20 May 2022

Young musician through to nationwide song-writing final

Loreto College student Cora Harkin has made the final 10.

Young musician through to nationwide song-writing final

A County Derry student has reached the final 10 of a competition for young songwriters in the UK and Ireland after her original song was selected by the judges.

Cora Harkin, a pupil at Loreto College, Coleraine, entered her song ‘This is Not the End’ in the competition and said it was a great way to find the motivation to finish songs.

In an interview published on the Song Academy website, she said: “I have many unfinished songs and competitions are a good way to finish the song.

“Song Academy’s competition is UK wide and it allows a wide audience to hear your song and is an opportunity to get help with song writing and meet like-minded people and share ideas!”

The 12-year-old has been writing songs since she was very young, and her competition entry drew inspiration from the transition to secondary school in Coleraine.

“My classmates and I were both anxious and excited about moving to our new schools,” she said.

“The song is about the end of an era and the beginning of a new era, remembering what was good and looking forward to the future.

“I have always been singing since I was very young. I started learning to play the guitar when I was 7. As soon as I could play my first 2 chords (C and Am) that’s when I started writing songs.

“I then started learning the piano and as I learn more I just mix things up and have a song of my own!”

Cora plays a number of different instruments and was able to draw on that variety to give her song-writing some extra depth.

She said: “I initially wrote the song on the guitar. All I had was my guitar and voice. I wrote the lyrics down with a pen to paper.

“I then thought it might sound good on piano, so I changed it to accompany myself on the keyboard.

“I usually start with the main tune of the song or a riff. I’ve different ideas of tunes in my head. Then I add the lyrics. It’s usually a life experience on something that’s on my mind.

“I’ve written songs about my best friend moving away, being bullied, moving schools. Then I then go back and make adjustments.”

 Not content to be blinkered by her own talent, Cora has been able to look at her competitors and has been impressed by some of their entries.

“Little Jazz Singer by Astrid is excellent,” she said.

“I saw Astrid on the Voice Kids, she’s awesome!  Also, Conor Marcus from the 13-18 years category. I have met Conor at gigs in Northern Ireland, he’s a brilliant songwriter!

The Derry schoolgirl will be hoping to impress the judges in the 2020 competition, which include Tom Odell, Imelda May and former X-Factor contestant Janet Devlin.

Cora is in with a chance of winning an opportunity to work with a top London producer and to create a professional music video, but for Cora, there is one aspect she most enjoys.

“My favourite part [of song writing] is always performing the song to an audience when it is finished!”

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