Chart-topping and multi-award winning Irish singer songwriter Megan O’Neill is one of the most exciting Alt-Country/Americana artists on the current scene.  Megan has led Song Academy songwriting clubs and workshops.

We asked Megan some questions to help aspiring young songwriters on their songwriting journey.

How old were you when you wrote your first song?  I was about 10 years old when I wrote my first song but the first song I remember fully finishing and being proud of I wrote when I was 15.

What was your first song about?  The first full song I finished was about a boy (at 15)!

Who inspired you to start songwriting?  In a roundabout way my Mother did. She introduced me to so much amazing music at a very young age and I therefore grew up with a huge appreciation for music and story telling. My Mam loved country music and had me listening to Reba McEntire, Gareth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Mary Black and more. Country music is all about the story telling, so I fell in love with that genre especially.

What’s your favourite song you’ve ever written?  Ooh that’s a tough call and I’m not sure I can answer. My favourites change all the time – depending on my mood!

How easy did you find it to get your music heard?  Definitely not easy!  This industry is notoriously difficult and you have to be willing to work very hard for very many years which I’ve done. I’m now lucky enough to have incredible, supportive fans who want to hear my music – so all the hard work has been worth it :)

What’s your biggest regret as a young songwriter?  That I didn’t learn the guitar earlier in my life and that I didn’t do any songwriting lessons/workshops as a young teenager. Both of those things would have helped me to develop as a songwriter faster.

What are your top tips for aspiring songwriters?   Just keep writing all the time! You’ll write so many average songs for every one great song so the more you write, the more chances you have of hitting the nail on the head. Also put yourself out there as much as you’re able to. Get out there and sing your songs in front of people – whether that’s at an open mic night or in front of family and friends. Apply for competitions, take regular lessons if you can or attend workshops to meet other songwriters and feel inspired.

How do you write songs?  Songwriting is like a muscle and the more you exercise it the stronger it gets. I don’t wait around for inspiration, I write every day. Obviously some days are more creative than others but even on the days I don’t feel like writing, I make myself sit down and do it because you never know what can come from that. I truly believe in this quote by Leigh Michaels that “Waiting for inspiration is like standing at an airport and waiting for a train”!

I do carry a notebook with me everywhere I go and write down ideas that pop into my head or inspirations from life around me like things I might hear people say beside me in a coffee shop. You can get ideas from everywhere. Sometimes I also wake up with song ideas so I keep a notebook by my bed and I tend to use my voice recorder on my phone a lot to record melody ideas.

I do a lot of co-writing too which I find amazing – especially for those days I’m not particularly inspired myself. It can be easier to feed off other people sometimes!

What do you especially like about The Young Songwriter competition?  I think it’s an amazing tool for young songwriters to have their music heard by industry professionals. It also sets a real challenge for young writers to work towards – to write, record and submit their own song is no small feat and something they should feel super proud of.

Are you aged 8-18?  Have you written your own songs?  Then enter The Young Songwriter 2019 competition!