We’re delighted to announce the top 3 songs in The Young Songwriter 2020 competition, 13-18 year old, UK & Ireland category! Drum roll……..the top 3 songs in alphabetical order are:

Black Heart by Kitty Dodd-Noble

Lights of the Sky by Lilith Bee

Obsession by Hetta Falzon

The winner will be announced at a special Instagram live event on Saturday 20th June from 2 – 3 pm BST.  Stay tuned to our social media channels – Instagram, Facebook  and Twitter  for latest news on special VIP guests joining us.

We caught up with Kitty, Lilith & Hetta to talk about all things songwriting!

KITTY DODD-NOBLE (17 years old from Dorking, Surrey) 

What got you into writing songs?  I got into writing when I was about 9, I use it as a therapy more than anything else really. It is a really weird feeling comparing how I physically feel after writing a song and prior. It’s like an actual physical weight has been taken out of me and I feel better.

What is your favourite part of the songwriting process?  My favourite part would definitely be writing the lyrics. I really love poetry. I also think that when I have something in my head that I need to get out, by looking at different angles of what’s going on (which I do when writing lyrics).

Describe your setup that you used to write your #SAYS20 entry, was it just a pen and paper or a fully kitted out studio?  I have a small setup in my room with a couple ROKIT 6s, an AKG 414, a komplete control midi controller and a focusrite box. So all fairly simple but does the job. I’m doing music tech A level, so each time I do something I learn more. Always learning more!

How do you usually start a song? How do you find that spark?  It’s really hard to describe. It’s a sort of body sensation. I get a lot of adrenaline and get very excited. Without this feeling I do find it hard to write a track because it’s not really real. I don’t know, the songs that I try to write are never as good as the ones I feel.

Who would be your dream artist/writer/band to collaborate with?I really love Amy Winehouse. I think her lyrics are so beautiful. She wrote with such art and such truth. I think even if you have never felt what she talks about in her songs, you still feel it with her. This is what I want to evoke in my songs too.

What made you enter #SAYS20? How did you hear about it?  I’m at Hurtwood House and my teacher sent an email round. But also… I went to Sauveterre with Rowena’s daughter so that’s where I heard about it originally.

What would you say to someone aged 8-18 who is thinking about entering the Song Academy Young Songwriter competition next year? Do you have any tips for them?  I mean, why not? Got nothing to lose, you can only gain something. I think everything you do in music (and in life I guess) is a learning curve. There’s always more to learn. So if you get the opportunity then why not?

What do you like about the Song Academy Young Songwriter competition?  I think it’s great. It gives young people a place to put their music up and get some professional feedback.

LILITH BEE (15 years old from Surbiton, Kingston-Upon-Thames, London)

What inspired you to write your song?  The song is inspired by emotions and how quickly they can change seemingly randomly and without any warning. The lyrics of the song are made to juxtapose each other to show this exact change.

What got you into writing songs?  I got into writing songs from the peace I found in listening to music. Because I enjoyed listening to music so much I decided I’d like to create some of my own.

What is your favourite part of the songwriting process?  My favourite part of the writing process is refining the piece through harmonies.

Describe your setup that you used to write your #SAYS20 entry, was it just a pen and paper or a fully kitted out studio?  When writing any song, initially it all starts with a few chords and something to record my ideas . Once the song is fully established in terms of the melody and chords, we record the final version in a professional studio.

How do you usually start a song? How do you find that spark?  Any song idea will come when either making up a chord sequence or just randomly to mind. (Truthfully most of them are “singing in the shower” songs at heart).

Who would be your dream artist/writer/band to collaborate with?My dream artist to collaborate with would be the Argentinian band SIAMES as their songs are my favourites to listen to.

What made you enter #SAYS20? How did you hear about it?  I find it interesting to see what other people think of my songs and if they are really any good at all. The best way to determine this is through competitions. ( and who doesn’t want to seek a little closure).

What would you say to someone aged 8-18 who is thinking about entering the Song Academy Young Songwriter competition next year? Do you have any tips for them?  Advice I would give is to write the song that YOU want to write. Write something that you will enjoy listening to and writing.

What do you like about the Song Academy Young Songwriter competition?  What I like about the competition is that it doesn’t focus so much on how great you are as a singer ( as I know there are better singers out there than me) but rather your skills in actually writing something original and unique.

HETTA FALZON (15 years old from Wells, Somerset)

What inspired you to write your song?  Obsession was inspired by previous songs I had written, the majority of which were about heartbreak. I wanted to write a prequel to those songs. I realised for your heart to be broken so deeply you must have loved been loved just as deeply, and Obsession explores this lovely side of love. The focal idea in the song is opening up to somebody because something that in that past had been so often just lustful might even be love.

What got you into writing songs?  I had grown up surrounded by music. When my dad left, songwriting became an outlet for me to rationalise the situation. Songwriting helps me understand not only myself but those around me with various perspectives.

What is your favourite part of the songwriting process?  I love writing lyrics because in the lyrics is the message and in the message is the raw emotion. If you strip back a song to only the lyrics it should still be powerful. I also think my favourite part of the process is finding that one moment in the song where everything falls into place and from there the rest comes naturally.

Describe your setup that you used to write your #SAYS20 entry, was it just a pen and paper or a fully kitted out studio?  I sit at the piano and I mess about. If I find something I like then I’ll record it onto my phone. It’s all very simple and low-tech but it means I really focus on the song rather than the production.

How do you usually start a song? How do you find that spark?  I can never write a song by deciding to sit down and write a song. Usually I am inspired by things I see or hear outside of my house and I immediately record these ideas into my phone. I will then sit at the piano later on and play around, developing these ideas.

Who would be your dream artist/writer/band to collaborate with?I’m a sucker for effective lyrics. To collaborate with Dermot Kennedy would be insane, his music definitely influences my songwriting. In his music the instrumentation takes a back seat and exposes his lyrics. Similarly, most of the songs I write are acoustic as I feel the focal point should be the text.

What made you enter #SAYS20? How did you hear about it?  I discovered Song Academy when searching for courses for young songwriters and for the past few years I have followed the Song Academy competitions however not taken part as I had little confidence in my songwriting, however this year with recommendations from school, I decided to give it a shot.

What would you say to someone aged 8-18 who is thinking about entering the Song Academy Young Songwriter competition next year? Do you have any tips for them?  It is impossible to write a song that everyone will like. I spent a long time trying and I realised it doesn’t matter what other people think of my music because I write it for me, and if somebody happens to like it too then that’s cool but if they don’t it doesn’t mean it’s a bad song. If I had any advice it would be to write the song that you’d want to listen to. If others do too then that’s just a bonus.

What do you like about the Song Academy Young Songwriter competition?  It gives so many more people opportunities because you don’t need to have an incredible voice or  be a great producer or have expensive equipment. It’s about the song. You just have to be musical.


The winner will be announced at a special Instagram live event on Saturday 20th June from 2 – 3 pm BST.  Stay tuned to our social media channels – Instagram, Facebook  and Twitter  for latest news on special VIP guests joining us.