Young Songwriter 2020

HELPING EVERY CHILD FIND THEIR VOICE

We believe that songwriting is hugely beneficial to young people, especially in their increasingly demanding, fast-paced, isolated & technological lives, with little time to reflect and create for fun.  Benefits include strengthening mental health, developing creativity & crucial life skills.

We aim to inspire more and more young people to write their first song and provide a platform for aspiring young songwriters to get their songs heard & connect!

The Young Songwriter 2020 competition in it’s 9th year is the leading international songwriting competition for 8-18 year olds.

We provide a golden opportunity for aspiring young songwriters to get their songs heard by some of the best songwriters and stand out in the music industry – with the opportunity to perform in a live showcase in London, win some great prizes and connect with each other as part of our vibrant community of young songwriters with exclusive songwriting experiences for finalists.

2020 judges included Tom Odell, Imelda May, Miranda Cooper, Eg White, Chris Difford, Sacha Skarbek, Emily Phillips, Janet Devlin, Harley Alexander-Sule & Paul Adam.

SAYS20 WINNERS HAVE BEEN ANNOUNCED ON OUR SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS!

William Massie from Teddington with ‘No Place’ won the 8-12 year old, UK & Ireland category; Lilith Bee, 15 years old from Surbiton, Kingston-Upon-Thames with ‘The Lights of the Sky’ won the 13-18 year old category, UK & Ireland and Jordyn, 17 years old from Sydney, Australia with ‘10’ won the International category.

The judges wanted to give special commendations to:

Zachary Zbar for his song ‘Protection’

Eliza Mai for her song ‘Straight Up’

Demie Bagnato for her song ‘Bed of Roses’

“I just wanted to say what a positive, constructive and well laid out piece of feedback this is. Anna is going to be delighted and I know she will learn from what you’ve said. It will spur her on even further.”

Graham (Father)

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

SAYS20 is open to young people aged 8-18 (NB 18 years at the time of entry is fine). Entries can be submitted by individuals or groups/bands. Songs must be under 4.5 minutes. Songs can be on any topic and in any genre of music.  All lyrics and music must be the entrant’s own original work. The accompaniment/music must be masterminded by the entrant/s, however can be played by family or friends if the entrant is unable to do so. Entrants can use songwriting apps such as GarageBand and their available sounds. Each entrant may submit up to 5 songs and 5 additional joint entries. Entry costs £10 per song to cover administration & judging costs. Entrants don’t need a professional recording as they will be judged on their originality, lyrics, melody, composition and potential to be a smash hit! However, a good recording can most certainly help to enhance the impact of your song.

The entry form will be live in mid-January and you’ll need to submit an audio recording (mp3 format) and lyrics.

Young Songwriter 2020 Competition – Rules & Guidelines

JUDGING CRITERIA

We’re looking for pure 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/Instrumental (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/Instrumental: Harmonic progressions are balanced and provide a sufficient amount of interest throughout the song in relation to the other musical components.

YOUNG SONGWRITER WORKSHOP AT YOUTUBE SPACE

50 young songwriters from across London were buzzing from their visit to YouTube Space and being with our exciting special guests, Tom Grennan, Janet Devlin and Kelly Kiara!  Many new collaborations were forged.  A big thank to the YouTube Music team.  #SAYS20 #Community

BENEFITS FOR HEAD & MUSIC TEACHERS

2020 WINNERS’ PRIZES

8-12 YEAR OLD CATEGORY, UK & IRELAND

A half day recording session with a top producer in London

Professional music video and photos from recording session

Scarlett Solo Gen 3 Studio Bundle

Yamaha prize

Cubase Artist music software

Signed Tom Odell ‘Jubilee Road’ Album

The winner & selected finalists will perform at our Young Songwriter 2020 showcase at The Tabernacle, Notting Hill, London on Saturday 20 June

13-18 YEAR OLD CATEGORY, UK & IRELAND

A half day recording session with a top producer in London

Professional music video and photos from recording session

Scarlett Solo Gen 3 Studio Bundle

Yamaha prize

Cubase Pro music software

Signed Tom Odell ‘Jubilee Road’ Album

Filming of live session with Dawsons Music

The winner & selected finalists will perform at our Young Songwriter 2020 showcase at The Tabernacle, Notting Hill, London on Saturday 20 June

INTERNATIONAL CATEGORY

Scarlett Solo Gen 3 Studio Bundle

Yamaha prize

Cubase Artist music software

Signed Tom Odell ‘Jubilee Road’ Album

2020 SPONSORS

 

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

It was a great pleasure to judge The Young Songwriter 2018 competition this year. I was incredibly impressed by the level of songwriting and musicianship among these young individuals.

Guy Chambers

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

JUDGING PANEL

Our 2020 judging panel comprises of a cherry-picked range of influential songwriters and music producers, including Tom Odell, Chris Difford, Imelda May, Eg White, Sacha Skarbek, Miranda Cooper, Emily Phillips, Paul Adam, Harley Alexander-Sule, Janet Devlin, Dan Gillespie Sells & Sodajerker. All 2020 judges are shown below.

PARTNERS

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

Judges

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.

Tom‘s third album ’Jubilee Road’ was released recently to critical acclaim.

Chris Difford

Chris Difford

Chris Difford is a rare breed. As a member of one of London’s best-loved bands, the Squeeze co-founder has made a lasting contribution to English music with hits such as ‘Cool For Cats’, ‘Up The Junction’, ‘Labelled With Love’, ‘Hourglass’ and ‘Tempted’. Despite the fact that Chris has helped soundtrack so many fans’ lives since his first release in 1977, the passion for innovation and love of playing still drives him to carry on writing rather than sit back and admire his handiwork.

Over the course of a 14 album career with Squeeze, it was clear from the very beginning that Chris Difford has few peers when it comes to smart, pithy lyricism. His ‘kitchen sink-drama’ style has drawn plaudits from fans on both sides of the Atlantic, while his influence is keenly felt today. The likes of Lily Allen and Mark Ronson.

Chris wrote the wrote the lyrics for the fictional band Strange Fruit in the 1998 British comedy film ‘Still Crazy’, for which he won his first Ivor Novello award. The film soundtrack was also nominated for a Grammy. He also has written with Jools Holland, Paul Carrack and Elton John.

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.

Emily Phillips

Emily Phillips

Emily Phillips has co-written three top ten UK hits with Rizzlekicks and John Newman, as well as a US top three hit with Big Time Rush. Other recent projects include writing with Shura, Nicole Sherzinger, McFly, L Devine and Maddison Beer. She has penned three songs which have been listed as Radio 1’s ‘hottest record in the world’, including SOAK’s first single off her second album, Everybody Loves you. Emily has recently been appointed as a member of BASCA’s Songwriter Committee.

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.

Miranda Cooper

Miranda Cooper

Miranda Cooper is a British songwriter who has worked in the music industry since 1996 when she gained her first recording contract. In 1997, she met Brian Higgins, the founder songwriting and production tea, Xenomania and started songwriting together, finding commercial success and critical acclaim with their productions for Girls Aloud and Sugababes , Pet Shop Boys, Frank Ferdinand , Kylie & Alesha Dixon

At one point Cooper’s songs spent more years on the UK chart than any other female songwriter in the UK and she has penned 4 number one hits - ‘Round Round’, “Hole in the Head” for the Sugababes and “Sound of the Underground And “The Promise” for Girls Aloud.

Today Miranda continues to work with some of the hottest artists in the world including the likes of pop superstar Kylie Minogue, pop princess Zara Larsson and hotly tipped singer/songwriter Maisie Peters. Miranda has also also recently penned Cheryl’s new single “Love Made Me Do It”.

Sacha Skarbek

Sacha Skarbek

Sacha Skarbek is a British two time Ivor Novello Award winner and Grammy nominated songwriter, producer, film scorer and multi-instrumentalist. Sacha is best known for writing James Blunt’s hit singles “You’re Beautiful” and “Goodbye My Lover” as well as Miley Cyrus’ hit song “Wrecking Ball”. Sacha has worked with artists such as Adele, Lana Del Rey, Jason Mraz, Tears for Fears, Duffy and many more.

Janet Devlin

Janet Devlin

Northern Irish singer-songwriter Janet Devlin grew up outside the village of Gortin in County Tyrone, the only girl and youngest of four in her family. Fuelled by a love of bands like Foo Fighters and Red Hot Chili Peppers and inspired by their songwriting, hidden away in her parents’ shed she taught herself to play instruments by ear and penned her own songs where nobody else could hear her sing. Janet’s creativity and output can rarely be stemmed, and this is evident by the growth of her online presence, predominantly on Facebook and YouTube. She was included in the UK Book of YouTube 2018; an industry manual containing the top 100 most influential content creators in the country.

Dan Gillespie Sells

Dan Gillespie Sells

Dan is best known for being the lead vocalist and principal songwriter in The Feeling. Their debut album, Twelve Stops And Home sold over a million copies, whilst their second album, Join With Us reached the No. 1 spot in the UK Charts. The band’s 5th album was released in March 2016.

Dan was the recipient of the 2015 Stonewall award for Entertainer of the Decade for his work in the LGBT community and the 2007 Ivor Novello Award for Songwriter of the Year.

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.

Harley Alexander-Sule

Harley Alexander-Sule

Harley is a member of English hip hop duo Rizzle Kicks with Jordan Stephens. Rizzle Kicks released their first of two studio albums in 2011. Stereo Typical which featured their best-known song, Down with the Trumpets made its way to 5th in the UK charts.

Harley’s been releasing music under the name Jimi Charles Moody since 2015. He’s also a successful actor.

Sodajerker

Sodajerker

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.

Georgia Train

Georgia Train

Georgia is a longstanding member of the music industry and current founder of Hookers Songs a publishing company and songwriting collective in the UK.

Georgia Train has worked as a professional singer, songwriter, musical consultant and vocal coach for 15 years. She first achieved chart success as a performer in 2011 and later worked with artists such as Ed Sheeran and Amanda Palmer, Ben Folds and Matt Lucas. After touring the UK with songwriting royalty Burt Bacharach Georgia became part of the writing team at Xenomania (Girls Aloud, The Sugarbabes, One Direction) where she wrote the title track for the 2015 Kaiser Chiefs album peaking at Number 4.

Georgia holds a first class BA (hons) in Vocal Musicianship from BIMM Brighton and also trained in Estill vocal method and songwriting at Bath Spa University.

Anthony Galatis

Anthony Galatis

Anthony Galatis is a writer/producer/mix engineer with several No.1 and Top 10 hits to his name. He arrived in the UK as the keyboard player for Just Jinger, South Africa’s biggest selling rock band after studying classical music at school and Jazz piano at university.

He has written for a diverse range of artists from Kim Wilde to Gareth Emery and runs Uptown Studios in West London where he works with both established and emerging artists, producing their songs, EPs and albums.

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