Song Academy at Westfield

Song Academy set to showcase the brightest young songwriters

A musical showcase celebrating top young songwriters is set to wow visitors to Westfield next month.

Around 40 young people – handpicked by a panel of music industry judges including singer songwriters Tom Odell and Rumer – will take to the White City stage on 12 June in a public performance of their songwriting skills.

The musical extravaganza is a live showcase of winners, finalists and highly commended entrants in the annual Song Academy Young Songwriter 2016 competition, which this year attracted 443 entries aged seven to 18 from across the UK and Ireland.

Singer songwriter Tom Odell, who joined judges including TV presenter Jamie Theakston and editor of First News Nicky Cox to scrutinise the entrants, said: “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. That’s why I think the Song Academy Young Songwriter competition is a great way to inspire and help through this process. It’s something I wish had been around when I was starting out.”

Also judging this year’s entries were singer songwriters Lou Rhodes and James Walsh, along with award-winning producers such as Eg White, Fraser T Smith, and Tim Laws.

Song Academy class in Brook Green
A Song Academy class in Brook Green

Song Academy founder and Hammersmith resident Rowena Atkins – who launched the competition in 2011 alongside the academy’s after-school sessions and holiday workshops which run in Fulham, Hammersmith, Notting Hill, Chelsea and Chiswick – said the contest had gone from ‘strength to strength’.

“It’s a springboard for the next generation of creative stars to get noticed by key players in the music industry, build confidence, have their voices heard and shine in the limelight,” she explained.

The entrants were divided into two categories – those aged seven to 12, and teens aged 13-18.

Local youngsters who will be among those performing during the Westfield London event include eight-year-old Eddie Atkins, a pupil at Fulham Prep School. The older category features 15-year-old India Whitehurst, from Fulham, who attends St Paul’s Girls School in Hammersmith.

Myles Keller, director of PRS for Music, a society for songwriters, composers and music publishers, said the competition provided a ‘one of a kind opportunity to gain crucial feedback from some of the very best British songwriters’.

He added: “In the early stages of a career, this kind of help is like gold dust and really enables industry newcomers to build strong, sustainable careers.”

In addition to the competition winners, finalists and selected highly commended entrants, eleven talented songwriters from the Song Academy community will be performing their original composition, Right To Be Loved, at the event at Westfield.  

Their aim is to raise awareness of the large number of vulnerable children in care and the difference that adoption and fostering makes in the world, for both child and parent.  

Atkins added: “We give young people a voice and help them express themselves powerfully. We celebrate their individuality. We unleash their creativity and inspire them with what’s possible. 

“We also connect them to a vibrant community of their peers who love writing original songs, as well as exposing their songs to key players in the music industry. Overall, we build young people’s confidence and self-belief.”

To find out more visit www.songacademy.co.uk or come along to the live event at Westfield London on 12 June from 2-5pm.

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