#SAYS17 #MentalHealth

Star Judges Select Winning Young Songwriters In International Songwriting Competition

Winners, finalists & highly commended to perform @WestfieldLondon, Sunday 4th June, 2 – 5pm

The winners of the hotly contested Song Academy Young Songwriter 2017 competition have now been revealed and will perform live in front of family, friends and the general public at Westfield London on Sunday 4th June, from 2pm to 5pm. A star-studded panel of music industry experts has spent many hours listening to hundreds of original entries.

This year’s panel of prominent music industry judges includes: successful singer songwriters Tom Odell (*see quote below), Rumer, Imogen Heap, Conor Maynard, James Walsh, Grammy award and Ivor Novello-winning songwriters/producers Eg White & Tim Laws, Nigel Elderton, Nigel Wright, Jo Garofalo (Founder of Voice In A Million) and Nicky Cox (editor of First News). A number of the judges will be at Westfield on 4th June to watch their favourites perform live.

Sophie DeMasi, aged 16 from Hammersmith, London wins the 13-18 year category with her original song ‘Enough For Me’ about not letting others push you around and pursuing what you love. Judges comments included ‘I really like this song’ Imogen Heap; ‘A strong rhythm & the chorus is great!’ Tom Odell; ‘I like the simplicity of the lyrics. Sophie’s sincerity shines through!’ Rumer. On winning Sophie said ‘It’s amazing to be recognised by such respected judges and crazy to think a song I wrote and produced in my room is being acknowledged to this extent. There was a very high standard set by the other entries so winning is an honour. Thank you to Song Academy for giving me this opportunity”. The runner ups are Callum James with ‘Cardboard Spaceship’ and Ed Smith with ‘Walls & Bridges’.

The winner of the 8-12 category is Zachary Zbar aged 9 from Chelsea London with his song ‘My Light’ about a difficult friendship with a school friend and making up. Judges comments include; ‘Lovely soaring melody, emotional and hopeful lyrics, and very mature!’ Rumer; ‘Great raw talent’ James Walsh. The Runner ups are Niamh Jones with ‘My Friend’ and Zoe Tredgett with ‘Dreams’.

Taylor Gayle aged 12 from Nashville, USA won the international category with her original song ‘Sophia’s Song’ about the lost of a parent at a young age. Judges comments included: ‘Very moving’ Tom Odell; ‘A beautiful & emotional song’ Rumer; ‘Incredibly strong lyrically’ Nicky Cox; ‘Poignant lyrics & strong melodies’ Nigel Elderton.

Photos and write ups on what inspired our 2017 winners & finalists to write their songs are on our Blog. Analysis of all entrants’ song themes and lyrics demonstrates that song writing is a hugely valuable outlet for young people to express their feelings and concerns and build a strong mental health.

This year’s competition attracted 532 high quality entries from across the world (entries from across England, Scotland, Wales & Ireland as well as France, America, Canada, Mexico, Belgium, UAE, India, China, Greece, Hungary, Denmark, France & Mexico); the judges commented on an exceptional standard of lyric writing as well as musical composition.

The annual Song Academy Young Songwriter competition has gone from strength to strength since it began in 2011 and is now the leading song writing competition for young people aged 7 to 18 across the UK and Ireland. It’s a springboard for the next generation of creative stars to get noticed by key players in the music industry, build confidence, have their voices heard and shine in the limelight.

Tom Odell, singer songwriter said “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.”

Director of PRS for Music, Myles Keller said “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. Music is integral to our nation’s identity and it is crucial that we nurture the next generation of songwriters now to ensure a creative future. PRS for Music is absolutely delighted to support such a positive and exciting competition.”

Hear the latest news on the Young Songwriter 2017 showcase and star guests to be attending via the Song Academy Twitter feed @SongacademyUK.