Youngsters win lockdown song writing competition

(L) Isla Mae, winner of the song writing competition and (R) Joe, winner of the melody and lyric category.

(L) Isla Mae, winner of the song writing competition and (R) Joe, winner of the melody and lyric category. - Credit: Isla Mae and Joe

A number of young people from across Cambridgeshire have won a competition to write and record songs about life during lockdown. 

It comes as part of Cambridgeshire Music’s Rhapsody Song Writing competition that received 70 entries from budding musicians.

The songs paint a vivid and uplifting picture of life for young people over the last 18 months. 

Youngsters in the area came out top in all three categories. 

Three expert judges from the world of music picked the winners.

Competition winners 

  • First place – Isla Mae, 14, from Linton Village College for her haunting song called ‘The Rainbow’

Isla Mae said: “I was very pleased to find out I had been chosen!

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"I hope my music reaches a wider audience and for people to find joy in it. 

“This competition has helped me believe in myself more as I am often quite self-doubting. 

Isla Mae, 14, from Linton Village College won the song writing competition, with her haunting song called 'The Rainbow'.

Isla Mae, 14, from Linton Village College won the song writing competition, with her haunting song called 'The Rainbow'. - Credit: Isla Mae

Isla Mae, 14, from Linton Village College won the song writing competition, with her haunting song called 'The Rainbow'.

Isla Mae, 14, from Linton Village College won the song writing competition, with her haunting song called 'The Rainbow'. - Credit: Isla Mae

Aspiring songwriter Jed now studies at Royal Northern College of Music. 

Jed, 19, from Cambridgeshire, was awarded second place in the competition for his song 'Hey Neighbour'.

Jed, 19, from Cambridgeshire, was awarded second place in the competition for his song 'Hey Neighbour'. - Credit: Jed

Mia wrote the catchy chorus: “Coronavirus, it has changed us, it inspired us, and it re-shaped us...” 

The project has inspired people aged seven to 21 to make their voices heard during a challenging year. 

The winner of the melody and lyric competition (second category), which invited contributors to set their own lyrics and a melody line to a backing track provided by Cambridgeshire Music was Joe, 13 with his song called ‘We Help the World’. 

Joe is in year eight at Ely College and plays the piano and trumpet, as well as singing in the school choir. 

Joe, a year eight pupil at Ely College, won the melody and lyric competition with his song called 'We Help the World'.

Joe, a year eight pupil at Ely College, won the second category melody and lyric competition with his song called 'We Help the World'. - Credit: Joe

“I have always loved playing music,” he said. 

“I struggled with lockdown and home learning and really loved that I could continue to make music online. 

“My song was a personal experience – I was home with my family in lockdown including my grandma, who we cared for. 

“She really loved it when I played music to her and enjoyed listening to me playing my different instruments. 

“Grandma has now moved into a care home and I can’t wait to share my song with her. 

“I am also looking forward to lots more music making opportunities in the future.” 

Some of the memorable lyrics from Joe’s song are: “When we are free and can walk outside, and meet our family and friends, be thankful for the sacrifice, as the world is on the mend”. 

The third category of the competition invited young people to send in their own original lyrics. 

Winners will work with a singer-songwriter to turn their lyrics into a song. 

Category winners 

  • ‘Dancing with you’ by Lucy from The Grove Primary school, Cambridge. 

  • ‘Lockdown Times’ by Jessica from Cromwell Academy, Huntingdon. 

  • ‘Who am I’ by Darcy, a singer in Year 11 from Neale-Wade Academy, March.

Cambridgeshire Music’s Acting Head of Curriculum and singing, Liza Field said: “The main theme that shone through was optimism and hope for the future. 

“The songs were so uplifting and I particularly liked seeing the many themes covered such as the NHS, clap for heroes and home schooling, which epitomises many of the lockdown experiences for young people across the county. 

“The judges were really impressed by just how much talent emerged among the 70 entries.” 

Finalists will play at a livestreamed concert today (Tuesday, July 20) and their songs will be turned into a Spotify album. 

Matthew Gunn, head of Cambridgeshire Music said: “The quality of lyric writing and musicianship was really enjoyable to hear in the recordings. 

“To me, the songs created a snapshot of the impact of the world we live in and the different experiences in young people’s lives across Cambridgeshire, particularly over the last year.  

“We have a strong tradition of creativity in the county and I hope these talented young people will continue to write more songs in the future”. 

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