Young Songwriter 2018



The winner of the 8-12 year old category is Zoe Efstathiou with her song “All She Has To Do’.  Judges commented “I think the lyric is heartbreaking and unique – very impressive”, “Brave & insightful”, “Great chord sequence”. 2nd place is awarded to Mia Bran’s song ‘City’.  Judges commented “Lovely love song to London”, “Love the chorus vocals & how it builds as a track”.  3rd place is awarded to Skye Bishop’s song ‘Soaring’. Judges commented “Very catchy , nice vocal layering”.

The winner of the 13-18 year category is Isabella Weinstein with her song ‘Bad Boy’. Judges commented “I like the tension & mood this song creates” Expressive, courageous, great harmonies”, “Sophisticated & mature song”. 2nd place is awarded to Katie Kittermaster’s song ‘T-Shirt’.  Judges commented “Honest lyrics, very believable”, I like the pay off in the last line”, “Great idea, a hit!”. 3rd place is awarded to Oscar Welsh’s song ‘Way You Move’. Judges commented “A unique style”, “Emotional, honest, fabulous phrasing”, “Very interesting musically”.  The judges gave a special award for vocals & production to Tabitha Jade for her song ‘Trust Me’.

The winner of the International category is Kevin Jones with his song ‘Clara’. Judges commented “Great melody, harmony, arrangements and rhythm change. Beautiful”, “Very mature lyrically”, “I love the style and ambience of this song”.

The separate ‘Fanbase Award’ supported by Casio Music is awarded to Taylor Gayle who attracted over 2,000 views on her instagram post for her song ‘Without Me’.  Great songwriters know that raising their profile is important for building a future in the industry.

All UK & Ireland winners, finalists and selected highly commended entrants will perform in The Young Songwriter 2018 Live Showcase on Sunday 10th June, 2-5pm at Westfield, W12.

Now in it’s 7th year, our competition is the leading international songwriting competition for 8-18 year olds that champions the creative talents of young people, gets their songs heard & unites young songwriters worldwide.

To keep up to date with the latest Live Showcase news follow us on our social media channels.

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Young Songwriter 2018 Winners Announcement PR

Young Songwriter 2018 Press Release Finalists Announced


8-12 year category SAYS18 Finalists

Happy Birthday by Erik Antonyan, Soaring by Skye Bishop, All She Has To Do by Zoe Efstathiou, Interweaving by Daisy Grace Powell, City by Mia Bran, A.S. Bach by Asher Saipe , One Bad Day Won’t Bring Me Down by Laetitia Felix, Head Full Of Clouds by Greta Benn, Hello by Harry Hatcher, Dear Diary by Greta Benn.

13-18 year category SAYS18 Finalists

Free Spirits by Lisa Kowalski, Broken by Owain Felstead, T-Shirt by Katie Kittermaster, Snapped by Lottie Jenkins, Like Lava by Matilda Mann, Trust Me by Tabitha Jade, Way You Move by Oscar Welsh, Only Me by Jade Thornton, Your Picture On The Mantelpiece by Joshua Shea, Bad Boy by Isabella Weinstein.

International category SAYS18 Finalists

Here I Am by Madi Earl, This Letter by Joe N Cave, Clara by Kevin Jones.

All SAYS18 entries (just under 500 songs) are on our SoundCloud account.

We can provide insightful written feedback on your songs to take your songwriting to the next level.  We look at three parts of your song: lyrics, melody and production/structure.  Learn more about our Song Feedback Service


Our competition is separately judged for the 8-12 and 13-18 age categories across the UK/Ireland with a separate category for International entries.

We’re looking for songwriting talent.  Professional recordings are not required as songs will be judged on their originality, lyrics, melody, composition and hit-making potential!  We judge every song on three key elements:  Lyrics, Melody & Chords (see below).  Then there’s the S Factor – is it a sensational song!

Lyrics: Demonstrates both technical and artistic competency, highlighting emerging originality. Material is imaginative and technically accomplished with rhyme, meter & creative language.
Melody: Compliments the chord progression and other surrounding musical characteristics. Melodic content demonstrates variety by using range, rhythm and pitch effectively. Demonstrates the ability to write functional harmonic progressions that complement the melodic content. The melody is memorable.
Chords: Harmonic progressions are balanced and provide a sufficient amount of interest throughout the song in relation to the other musical components.


  • A half day recording session with the top producer Paul Stanborough in London

  • Professional music video and photos from recording session

  • A Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Studio audio interface

  • sE Electronics X1S Studio Bundle

  • 4 tickets to Beautiful – The Carole King Musical

  • Tinc Big Boom Stand n Speaker

  • Soundcloud Pro Unlimited subscription

  • Winners and finalists will perform at in our Young Songwriter 2017 showcase in London

  • Winner of the International Category will win a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Studio interface, sE Electronics X1S Studio Bundle, SoundCloud Pro Unlimited subscription & Tinc big boom stand n speaker

  • Casio Music’s newly released CTX-5000 keyboard


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

I’m very glad to be part of The Song Academy Young Songwriter 2018 judging panel. Good songwriting is the foundation of all good music. This competition is also simply a great way for songwriters to meet other like minded people and I’m happy to encourage anyone to connect and excel in this beautifully expressive art form and cannot wait to hear the songs.

Imelda May


Our 2018 judging panel comprises of a cherry-picked range of influential songwriters and music producers, including Tom Odell, Guy Chambers, Imelda May, Eg White, Nigel Elderton, Lucie Silvas, Tim Laws and Jessica Sharman. All 2018 judges are shown below.


All UK & Ireland SAYS18 winners, finalists & selected highly commended entrants performed at our showcase in London on Sunday 10th June.  Video highlights to be released shortly.

Press Release Young Songwriter 2018 Live Showcase Sunday 10th June, 2-5pm


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

Laura, 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, Finalist

It encourages young people to believe in themselves.

Roman, 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, Finalist




Tom Odell

Tom Odell

Tom is an award winning English singer-songwriter. He released his debut EP, Songs from Another Love, in 2012, and won the BRITs Critics’ Choice Award in early 2013. His debut studio album, Long Way Down, was issued on 24 June 2013, shooting straight to No 1. In 2014, Tom won a prestigious Ivor Novello as Songwriter of the Year.

His second album, Wrong Crowd, produced with the help of producer Jim Abbiss, best known for his work with Arctic Monkeys, Kasabian, and Adele, among others, was released on 10 June 2016.

We are eagerly awaiting the launch of his third album due to be released very soon!

Guy Chambers

Guy Chambers

An award winning (including three BRITS, three Ivor Novello awards & a Q classic Songwriter award) and recording breaking songwriter, producer & musician. Guy is perhaps best known for his collaboration as a songwriter and producer with Robbie Williams on five massively successful albums – Life Thru A Lens, I’ve Been Expecting You, Sing When You’re Winning and Escapology.

Over the years he has written and produced for Diana Ross, Tom Jones, Tina Turner, Kylie Minogue, James Blunt, Scissor Sisters, Rufus Wainwright and Mark Ronson among many others.

Imelda May

Imelda May

Imelda May is one of Ireland’s most celebrated artists - a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. Her recently released fifth album ‘Life Love Flesh Blood’ was produced by the legendary T Bone Burnett.

Life Love Flesh Blood shows a change of musical direction. “I love the rawness of rockabilly but it‘s just one of the many musics that inspired me. I also love my punk, blues and jazz and it was always mixed in there.” It is the strength, character, wit and emotion of the songwriting that ultimately sets this album apart from Imelda’s previous work.

Imelda has performed with Lou Reed, Smokey Robinson, Tom Jones, Meat Loaf, David Gilmore, Sinead O’Connor, Wanda Jackson, Lulu, Paolo Nutini, The Dubliners, The Chieftains, U2, Robert Plant and many more.

Nigel Elderton

Nigel Elderton

Nigel is the chairman of PRS for Music which represents the rights of over 118,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers in the UK. With over 40 years’ experience in the music industry, Nigel began his career at Chappell Music in 1975 and joined EMI Music Publishing a year later where he remained for the next 12 years working in many areas of publishing both creatively and administratively.

In 2005, he was awarded the Gold Badge of Distinction by the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA) and in 2007, was invited to become a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts (FRSA). More recently, Nigel was awarded the Music Publishers Association’s highest honour the MPA Gold Badge for distinguished service to the music publishing industry.

Lucie Silvas

Lucie Silvas

Multi-Platinum selling recording artist and songwriter. Her last album, “Letters To Ghosts” received critical acclaim world-wide and had her on non-stop sold-out tours with the likes of Chris Stapleton, Little Big Town, James Bey and many, many more. Lucie resides in Nashville, TN where she continues to win the support of critics and fellow artists, alike. This year she will be releasing the long-awaited and much-anticipated follow-up album, “E.G.O.”

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.

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’.

Jessica Sharman

Jessica Sharman

Jessica Sharman is a professional songwriter, topliner, producer and musician.

Her songs have been used worldwide for film (The Inbetweeners 2), TV (Made In Chelsea, Saving Hope) and advertising (Burberry).

She‘s had multiple radio plays, including consecutive weeks spent on Radio 2’s A list (Carry You Home, Ward Thomas). She also co-wrote over a third of the Ward Thomas’ second album Cartwheels, which went straight to Number 1 making UK Music History by being the first Country album to reach top of the charts.



Sodajerker is the songwriting team of Simon Barber and Brian O’Connor. Their podcast, which features long-form interviews with successful songwriters, has been downloaded millions of times since its launch in 2011. During the 100+ episodes to date, guests have included Paul Simon, Alicia Keys, Noel Gallagher, Cat Stevens, Rufus Wainwright, Neil Finn, Suzanne Vega, Eg White, Guy Chambers, Billy Bragg, KT Tunstall, Johnny Marr, Gilbert O’Sullivan, Gary Numan, Ben Folds Five, Neil Sedaka, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Joan Armatrading, Andy Partridge, Jimmy Webb, Imelda May and Tom Odell, among many others.

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.

Keith Ayling

Keith Ayling

Keith Ayling is a singer, songwriter and arts entrepreneur.

Described as tenacious, eclectic and ‘something of a polymath‘, (Fatea Magazine, 2015) Ayling has succeeded in a music career spanning over four decades whilst also working on projects in the arts, music education and media. He has released 14 albums, performed across Europe, India and Canada as well as gaining a Masters degree in songwriting. In the late nineteen nineties and early 21st century Keith Ayling was one of the most influential musicians in UK CCM. ‘Alongside Delirious and Fono, this is as good as UK CCM gets‘, confirmed music editor Tony Cummings.

In the last two years he has become hugely influential in teaching songwriting, working for The Prince’s Teaching Institute, Music Education Expo, Cambridge University as well as becoming Senior Lecturer in Songwriting at Leeds College of Music.

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.

Sophie Daniels

Sophie Daniels

Sophie is Head of Songwriting at The Institute of Contemporary Music Performance where she has been teaching for over ten years.

Initially from a varied musical education background of pop music, classical and musical theatre, Sophie’s career in music has comprised; performing, writing and recording, roles at major record labels and a constant passion for teaching and enquiry in the world of popular music and songwriting.

Sophie’s work as a songwriter has been particularly within the genres of Country, Pop and Folk. She is currently working with Americana Artists; Hannah Rose Platt, Kaity Rae and Megan O’Neill and Pop Singer/Songwriters; Laura Welsh and Liv Austen.

Sophie runs the innovative Masters programme in songwriting at ICMP which combines the study of Creative Process and hands on tuition in songcraft and hit songwriting with the latest in academic enquiry.

Toby Davies

Toby Davies

Toby began his career as a peripatetic drum kit teacher for the London Borough of Haringey and subsequently went on to teach for a number of other London Music Services. Before his work teaching music, Toby was a successful session musician, playing with a variety of bands, which included both studio and live performance work.

Four years ago, Toby started working for Trinity as a local representative for the Rock and Pop syllabus. He now works as a consultant within the Business Development team as the National Advisor for the Rock and Pop syllabus.

Toby believes that teaching and learning should be underpinned with encouragement, inspiration and enjoyment.

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.

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.”

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