Award-winning songwriter Guy Chambers mentors next generation hoping to pen hits

The celebrated songwriter behind hit single Angels has delivered a master class to young people aspiring to break into the music industry.

Guy Chambers, who has worked with pop stars including Robbie Williams, Kylie Minogue and Beverley Knight, welcomed four young adults on the YOUYOU mentoring project to his studios in Erskine Road, Primrose Hill. The scheme provides opportunities for aspiring 17 to 21-years-olds to develop skills needed in the creative industries.

Mr Chambers decided to get involved after he was approached by founder Brenda Ramsey following a positive experience mentoring young people with another charity.

Guy, 49, who lives in Chalk Farm, said: “There’s this massive pressure for young people to be good at 18.

“It’s a lot of pressure. Debbie Harry had a hit at 30. Not everybody can be great in their 20s.”

The songwriter, who sometimes has to conquer writers block by reading books, watching films and going on an annual 10-day retreat during which he fasts, revealed that Robbie Williams was his favourite person to collaborate with.

“I like the way his mind works,” he said. “I like his sense of humour. He does not take himself seriously.”

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The pair met when Guy was having his house repossessed and was ready to become a teacher and they were “both down on their luck”.

It was the “chemistry” between them that was key to their successful relationship. “Before then I was writing with lots of great people but I did not have somebody ready to explode like he was,” he said.

They went on to collaborate on five albums and although they produced many hit songs, the most successful by far has been Angels, which has sold one million copies worldwide.

Guy believes the success was due to the fact the song “resonates with people’s lives in different ways”.

But he admitted that the industry is tough and this is just one of the reasons he works with the next generation of talent to pass on his experience.

Zoe Oputah, 19, was highly complimentary about the master class, where she and the aspiring songwriters were given feedback on their own songs and learned what makes a hit.

The University of Greenwich accounting and finance student said: “It was amazing. Listening to someone who knows what it’s like from the inside has been brilliant. I like the fact that he’s very honest.”

YOUYOU founder Miss Ramsey said: “We are delighted with the collaboration with Guy as a mentor, to help the next generation of songwriters at the early stages of their careers.”

Paul Rees, former editor-in-chief of Q Magazine, was also on hand to offer industry advice on marketing and connecting with audiences.