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The Ladies' College
Back 27.04.20

Young songwriter competition finalist

NEWS  SENIOR SCHOOL , MUSIC

upper five student, rachel is one the college's regular music performers and it comes as no surprise that two of her songs that she wrote for her gcse music have made it to the young songwriter 2020 competition organised by song academy.

Rachel Dawson

 

Rachel was recently asked by Song Academy to comment on getting through to this stage of the competition.

  • What inspired you to write your song? I am so lucky to have two songs in the final.  The first song that I wrote was 'Forget About Yesterday'.  I wrote this song to hopefully help people who feel alone, to realise that there are others around them who are there for them and that they should not be afraid to ask for help.  In today’s society there are so many mental health issues and if my song helps even just one person I'll be incredibly happy.  My second song, 'Tear Drops in the Rain' is a bit more upbeat and it demonstrates the importance of making the most of life.  Last year I had a really worrying health scare - luckily everything turned out to be fine, but it inspired me to not take life for granted and writing this song helped me through a really difficult time.
  • What got you into writing songs?   I've always loved music, my dad is a singer and has been playing in bands since before I was born, so music has always been a huge part of our household.  Singing and playing the guitar are my favourite things to do and I wrote my first song on my 5th Birthday.  My birthday is in the spring so it was about flowers and butterflies - my mum recorded me singing it, she loves to embarrass me by playing it in front of my friends!
  • What is your favourite part of the songwriting process?   I find starting a song quite hard, but as soon as I've got an idea and a melody to express the feeling of that idea, the words and music then seem to start flowing.  That's my favourite bit and it is really exciting.  I build the chords around the tune and then work on the lyrics (which is often the trickiest bit for me!)  
  • Describe your setup that you used to write your #SAYS20 entry, was it just a pen and paper or a fully kitted out studio?   For both of my songs I just had my guitar and a pen and paper to start with.  To record it, first of all I did a “rough” version on my iPhone and then my guitar teacher helped me to record the parts on Garageband.  I do have Garageband and a mic at home, but I’m still learning how to use it.
  • How do you usually start a song? How do you find that spark?  It usually starts when something happens around me which inspires me and gives me a feeling that I have put into a melody, or a set of chords.  It’s hard to describe how one leads to the other, but I can usually find some notes which sounds how I feel.
  • Who would be your dream artist/writer/band to collaborate with?   Ward Thomas – I love their music so much and it is the kind of style that I feel suits me the most.  I particularly love their use of harmonies and I can really relate to their songs.  If I could chose a second, it would be Brandi Carlile because she has such a beautiful, husky tone to her voice and her songwriting is really moving.
  • What made you enter #SAYS20? How did you hear about it?   I saw it on an email from “Dawsons Music” and thought it sounded like an amazing opportunity.  I saw that you could request feedback which I really wanted, but I never in a million years thought they would get into the final!
  • 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?   Stop thinking about it and start writing!!!  Don’t be afraid to get your music out there – it is a really safe and supportive place to start, even if you have never done anything like it before.  You can’t go 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?   Lily Criddle's song 'Don't you worry' is beautiful and inspiring.  It is very mature for her age group.  Also, I enjoyed listening to Nadia Ahadi's 'Cloud 9'.  As far as collaborating with other songwriters is concerned - Ocean White as she lives locally, and she is a great musician and vocalist.  I think that I would also enjoy working with Sadie Mustoe, as I really love her style of music and her song 'Shimmering Blue' is another of my favourites.
  • What do you like about the Song Academy Young Songwriter competition?  It is such a great opportunity for young songwriters to have some really valuable feedback from industry professionals, on ways to improve their music and songwriting skills (especially if you come from a small island like I do).  It is also amazing to hear other people’s ideas and music.  It’s so inspiring and it’s a chance for everyone, whether you’ve had lots of practise, or if you are trying it for the first time.

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