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The Young Songwriter Competition is for both aspiring young songwriters who already have some experience as well as young people who want to write their first song.  

In its 12th year The Young Songwriter 2022 (SAYS22) competition is the world’s leading songwriting competition for young aspiring songwriters to get their songs heard by leaders in the industry & connect to a talented tribe of young songwriters aged 8-18 across the world.

The Young Songwriter competition stands for the craft and art of songwriting in its purest form, enabling young songwriters to aspire to the very best melody, lyric, structure, concept, harmony, mood and impact a song can have. It inspires young people to think about and speak up about things that are important to them personally, in their community and in the wider world and get their voices heard. It’s a supportive community where young people feel brave and can express themselves, celebrate individuality and be themselves. The benefits from this unique community are far reaching, especially the positive boost to mental health.

Get your songs ready to enter SAYS22!  Follow us on our social media channels for songwriting tips and take up our opportunities to write your best songs yet!

  • Want to write your first song?  …Check out our songwriting clubs and holiday workshops.
  • Want to have some feedback on songs you’ve written? …Check our our insightful song feedback service and 121 song clinics for lyrical writing, melody making, song structure, composition, recording and production.
  • Want to develop your songwriting talents? …Check our our songwriting clubs & holiday workshops.

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.

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.
The Young Songwriter Competition 2021 judging panel include Fraser T Smith, Midge Ure, Tom Odell, Miranda Cooper, Tom Grennan, Eg White, Chris Difford, Sacha Skarbek, Emily Phillips, Janet Devlin, Dan Gillespie-Sells, Hannah V, Harley Sule, Michelle Escoffery, Paul Adam and Calum Scott.

With so much going on in the world, it’s never been more vital for young people to be able to channel their energy and emotions into something positive, which is what The Young Songwriter competition encourages and facilitates through songwriting. Every young person has something to say, a story to tell, or a message to share – that’s why Song Academy is so important to our community

Fraser T Smith

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

A half day recording session with a top producer in London
Professional music video and photos from recording session
£1,000 SRP of Yamaha equipment
Scarlett Solo Gen 3 Studio Bundle
Signed Tom Odell ‘Monsters’ Album
Signed Tom Grennan ‘Evering Road’ Album

The winner & selected finalists will perform at our Young Songwriter 2021 showcase at The Tabernacle, Notting Hill, London on Saturday 13 November

INTERNATIONAL CATEGORY

EACH FOR THE 8-12 & 13-18 CATEGORIES

Scarlett Solo Gen 3 Studio Bundle
£1,000 SRP of Yamaha equipment
Signed Tom Odell ‘Monsters’ Album
Signed Tom Grennan ‘Evering Road’ Album

A half day recording session with a top producer in London
Professional music video and photos from recording session
£1,000 SRP of Yamaha equipment
Scarlett Solo Gen 3 Studio Bundle
Signed Tom Odell ‘Monsters’ Album
Signed Tom Grennan ‘Evering Road’ Album

The winner & selected finalists will perform at our Young Songwriter 2021 showcase at The Tabernacle, Notting Hill, London on Saturday 13 November

2021 partners

Testimonials from SAYS finalists.

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

Fraser T Smith

Fraser T Smith

As a producer for some of music’s biggest names, Fraser T Smith has a remarkable track record. He has worked with the likes of Adele, for whom he co-wrote and produced the Grammy winning single Set Fire To The Rain (2011), as well as Stormzy, whose BRIT Award winning debut album Gang Signs & Prayer (2018) Fraser wrote on and produced. Fraser also contributed to Stormzy’s second album Heavy Is The Head (2019), reaching the number one spot on both the UK Official Singles and Albums Chart in January 2020. Fraser worked with Dave to co-produce his Mercury Prize winning debut album Psychodrama (2019) and accompanied Dave for an electrifying performance of his track Black at this year’s BRIT Awards. It is this catalogue of work that has seen Fraser become one of the most in demand creators in contemporary music today.

Fraser’s debut album as Future Utopia, 12 Questions was recently released via Platoon/70Hz. The album sees Fraser taking centre stage and features an incredible roll call of some of Britain’s most vital and brilliant artists. Stormzy, Dave, Kano, Ghetts, Bastille, Es Devlin, Simon Armitage, Idris Elba are just some of the names featured on the album. The album is based on a series of twelve universal, human and urgent questions, all born of Fraser’s own anxieties about the world today. The album discusses issues including faith, freedom, race, gender, wealth, equality and ecology.

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.

Michelle Escoffery

Michelle Escoffery

Michelle Escoffery is an award-winning British Singer, Songwriter and Vocal Producer. Having consistently amassed accolades as one of the UK’s most respected songwriters. A member of family singing group, ‘The Escoffery’s’, signed to Atlantic Records USA in 1991, Michelle cut her teeth in the studio with sister Sandra Escoffery, learning to write and arrange, which led to independent success with chart topping UK girl band Truce. Michelle went on to become one of only 2 female stock writers at EMI Music Publishing at the time, alongside Cathy Dennis.

An Ivor Novello and Brit Award winner for her song Just A Little, she has penned songs for Tina Turner, All Saints, Beverley Knight, Artful Dodger and worked on vocal arrangement and production for Rod Stewart song Human and performed with Artists Stevie Wonder, George Michael & more.

Michelle advocates and develops new talent through creative vehicles and platforms such as her event ‘Front Room Sessions’, being a UK judge for Eurovision Song Contest 2018 and Vocal Coaching for various TV shows. Plus plays a vital role on the PRS Members’ Council and sits on the Board of Trustees for PRS Foundation, the leading charitable funder of new music talent and development in the UK.

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.

Chris 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, Elvis Costello and Elton John.

Plested

Plested

Phil Plested, who performs as “Plested” is a singer/songwriter from Croxley Green, Hertfordshire. He began writing songs at school (Rickmansworth) and was scouted at a talent show and signed to Island Records. He’s spent the past several years penning songs for some of pop music’s biggest names, including Lewis Capaldi (“Hollywood” and the UK and US Radio #1 “Before You Go”), Little Mix (the UK Top 5 single “Touch”) and Kygo (“Remind Me To Forget” ft. Miguel & “Lose Somebody” ft. One Republic).

Phil most recently co-wrote “Leave Before You Love Me” for Marshmello x Jonas Brothers as well as the Anne-Marie & Niall Horan duet “Our Song”. He is in the studio with Lewis Capaldi, Dermot Kennedy, Niall Horan & Clean Bandit to name a few.

Midge Ure

Midge Ure

Midge Ure, is a Scottish musician, singer-songwriter and producer. He enjoyed particular success in the 1970s and ’80s in bands including Slik, Thin Lizzy, Rich Kids and Visage as the frontman of Ultravox. In 1984, he co-wrote and produced the charity single “Do They Know It’s Christmas", which has sold 3.7 million copies in the UK. The song is the second highest selling single in UK chart history. Midge co-organised Band Aid and Live Aid and Live 8 with Bob Geldof. He acts as a trustee for the charity and also serves as an ambassador for Save The Children. He currently tours with The Band Electronica, performing Ultravox’s ‘Vienna’ album. In August 2020 Midge created ‘Backstage Lockdown Club’ with livestreamed acoustic songs and Q&A sessions on the Patreon website.

Calum Scott

Calum Scott

With his stripped-down and sweetly devasting rendition of Robyn’s ‘Dancing On My Own’, gaining more than 550 million streams worledwide, Calum has launched his debut album ‘Only Human’. The lead single ‘You Are The Reason’ embodies Calum’s singular ability to transform pain into beauty. He says “At first I got caught up in trying to write the kind of songs I thought people wanted to hear. But after a while I realised that the more honest and real I was, the more easily it flowed. It ended up becoming a process of getting out everything that’s been on my mind over the years and it felt very therapeutic. To me ‘Only Human’ means being okay with how you feel, and getting rid of all that shame. My hope is that these songs encourage people to embrace who they are, so that there’s a little less fear in the world and a lot more love.”

Hannah V

Hannah V

A pioneer in a new generation of entrepreneurial female producer/songwriters, Hannah V has worked with some of the world’s most in demand major label artists including Stormzy, TOBi and JP Cooper.

After producing and co-writing tracks for JP Cooper’s Top 10 album Raised Under Grey Skies (Island Records) in 2017, Hannah scored her first Gold certified album and now continues to regularly produce tracks for JP Cooper.

Other writing and production credits include five-time GRAMMY-winning Lalah Hathaway, Yola, Misha B, Shystie and MOBO nominated artist Andreya Triana. Hannah was appointed to the Ivors Academy Songwriting Committee in 2020.

Alongside her undeniable skills as a songwriter and producer Hannah has balanced a stunning performance career. Her performances included playing stadiums and arena tours with Rihanna, Jessie J, Eminem, Lalah Hathaway, Jason Derulo, Taio Cruz and Anastasia.

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”.

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.

Emily Phillips

Emily Phillips

Emily has had Platinum records on either side of the Atlantic, with John Newman, Rizzle Kicks, Big Time Rush, and DNCE. Emily is on the Songwriter Committee for the Ivor Novellos. Her latest release is “Loch Ness Monster,” a new song from TIDAL Rising star Matilda Mann which aired on BBC6. Other recent releases include the DNCE Platinum single “Hands Up”, Soak “Everybody Loves You” (a UK Radio1 Hottest Record in the World), Soak “Knock me off my feet” and Bearson and Weathan Feat. Soak, “Win you Over ” (currently on a Coca Cola campaign in the US), Dan Owen, and Ruti (The Voice).

She has recently written with L Devine, Isaac Elliot, Nicole Sherzinger, Louisa Johnson, and many more.

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.

Tom Grennan

Tom Grennan

Born in Bedford but based in London, singer-songwriter Tom Grennan first found fame as the guest vocalist on Chase & Status’s track ‘All Goes Wrong’. A Hottest Record on Annie Mac’s Radio 1 Show, the track gave Grennan the chance to cut his teeth in the Radio 1 Live Lounge and on BBC Two’s Later… with Jools Holland.

Tom’s first album Lighting Matches was one of the 10 best-selling debuts of 2018. Filled with huge tunes like ‘Found What I’ve Been Looking For’, ‘Barbed Wire’ and ‘Something In The Water’, the album showcased Tom’s emotional, careworn voice, a rasp full of devilment and mischief as well as love and solace.

His new single, This is the Place, from his forthcoming album is out now. It’s about finding a place of complete calm and escaping utter chaos and carnage.

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.

Starsmith

Starsmith

London based Starsmith is a multi-platinum selling British songwriter and producer. He was nominated for Producer of the Year at the 2018 A&R Awards, as well as the Music Producers Guild Breakthrough Producer of the Year in 2011.

He is best known for his work with Ellie Goulding, Jess Glynne, Zedd feat Kehlani, Paloma Faith, and Clean Bandit, which includes 2 number one singles and 8 number one albums. The Jess Glynne single "I’ll Be There" that he co-wrote and produced was nominated for Best Single at the 2019 Brit Awards. He has also produced and co-written tracks for Dermot Kennedy, Oh Wonder, Jessie Ware, Bishop Briggs, Cloves, Lily Allen, Rationale, Kwabs & Molly Kate Kestner amongst others.

At the start of his career Starsmith produced the majority of Ellie Goulding’s debut album Lights and co-wrote five songs on the album. Following its release in 2010, it went straight to No. 1 in the UK. The album has gone on to sell over 2,000,000 copies worldwide. He teamed up again with Goulding on her second number-one album Halcyon producing and co-writing three songs on the album, which debuted in the top 10 in both the UK and the US, as well as co-writing & producing several tracks on her latest album ‘Brightest Blue’.

Iain Archer

Iain Archer

Iain is a Grammy Nominated songwriter (Hold Back The River - James Bay), with two Ivor Novello Awards to his name (Hold Back The River; Final Straw album - Snow Patrol), and a third Ivor Nomination (Two Fingers – Jake Bugg) and has co-written a UK No.1 single (Run - Leona Lewis)
With No.1 albums on both sides of the Atlantic, Liam Gallagher on his #1 solo album ‘As You Were’. Niall Horan’s debut album ‘Flicker’ hitting No.1 in the US, with Iain & Niall co-writing ‘Paper Houses’, this past year saw Iain contribute production and writing with Seagirls on their top 3 UK album and producing Snow Patrol’s ‘Reworked’ Album.

Contributing to Snow Patrol’s breakthrough multi-platinum album ‘Final Straw’, Iain co-wrote the huge hit ‘Run’ which went top 5 for the band and later to UK No 1 for Leona Lewis.

In the past year, Iain has also seen his co-written single with Lisa Hannigan (Undertow) feature on acclaimed hit TV series ‘Normal People’.

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.

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.

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.

Simon Aldred

Simon Aldred

Ivor Novello Award winning songwriter Simon Aldred is also recognised by some as singer songwriter Cherry Ghost.

His ability to see, absorb and articulate the world around him in the most relatable way has served him well. None more so than on a trip to India where, inspired by all that is India, he wrote “People Help the People”. Not only did this song win him the Ivor Novello but also caught the ear of then new artist Birdy whose cover of the song has sold over a million copies and streamed over 140,000,000 times on Spotify alone.

Simon’s first collaborative session with an artist was with Sam Smith. That session resulted in “Leave Your Lover” and a creative relationship set in stone.

Simon’s work as both writer and artist continues to attract the most diverse fans from London’s Ray Blk, to Sam Smith, Liam Gallagher, Rag‘n’Bone Man, Rhys Lewis and Avicii - all of whom he has written songs with. Recent sessions include Boston Bun, Celeste, Chaya, James Bay and Claudia Valentina.