SALUTE caught up with Simon Finn fresh off the back of his selection into the Top 100 with ‘Diamond in the Rough’.

  • SALUTE: So Simon, how has the summer been for you?

This summer was great because in June I was engaged as lyricist for a really exciting project that is taking place in France this year. Some up-and-coming writers are launching an exciting project next year and needed someone to write the lyrics in English. The project is still top-secret but it’s been a great opportunity.

  • SALUTE: How did it feel getting selected for the Top 100?

It’s always wonderful having your songs recognised in song competitions and by other people. Out of the four songs that I submitted, the one that got through, “Diamond in the Rough“ was the one that has already had a great deal of success in other competitions, for example, the UK Song Writing Contest in 2016. However, Salute is a completely different type of contest, with a much more varied and contemporary range of music. I was really flattered that my song was selected and very excited to be part of this group.

  • SALUTE: How did you find out about Salute? What do you think about what we’re trying to do for songwriters?

I heard about Salute through a Facebook group for writers this summer. Summer is always the time when I write the most and so I was very keen to enter some of my songs into the competition. I like the fact that the final stage of judging is open to the public. In many other competitions the process is not at all transparent. However, it will be a challenge for the public to judge as the variety of music that has been selected is huge. It will be interesting to see, now that all the genres are in one group, how the public will react to such a mix.

  • SALUTE: Where are you based at the moment?

At the moment I’m based in London, Brussels, Paris, and Spain for work reasons. It means living out of a suitcase but it also means I’m open to some great opportunities in many many places. Being able to speak other languages fluently really opens opportunities for writers.

  • SALUTE: Where did you grow up? What was it like musically?

I grew up in the north-east of England in an era before the Internet, before streaming. The radio was my first inspiration and my source of all new music. In those days, in a sense, what you listen to was already a curated playlist by the radio DJs. I grew up on Pop and top 40 music and make no excuse for loving that genre. However, my interest in music grew and grew and I ended up studying music at university where I was able to really learn about a lot of new genres. In particular, the discovery of world music was a real eye-opener for me.

  • SALUTE: How did you get started making music?

I taught myself to play the guitar and the piano at a very early age and began to compose my own songs as soon as I realised the joy that pop music could create. I wanted to create some of that joy myself. It was an irresistible urge. After university, adult life took over. it wasn’t until my late 30s that I really got to grips with this ambition and decided to take it seriously. I learned production and recording techniques as well as really expanding my listening repertoire and my knowledge of songwriting skills. The last few years I’ve entered a number of competitions with great success but I’m still waiting for that big break.

  • SALUTE: What gear do you use for recording and production?

I like to keep it simple. I have an old Roland electric piano which is always my starting point. I have a set of monitors and a really good iMac on top of that. I like to make really top quality demos and sometimes that is enough. However, when I feel I’ve really produced a song that’s different and special I like to engage an outside producer, to use this demo to create a finished radio-ready production from scratch so that the song can really come alive. This way you get to work with a variety of different vocalists and styles

  • SALUTE: Do you have any releases planned for this year?

As yet I am an unpublished songwriter, so I’m hoping this year will change that thanks to Salute!


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