Phoebe Austin is 15 years old from London and her song ‘In The Light’ was selected as a top 60 song in The Song Academy Young Songwriter 2020 competition 13-18 year UK/Ireland category.  We caught up with Phoebe recently to talk about all things songwriting!

What inspired you to write your song?  My song In The Light was inspired by a person in my life who was struggling… with the song I wanted to take  a sour memory and feeling and make it an uplifting melody. This song is hopeful and feels quite light. I first got inspiration whilst watching a film and I took the song from there.

What got you into song writing? I wrote my first song when I was nine. I always used to make up songs while I was doing everyday activities… I would just sing what I was doing… or I would make up lyrics on the spot. When I learned how to play guitar I started trying to write my own songs. I quickly found that writing songs would come fairly naturally to me and that it would help me process my emotions in a creative way. I’ve always worked on my song writing… taking inspiration from other artist and learning new techniques as I gain experience in the industry.

What is your favourite part of the song writing process?  My favourite part of the songwriting process is getting the first melody. I find it so liberating when I have lyrics or ideas or chords and everything starts to slot into place. A melody sets the tone and feel of a song…. So finding a good melody, for me, is the best part.

Describe the setup that was used to write your SAYS20 entry; was it just pen and paper or a full kitted out studio? I wrote my entry this year on my living room floor… I had my piano and my guitar… my voice memos running and a pen and paper. I think I wrote the bones of this song in around 30 minutes. I mainly wrote this song on guitar while jotting down lyrics randomly. And then when I had lots of lyrics and a melody I started to build the song.

How do you usually start a song? How do you find that spark?  I usually start writing a song by writing down lyrics or phrases with the same idea… or writing lots of metaphors on a piece of paper and then building a narrative around them… its like a mood board for me. I’ll often think of lyrics and melody’s randomly during the day or even in the middle of the night. If that happens I put it in my voice memos and write around it. I find starting with music to be a different experience… when I want to focus more on the vibe of a song I’ll start by finding my chords… however when I want to focus more on how a song is crafted lyrically I start with the message and the lyrics. For me, the spark can come from anywhere…but more often than not it comes from a strong emotion when I am listening to music or watching a film.

Who would be your dream artist/writer/ band to collaborate with?  There’s many people I wish I could collaborate with, but one of my main influences growing up was N-Dubz. As I grew up around Islington and Camden, they were probably one of the first people I saw who were making music from where I’m from. For this reason they are legendary to me and to have them reunite for a collab with me would be a dream come true.

What made you enter SAYS20? How did you hear about it?  I decided to enter  #SAYS20 this year when I saw an advert for it on social media. I thought it looked like an amazing competition with amazing opportunities to get my music heard… and to also hear music from other young artists.. and to find people to potentially collaborate with.

What are your favourite other entries from this year’s competition? Who out of the other entrants (it doesn’t have to be a finalist!) would you like to collaborate with? Two of my favourite entries this year have been Lottie Pearl- Jet black hair and Liv Turner-Love lies

What do you like about the Song Academy Young Songwriter competition? What I love about the competition is the opportunities it creates. It allows people to hear others music and allows artists to connect. It also gives an amazing platform to the young artists.

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