We’re delighted to announce the top 3 songs in The Young Songwriter 2020 competition, 8-12 year UK & Ireland category! Drum roll……..the top 3 songs in alphabetical order are:

A place to play by Skye Bishop

No Place by William Massie

Triple Threat by Riley Stevenson.

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 Skye, William and Riley to talk about all things songwriting!

SKYE BISHOP (11 years old from Kensington, London) 

What inspired you to write your song?  Watching David Attenborough’s amazing documentaries, and learning about climate change at school.

What got you into writing songs?  I’ve been writing songs since I was 8. I enjoy making things rhyme and try to create new melodies and sounds in my head. I love messing around at my piano.

What is your favourite part of the song writing process?  Recording the song and being in the studio. I make a lot of last minute changes when I start recording it.

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 just wrote it with a pen and scrappy piece of paper during lunch at home. I had the idea during my music lesson on a Sunday morning and came home and immediately started writing it.

How do you usually start a song? How do you find that spark?  I usually start with an idea – a theme, something personal to me and then I try and tell a story about it and then work to make the lyrics work together. Then I start singing the different lines over and over again until it sounds right.

Who would be your dream artist/writer/band to collaborate with?Taylor Swift

What made you enter #SAYS20? How did you hear about it?  I love Song academy – I have entered it for the last three years.

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?  Give it a go!  The great thing about song writing is that there is no right or wrong.

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?  I really liked Alice Maxwell’s song ‘Dreams’.

What do you like about the Song Academy Young Songwriter competition?  I love the whole thing. It makes my Easter holidays really exciting and I love how it gives people my age the opportunity to be heard.

WILLIAM MASSIE (12 years old from Teddington, London)

What inspired you to write your song?  I’d been noticing a lot on the news about refugees and children being forced to leave their homes and I started to imagine how devastating it must be and how they must be so brave to get through it. I decided to write a song about the issue, to honour these families, as there is no place like home.

What got you into writing songs?   My Mum says I was born singing. I started playing the piano when I was around 6, but I wasn’t keen on reading and following the music that my teacher would give me, so I started writing my own music and coming up with my own songs.

What is your favourite part of the songwriting process?  I know it sounds cliche, but I love the whole thing. I love the feeling when you come up with a lyric in the middle of the night, the feeling when you play what could be the chord sequence to your next song, and the smile on my face when I finish writing and rush downstairs to play it to my family for the first time.

Describe your setup that you used to write your #SAYS20 entry, was it just a pen and paper or a fully kitted out studio?  To write ‘No Place’ I used a pen and paper (a lot of post-it notes lying all over my bedroom!) and my keyboard.  I then used my laptop to record and mix it.

How do you usually start a song? How do you find that spark? Normally when I start to write a song it’s either me thinking of a lyric in bed at midnight, or recording a melody on my phone in the park. Sometimes it’s when I’m reading about worldwide issues in geography, R.S. or on the news etc.

Who would be your dream artist/writer/band to collaborate with?  If I could collaborate with any artist it would be sooooo hard to choose, but I’d probably go for Oak Felder. Oak Felder is a songwriter and pop record producer and has been nominated and won grammy awards. He likes to make his music just using a laptop and basic recording equipment.

What made you enter #SAYS20? How did you hear about it?  I entered last year when I saw an ad in the Stagecoach magazine. I loved the experience and was so keen to enter again this year. Its a great focus especially right now in lockdown!

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?  For someone entering the competition for the first time, I would tell them that if they ever think of a lyric, or a melody, or a riff, don’t wait until later to write it down or record it in music memos. Do it then. Do it in THE moment. There have been so many times where I’ve thought of something, not written it down, and then forgotten it. And it kills me to know that that idea could have been my best song yet, and that I’m never going to be able to use it. There is no time that’s not a time for writing music.

What do you like about the Song Academy Young Songwriter competition?  What I like about the Song Academy Young Songwriter competition is how it brings like-minded people together and how it allows us to share our music with others and get feedback on it and find ways to improve our music next time we write a song.

RILEY STEVENSON (11 years old from Fulham, London)

What inspired you to write your song?  I’ve always wanted to be a triple threat!

What got you into writing songs?  I loved singing so I wanted to try writing my emotions on paper

What is your favourite part of the songwriting process?  My favourite part of the songwriting progress is writing the chorus because it’s normally catchy and more fun to write because it’s the main message.

Describe your setup that you used to write your #SAYS20 entry, was it just a pen and paper or a fully kitted out studio?  My Setup was just a pen and paper and a guitar.

How do you usually start a song? How do you find that spark?  I normally get started by thinking of the topic and then normally I have loads of ideas in my head about the melody and lyrics

Who would be your dream artist/writer/band to collaborate with? My dream artist to collaborate with would be Grace Vanderwaal.  I love the music she creates with her ukulele.

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?  Just go for it and give it a shot you never know!  Write on what you have a lot in common with.

What do you like about the Song Academy Young Songwriter competition?  I like that you can express yourself and it’s for all ages.

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.


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.