The Young Songwriter 2021 competition is open for entries!

Star Judges include Fraser T Smith, Tom Odell, Miranda Cooper, Chris Difford,
Calum Scott, Tom Grennan & Michelle Escoffery

Listen up, gen Z have something to say! In its 11th exciting year, the prestigious Song Academy Young Songwriter Competition 2021 #SAYS21 is calling all young people to speak up & express themselves, by writing their own original songs! The entry period is from the 1st February until 31st March 2021, you must be aged 8-18 and you can enter from anywhere in the world. The Young Songwriter 2021 is for both aspiring young songwriters who already have some experience as well as young people who want to write their first song.

Fraser T Smith (songwriter, producer and SAYS21 judge) says “With so much going on in the world, it’s never been more vital for young people to be able to channel their energy and emotions into something positive, which is what The Young Songwriter competition encourages and facilitates through songwriting. Every young person has something to say, a story to tell, or a message to share – that’s why Song Academy is so important to our community.”

Do you know any young people who are…
• Writing their own songs & want to get them heard?
• Secretly writing their own songs and need a bit of encouragement to share them?
• Creative & musical and would like to write their first song?

We’re looking for pure, fresh songwriting talent. Songs will be judged on their originality, lyrics, melody, composition, and potential to be a smash hit! There’s no need to enter professional recordings, however a good recording can help to enhance the impact of songs.

Enter between the 1st February and 31st March 2021 for the opportunity to:
• Get noticed by some of the best songwriters & key players in the music industry
• Have your songs heard and stand out from the crowd
• Record your winning song with a top producer in London
• Win £1,000 worth of Yamaha equipment
• Receive a professional music video & photos from the recording session
• Win a Focusrite Scarlett Solo Gen 3 Studio Bundle
• Perform in The Young Songwriter 2021 showcase at The Tabernacle, London
• Get connected to our vibrant community of young songwriters

More information including the entry form click

This competition will be separately judged for UK & Ireland 8-12 year olds, UK & Ireland 13-18 year olds, International 8-12 year olds and International 13-18 year olds.

Official sponsors of SAYS21 are Yamaha, Focusrite, Kobalt, ICMP, PRS for Music and Soundtrap.  Key partners are MUSIC:ED, Association of Colleges, FAC, Good Soldier, Soundcity and Songwriting magazine.

This year’s panel of award winning judges includes: Fraser T Smith (Stormzy, Dave, Adele, Drake, Sam Smith), Tom Odell, Chris Difford, Tom Grennan, Michelle Escoffery, Calum Scott, Hannah V, Calum Scott, Dan Gillespie Sells, Harley Sule (Rizzle Kicks), Janet Devlin, Eg White (Adele, Duffy, Take That, Pink), Sacha Skarbek (James Blunt, Miley Cyrus, Adele, Jason Mraz, Duffy), Paul Adam (Dannii Minogue, Amy MacDonald & A&R Director at Island Records), Emily Philips (Rizzle Kicks, John Newman, Maddison Beer), Miranda Cooper (Girls Aloud, Sugababes, Pet Shop Boys, Alesha Dixon), Starsmith (Ellie Goulding, Lady Gaga, Jess Glynne, Paloma Faith), Simon Aldred (Sam Smith, Rag’n’Bone Man, Avicii) and Iain Archer (Bugg, Sea Girls, Lisa Hannigan, Liam Gallagher, James Bay, Snow Patrol, Niall Horan).

Need help getting your songs ready?

Take advantage of our song feedback service where we provide insightful comments on the three areas of lyrics, melodies/composition and production. Plus, join our online songwriting workshops in February Half-Term. 

Quotes from The Young Songwriter competition judges:

Fraser T Smith (producer/songwriter) says “With so much going on in the world, it’s never been more vital for young people to be able to channel their energy and emotions into something positive, which is what The Young Songwriter competition encourages and facilitates through songwriting. Every young person has something to say, a story to tell, or a message to share – that’s why Song Academy is so important to our community.”

Tom Odell (singer/songwriter) says “when I was 13 years old I started writing songs, and over the following years I became more and more obsessed with it, but the thing that always kept me awake at night was how to get them out there for people to hear them. This is why I think the Song Academy Young Songwriter competition is a great way to inspire and help through this process, and its something I wish had been around when I was starting out. I can’t wait to hear the songs!”

Naughty Boy (producer/songwriter) says “young songwriters are the future of music. A great song will always stand the test of time far beyond our years. I think this competition is important because every songwriter I’ve worked with was always waiting to be discovered.”

Miranda Cooper (songwriter) says “The Young Songwriter competition is an amazing opportunity for the next generation of song writers to get their music heard. I am always particularly impressed by the songs submitted by the 8-12 category. I was definitely not writing such accomplished songs at that age!! It’s so exciting to hear new, young talent and I always come away from the judging process feeling inspired. It’s a real reminder of how lucky we are to be doing something we love so much.”

Rowena Atkins, Founder of Song Academy, says “Song Academy inspires young people to speak up, express themselves, celebrate their individuality & get heard. By connecting them to a vibrant community of their peers who all love writing songs, as well as exposing their songs to key players in the Music Industry, we help to build young people’s confidence, self-esteem and drive to achieve their potential.”


Willard Ahdritz, Founder & Chairman of Kobalt says “It’s very important to support, inspire, and celebrate young creators as they start on their path in music. We are happy to be involved in this competition as it provides great opportunities and education for the young contestants. I know many of them will go on to have bright careers in music!”

Leanne Barrell, Marketing Manager of Yamaha says, “At Yamaha, we believe that music can empower everyone to express themselves, build friendships and make a positive impact in the world, so naturally we’re delighted to support The Young Songwriter 2021 Competition. It’s a great opportunity for young people everywhere to get inspired and share their music on a global stage. This is all about the future, and we can’t wait to hear the songs of a whole new generation of musical talent.”

Per Emanuelsson, Director of Soundtrap says “The annual Young Songwriter competition is a premiere event introducing many students from around the world to the art of creative expression through song, and is therefore an event close to our heart. Soundtrap is pleased to sponsor the 2021 Young Songwriter competition and advance the mission of helping students find and share their voices.”

Quotes from past The Young Songwriter finalists:

Laura (Young Songwriter Finalist) says “Being a self confessed bedroom musician the Young Songwriter competition has given me the opportunity to take my songs into the real world.” Roman (Young Songwriter Finalist) says “It encourages young people to believe in themselves.” Sam (Young Songwriter Finalist) says “I like how it is focused on songwriting and not particularly vocal or instrumental talent, especially in this day and age, where that’s a critical factor for success. But if you can write a hit, it’s arguably more impressive than if you can sing one, and I think this competition shows that.”


SONG ACADEMY – helping every child find their voice

Founded 12 years ago, we’re dedicated to the future of music & the wellbeing of young people aged 8-18. We enable young people to express themselves and have their voices heard. From their first song to developing their first album. We nurture young writers, artists, musicians, producers & creative thinkers, empowering young people at a formative time of their life.

We believe that songwriting and music can transform the lives of young people by helping them find their voice. Young people are growing up in a competitive, fast changing & potentially isolating environment, which can cause various pressures and lead to issues with their mental health. Through songwriting young people can communicate their thoughts and feelings and connect to others. This creative and therapeutic process helps young people discover & develop their identity, overcome challenges, feel empowered by speaking up and advance their creative and social skills. The songs they write have the potential to spark debate, help their peers and shape their future.

Song Academy runs after-school clubs, holiday workshops, school workshops, birthday parties and an annual international Young Songwriter competition. As a result of our programmes, we have seen a direct correlation in the increase and advancement of confidence, self-esteem, creativity, motivation, well-being and technical songwriting ability of our members.

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