This competition has been a long, long time in the making. It started as a discussion around a dinner table that turned into a passion project. We spent months figuring out how we could make this plan – a songwriting competition for social change a reality.
So here we are. Five days after the UK’s historic referendum vote on our place in the EU and the country is still reacting to the outcome. It’s raised a load of questions about what this means for young people, and how we’re going to manage in the future without our EU membership.
It seems fitting that when there’s so much discussion about young people – especially 16 & 17-year-olds – being denied a say in their future that we proudly announce the winner of the Tracks 4 Change songwriting competition…
Yep, the songwriter who topped the lot is 20-year-old Ilarna Nche and her sister, 16-year-old Towalla, who performed their track ‘Here’s to the World’. Rob, Maisie and Jamal were blown away with the lyrical content of the track, remarking that it hit the brief perfectly.
Ilarna’s track is all about equality, and we think that her opening lines are especially pertinent to the country’s current political situation:
“Equality/ Is what we want/ Why are we fighting/ Why can’t we see/ It shouldn’t matter what religion, culture you do believe/ We are all one”
We caught up with her to find out more about the girl behind the track.
Hey Ilarna! Congratulations. So, first up: how did you discover the competition?
I saw Maisie Williams’ video about the competition on Twitter and couldn’t wait to get involved. I’ve been songwriting since I was 8 years old and thought it’d be the perfect opportunity to be heard and to get people to listen.
So what motivated you to enter Tracks 4 Change?
I loved the fact that this competition was focused on song lyrics as you find there really aren’t many competitions created for songwriters – usually it’s all based on performance. I chose to get my sister, Towalla, involved because I felt she could bring the the message of the song to life with her voice.
Did you start scribbling lyrics straight away, or was it a slow-burning thing?
Once I had decided what the theme of the song would be, the first thing I wrote was the melody of the chorus. The chorus was quite straightforward to write and didn’t take long. As for the verses, they took way, way longer as I had so many ideas.
What was your inspiration?
My mum has been very supportive with my music and has always encouraged me to believe in myself, never give up and chase my dreams so she is definitely the largest inspiration. I’ve always admired artists like Michael Jackson, Black Eyed Peas, Bob Marley. Their tracks, such as ‘Man in the Mirror’, ‘Where is the Love?’ and ‘One Love’, are songs which spread positivity and inspired me to write a song addressing current issues we face today.
What would you like to do next with your music?
My goal is to further develop my songwriting skills and to continue spreading positive messages through music – hopefully to a wider audience! I’m really hoping that plenty of people hear this song and take from my message that “we are one people, we are all equal”.
I’d also like to thank Tracks4Change for this competition and for giving my sister and I such a wonderful opportunity – we’ll never forget it!