Andrea is 18 years old, from Jakarta, Indonesia. Her songs ‘Who Are We’, ‘Gigantics’, ‘You’ and ‘Nothing About You’ made the Top 30 in The Young Songwriter 2019 competition International Category. Congratulations! Here’s a bit about Andrea and her songwriting.
What inspired you to write your SAYS19 Top 30 songs?
Who We Are – “Who We Are” was mostly just a song idea I had kept in my voice notes- until I brought it to Sweden. So excited to be working with Olof Lindskog (@ollipopmusic) and Hayley Aitken at The Kennel AB (Stockholm, Sweden), I knew very well that this was going to be an anthem for every teenager during their search for identity. The song tells the story of two teens plotting to escape from the mundane nature of life, by embracing their true authentic selves during their coming-of-age transition. In our brief years of adolescence, we tend to really question who our genuine selves are. “Who We Are” gives you the reassurance that it’s okay to not figure things out right now, and to trust that everything will fall into place, eventually.
Gigantics – “Gigantics” was written during my songwriting camp in Bali, Indonesia on January 2017. A guy at the program challenged me to write a song about teenagers who live decadent lives and feel ‘gigantic’ whenever they do illegal things. I didn’t want to lose so I shut myself in a room for three hours and came out with that song.
You (Beautiful) – Originally, “You (Beautiful)” was a personal message that I needed to get to a friend who was living far away as they were struggling with a few issues that needed comforting. Yet, behind the words I could see that I was writing this to a bigger crowd. People tend to forget their self-worth just by looking in the mirror, and although you may not see it that way, but others who genuinely care for you sees something inside you that you don’t. You are more than just a number on the scale, you are more than the dots which cover your face and makes up into a constellation, and you are certainly more than the person you think you are.
Nothing About You – Since I haven’t made a new song for quite awhile, my dad gave me an ultimatum: “we are not going anywhere today until you make a new song.” I was given approximately less than two hours to write a song until my father gets back home. I had only four chords in my mind that I was playing on the piano, and had no any further ideas. Under pressure, I contacted twenty of my friends asking each of them to send me one word only. When I sorted the words together, I immediately had a picture of the song in my mind and was able to finish it in a very short time. Originally, the song was inspired by my experience of being in an unreciprocated relationship.
How long have you been writing songs? I made my first song when I was 10 yrs old, and ever since then I’ve composed and recorded more than 20 original songs. Recently, I’ve just released my first self-titled debut album ‘Andrea Turk’ (four-year production) on all digital platforms.
How did you get into songwriting? When I was small, I didn’t really have an outlet to channel my inner feelings until songwriting. I didn’t have a way with what I needed to say out loud and songwriting helped me paint an elaborate picture of what was going on. It’s one of the ways I cope with reality when things get too much. When I was fifteen years old, I started taking songwriting seriously after attending Berklee’s Five-Week Summer Program in 2016.
What does songwriting allow you to explore and achieve? Personally, songwriting helps me in addressing a few issues that I believe are worth mentioning. Societal issues such as identity oppression, alienation, and lack of self-love are a few of the many things I alleviate with a catchy melody and an escapade of pop-based sounds in my music. It’s hard to talk about these things because there aren’t any open discussions about them in the first place. In recent times, I had only imagined someone telling me one day what I needed to hear, until one day I had decided that someone is me.
What’s your favourite part of the songwriting process? Knowing that there’s endless possibilities when it comes to developing the story of the song as it goes. After getting the flow going, that’s when you’re mind starts to get creative with the rhymes and storylines, and it happens in an instant everytime I go into my songwriting sessions!
What’s the most difficult part of the creative process of songwriting for you? There’s so much to say and yet so little space and room for us to articulate the story. You’d want the song to hit that ‘sweet spot’ without needing to sacrifice the essence in order to keep its simplicity to the listeners. I have a hard time making sure that the song is catchy and has a universal taste without killing too much of my artistic visions.
Do you start with lyrics or melodies/chords? I usually start with a melody, because a strong melody is what makes the song memorable to people.
What do you like about The Young Songwriter competition? The Young Songwriter competition invites youth from all around the world to compete in making great art and music. It’s a very healthy competitive scene, and it encourages adolescent teens to become the next music moguls of the future.
Who are your three favourite artists/songs? As of now, my three favorite artists are Björk, Billie Marten, and Maggie Rogers. Björk’s congruous music opens a door to new possibilities when I’m stuck working on a production. Billie Marten’s eloquent lyrics remind me of how effortless it should be when it comes to songwriting. Everyone in the industry should be intimidated by Maggie’s talent, grit, and humbling heart. She has proven to all of us how an indie-based musician can cross-pollinate into the mainstream music of today.
10 years from now you will be… Since I am given a scholarship by The New School Jazz and Contemporary Music and will start the Vocal Performance BFA Program on September this year, I hope I can continue my education at NYU Steinhardt Songwriting Master Program. I imagine myself working on a new track for myself as well as for other big names in the industry, if possible, in my own recording studio based in New York City.
What’s your favourite thing to do when you’re not writing songs? I’d listen for hours on Spotify, exploring new artists and sounds to inspire me when I go back into the studio. Also, I collaborate with other artists on new projects in my home studio as an arranger, producer, and audio engineer. Apart from that, I produce short films with my friends, e.g. Hazel’s Guidebook to the XY Chromosome that has been awarded ‘Honorable Mention’ by Central Illinois Feminist Film Festival and premiered in Central Film Festival in Springfield, Missouri, USA (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNtajJKR-B4&t=23s).
The top 10 finalists will be announced on the 3rd May. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to hear the announcement first! #SAYS19 #songwriting #newmusic #expressyourself #beheard
The Young Songwriter 2019 showcase & 10th anniversary of Song Academy celebration will be on Saturday 22nd June at 7pm at The Tabernacle, Notting Hill, London.