Finalist

Being a self confessed bedroom musician the Young Songwriter competition has given me the opportunity to take my songs into the real world.

Laura, 2015 Finalist

Not only do professionals hear my music, but there’s also a lot I can learn from the other young songwriters around me.

Bella, 2015 Finalist

It encourages young people to believe in themselves.

Roman, 2015 Finalist

I like how it is focused on songwriting and not particularly vocal or instrumental talent, especially in this day and age, where that’s a critical factor for success. But if you can write a hit, it’s arguably more impressive than if you can sing one, and I think this competition shows that.

Sam, 2015 Finalist


7-12 year olds

13-18 year olds



Eg White

Eg White

Grammy award winning songwriter and producer and musician

Eg is primarily known for his work with successful commercial pop acts such as Adele, Florence and the Machine, Tom Odell, Sam Smith, Will Young, James Morrison, Pink, Maverick Sabre and Rebecca Ferguson.

Fraser T Smith

Fraser T Smith

Grammy award winning songwriter, producer and mixer

Based in London, Fraser has worked with a diverse range of artists including Adele, CeeLo Green, Ellie Goulding, Birdy, Sam Smith, Example, Rita Ora, Taio Cruz, Quadron, The Kaiser Chiefs, Britney Spears, James Morrison and Keane.

Tom Odell

Tom Odell

If there’s a certain youthful diffidence surrounding the remarkable Tom Odell it’s tempered with a sense of self-awareness, which totally belies his mere 23 years on this planet.

In October 2012 Tom Odell released his debut EP ‘Songs From Another Love’, the title track of which helped lead Odell to make his debut TV performance a mere month later on Later…with Jools Holland. Following a flurry of mass critical acclaim Tom was swiftly nominated in the BBC Sound Of and MTV Brand New polls, and in February 2013 was presented with the prestigious BRIT Critics’ Choice award.

Released in June 2013, ‘Long Way Down’ shot straight to number 1. In 2014, Tom won a prestigious Ivor Novello as Songwriter of the Year. Odell was nominated for two BRIT Awards in February 2014 for British Male Solo Artist and Breakthrough Act.



Rumer’s new album Into Colour continues a personal journey which has already seen the Anglo-Pakistani singer and songwriter go from a variety of service jobs and a decade on the unsigned circuit to one of the more surprising crossovers in recent times. Her debut album, ‘Seasons Of My Soul’, was released via Atlantic Records to commercial and critical acclaim in November 2010. It has since sold over million copies, been nominated for two Brit Awards (Best British Female, Best British Breakthrough Act), and earned Rumer the much-coveted Mojo Award for Breakthrough Act. The impact of such sudden success culminated around the release of ‘Boys Don’t Cry’, 2012’s eclectic and impassioned covers record based on male songwriters from the 70’s. In conjunction with a well-documented struggle with Bipolar Disorder, the album still reached #3 in the UK charts, formed many unexpected relationships with the legends she covered, and perform at The White House for President Obama.

Co-produced by Rob Shirakbari, Into Colour is the same Rumer you first fell for, but in a mood you may have not heard her in previously. Musically, it’s more upbeat and sensual, expanding the Technicolour Bacharach sound to further incorporate elements of Philly grooves, Soul, and on the thrilling, once-bitten-twice-shy rush of first single and UK airplay hit ‘Dangerous’, even Disco. Yet the tensions that gave depth to ‘Seasons Of My Soul’ linger. ‘Dangerous’ is in fact about Rumer’s fear of re-entering music, where “I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to break through it until I literally wrote a song about the resistance itself. This is the journey from where Rumer was – lonely, burnt out and lost – to where she is now. That same voice you fell for on breakthrough hit ‘Slow’ but cast, for the first time, Into Colour.

Guy Fletcher OBE

Guy Fletcher OBE

Guy Fletcher is Chairman of PRS and has been a respected songwriter since the sixties. Recordings of his songs by Elvis Presley, Cliff Richard, Ray Charles, Frankie Valli, Joe Cocker and many other international stars have ensured Guy’s place in British pop history.

Working with lyricist Doug Flett Guy has had a long list of international successes including “Wonderful World” recorded by Elvis Presley for his 1970 movie “Live A Little Love A Little”. Elvis recorded two more of Guy’s songs. Cliff Richard recorded eleven of Guy and Doug’s songs including “Sing a Song of Freedom”, “Power to All Our Friends”, “With the Eyes of a Child” and “Baby You’re Dynamite”. Guy has enjoyed many more international hits by Joe Cocker, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons (his ballad “Fallen Angel” is currently in the Broadway hit show “Jersey Boys”), Helen Reddy, Louise Mandrell, Tom Jones, Ray Charles and many more.

Guy was a founding director of British Music Rights Ltd and was also, for more than a decade, the Chairman of The British Academy of Composers and Songwriters where he led many campaigns against the erosion of composers’ rights. He continues to be a highly respected voice internationally in the struggle for the maintenance of the value of our copyrights and tirelessly champions the cause of the creator in all industry matters. He was honoured with an OBE for services to British music in the Queen’s birthday honours list in 2005.

James Walsh

James Walsh

After almost a decade with his enormous yet somehow tender, fragile voice fronting multi-million selling band Starsailor, James Walsh has emerged as a singer-songwriter in his own right, with the arrival of his debut solo album, TURNING POINT.

He’s written songs with Eliza Doolittle, Melanie C, Suzanne Vega and collaborated with songwriter/producer Sacha Skarbek in the album ‘Lullaby’.

TURNING POINT was recorded last autumn at Genesis’ legendary Fisher Lane Studios and produced by Harry Rutherford. The songs are inspired by his love of music including, vocally, Van Morrison and Dion, and musically Bruce Springsteen, as well as such stories as that of eccentric explorer Richard Burton.

Nigel Wright

Nigel Wright

Nigel’s career as music producer, orchestrator and songwriter has scored five Number one singles, 31 Top 20 singles and a string of platinum albums with recording artists as diverse as Madonna, Shakatak, Mezzoforte, Barbra Streisand, Boyzone, Sonia, Take That, Sinitta, José Carreras, Robson & Jerome, Michael Ball, Sarah Brightman, Cliff Richard, Connie Fisher, Paul Potts, Andy Abraham and Ray Quinn.

Nigel’s career in theatre and film include serving as the music producer for Andrew Lloyd Webber, in a successful partnership.

Jamie Scott

Jamie Scott

Jamie is an extremely successful British singer, songwriter and producer. His latest single ‘Unbreakable’ has had rave reviews. Jamie has had major success as a song writer with many artists and is one of the main collaborators with One Direction, including singles "Story of My Life", "Night Changes", "You & I", "Midnight Memories" and "More Than This".

Jamie Theakston

Jamie Theakston

An established TV and Radio presenter and actor, Jamie Theakston has become a household name in Britain thanks to roles on mainstream terrestrial shows such as Live and Kicking, Top of the Pops and more recently, through his regular work on Heart FM’s weekday morning slot with co-presenter Emma Bunton.

Josh Record

Josh Record

Josh record is an exceptional British singer-songwriter. His first release in 2012 made it to number 2 in the Singer Songwriter charts on iTunes in the UK. The lead track "For Your Love" was heralded by everyone from Steve Lamacq to Zane Lowe to The Sunday Times who said "His keening falsetto invites comparisons to Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon. His next self produced EP "The War" received critical acclaim and Zane Lowe made the title track his "Hottest Record of 2013" on BBC Radio 1, as well as live performances on BBC Radio 2, and BBC Radio 6 Music. His EP "Bones", that has been play listed on BBC Radio 1. In March 2014, Josh Record re-released "For Your Love" on Virgin Records. Zane Lowe of BBC Radio 1 made it his "Hottest Record in The World".

Lou Rhodes

Lou Rhodes

Lou is an English singer and songwriter from Manchester, now living in Wiltshire. In addition to providing vocals and lyrics for the band Lamb, Rhodes has released three solo albums: Beloved One, Bloom and One Good Thing.

Lou Rhodes is also a published author. Her children‘s picture book, ’The Phlunk’ published by Strata Books in 2012, received great reviews.

Barry Mason

Barry Mason

Barry has written for some of the world‘s greatest mucical icons such as Tom Jones, Rod Stewart, Barbara Streisand, The Drifters, Englebert Humperdink, Charles Aznavour, The Fortunes, Edisn Lighthouse, Des O’Connor and Elvis Presley.

His much loved classics include, Delilah, The Last Waltz, Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes), There Goes My First Love, Love is All, Les Bicyclette de Belsize and I pretend.

Lyn Goddard

Lyn Goddard

A child prodigy, Yehudi Menuhin observed of the budding composer "some people can be taught to put notes together but this girl was born with music in her Soul".

Lyn has written and produced for the boy band Phixx and entered the dance scene through Motiv8, writing for Haji and Emmanuel, Dab hands, Mark Wilkinson, Steve Mac, The Soulseekerz, Digital Dog, Michael Gray, Phonetic Recordings, Roger Sanchez’s Stealth Label, Rob Mello & Martijn ten Velden.

Michael Gray, one of the world’s hottest dance producers chose Lyn to write on his ‘Ready for This’ track, hitting the prestigious No.1 spot in the DMC Buzz Chart, and No.2 in the M.W. Coolcuts chart and have continued to work together.

Nicky Cox

Nicky Cox

Nicky is one of the founders and editor of First News, the leading children’s newspaper

Before founding First News along with Piers Morgan back in 2006 Nicky worked at the BBC launching more than 50 children‘s magazines ranging from Teletubbies to Top of the Pops.

She has done regular speeches at Downing Street and The Houses of Parliament and tours UK schools every year with campaigner Henry Winkler promoting the awareness, acceptance and brilliance of children with learning challenges.

Nicky was awarded an MBE by the Queen in 2009 for her services to children.

Voice In A Million

Voice In A Million

Our aim is to present an opportunity of a lifetime for school children from all backgrounds throughout the UK to come together united in song and perform in front of their own family and friends and indeed members of the general public.

In the words of VIAM founders and adoptive parents, Robert and Jo Garofalo, “Through the accessibility of music we aim to bring to the public’s attention the importance of adoption and fostering children of all ages. Millions of children need ‘forever homes’ and we must never lose sight of this goal. Adoption is love to a child in care.”

Diane Allison Young

Diane Allison Young

Diane is an independent consultant, project director, event manager and producer for high profile sports, media, and broadcasting events for both corporate and private clients. Over 20 years’ international experience working through Daytime Entertainments (own company) with a background in A&R, still continuing with consultancy work for an independent record label (Starfisch records - Extensive talent management and celebrity booking expertise with technical knowledge of large-scale production including: set design, construction, audiovisual, filming, photo-shoots, styling brand placement and logistics. Marketing, new media, production/remix service and PR for music projects.

Paul Stanborough

Paul Stanborough

For eight years Paul worked extensively as in-house producer, programmer and engineer for renowned song writer and producer Guy Chambers. Working with artists and writers as diverse as Robbie Williams, Kelis, Kylie Minogue, Miss Piggy, The Scissor Sisters, Britney Spears, Janet Jackson, Mika, Tiao Cruz, Tinnie Tempah, James Morrison, Gary Barlow, Cathy Dennis and Lauren Christy (The Matrix) to name a few. Pauls guitar and bass playing can be found on various records for artists including Tina Turner, Kylie Minogue, Ian Brown, Beverly Knight, Natasha Bedingfield, Nadine Coyle, The Wanted, Aqualung and many more. Based in North London Paul has worked in studios from Westlake in Los Angeles to Abbey Road in London. Paul produces, mixes, programmes and engineers, collaborating with a variety of established, as well as up and coming artists.

Tim Laws

Tim Laws

Tim is an Ivor Novello nominated, ASCAP award winning songwriter and record producer probably best known for co-writing Gabrielle’s multi-million selling hit ‘Dreams’ and for my work with Lighthouse Family on their 3 studio albums.

He’s recently been working with: Jan Sievers, Scarlette Fever, Chromatone, SHE, Seth Lakeman, Rubylux, Pere Aristone and Mel C, Billy Ocean, Roachford.....

He’s also written, produced and mixed songs for many, many other artists including Babyface, Stevie Wonder, INXS, Daryl Hall, Gabrielle, Lighthouse Family, Five, Liberty X, Sugababes, Will Young, Mark Owen, Billie Piper, S-Club 7, Kenny Thomas, Kavana, Ce Ce Rogers, Holly Valance, Emma Bunton, Atomic Kitten, Blue and S-Club Juniors (to name quite a few!!). Other hit singles include Liberty X’s top 10 hit ‘Holding On For You’, Mark Owen’s debut solo single and number 3 hit ‘Child’, and even Billie Piper’s number 3 Christmas hit ‘She Wants You’.

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