Charity hosting south west London songwriting competition for teens

A not for profit project is offering teenagers in south west London the chance to publish their song on Spotify by entering their songwriting competition.

Powerjam, a charity that gives young musicians the opportunity to join and form bands, is holding the South West London Songwriting Competition, open to residents of Richmond, Kingston and Hounslow aged 12-17.

It aims to show young songwriters and musicians how valuable lockdown can be to produce good quality music and to encourage them to stay creative.

Anna Texier, Powerjam founder and director, former songwriter, and DJ said: “Right now is like an incubation period.

“We’re always telling our members when lockdown eases you’ll see the fruit of your effort and you’ll see why this time could be valuable.”

The competition offers participants the chance to get their song on Spotify to win a free professional recording, full song production, marketing and release on all major streaming platforms, and is worth £1000.

Texier explained that some teenagers find it hard to express themselves and their emotions, so writing songs helps them to do this.

Texier, a mother to a teenager herself, added: “When you start to put words on paper and try to define how you’re feeling, these feelings come to life and enter your awareness. Then these teens can finally start dealing with their emotions.

“It’s completely healing writing a song because you can get so many of these pinned up feelings and frustrations out by writing lyrics and making music.

“We work with a lot of young people and I’d say that all of them are pretty stressed out from exams, studies or situations with friends especially living in close quarters during lockdown.”

During lockdown, Powerjam have been holding online sessions with their members, young south west London songwriters and musicians, to help them continue to create songs that can be released once the coronavirus restrictions are lifted.

Outside of lockdown, they have live band rehearsals for their members weekly, book gigs for them and professionally record, release and market their songs.

Texier explained that the team thought now is a good time to extend the rare opportunity they are giving to their current members to more of south west London’s young musicians.

She said that the competition is really for young people who have not had the chance to develop their songs or work with them to record professionally and really release their music properly.

Powerjam is a not for profit project that started five years ago and it allows the songwriters and bands get to keep the ownership rights to their songs so the project does not make any profit at all.

Texier voluntarily gives up all her time to run Powerjam along with Dr Andrei Sora, the professional music producer in the studio who has a PhD in Musicology, and Luis Chico who is a professional keyboardist, gigging musician and music teacher at a Twickenham school.

Previously, various bands at Powerjam achieved 50,000 Spotify streams of their released singles and gigged at the Richmond Riverside and Strawberry Hill Music festivals.

Details of the South West London Songwriting Competition are on the Powerjam website.

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