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Jenna Coughlan, a sixth year student of Gort Community College

Gort musician to take music world by storm with global song-writing competition win

A GORT student is set to create a storm in the music world having being named a winner in a global song-writing competition. Jenna Coughlan, a sixth year student at Gort Community School is one of six young musicians from across the world to be included on a new album with her award winning song ‘Smoke Storms’.
The recording is being released by Future Youth Records,  a non-profit record label dedicated to helping youth create and distribute music promoting social justice based in California. In previous years winners of the song-writing competition would have been flown to LA to record their track, however due to Covid-19 this was not possible.
Speaking to the Clare Champion, Jenna reveals that she managed to record her song for Think Earth Vol 1 from her very own bedroom in Gort. The Leaving Cert student says, “It would have been a nice experience to over there, but at the same time it’s a busy time right now with school so it worked out well really, I was able to record it in my own time. I’d bought recording equipment a year or two ago because I’d decided to try recording some of my songs, and I guess that came in handy.”
She says she was “definitely really surprised” to discover she was one of the six winners of the competition, and the only one from Ireland.
“I never thought that I would actually win when I entered the competition. I did it more as a challenge for myself because I write music all the time. Then they sent me an email firstly that I was picked as one of the final ten, then within a week or so later I got an email saying I was a winner. Within a few days I had a meeting with the producer on Zoom about how the song would go.”
With the recording process happening remotely, it seems almost fitting that Jenna first came across the song-writing competition via social media. “I saw an ad on Instagram for the competition, and I looked up Future Records to learn more about them. I learned they help young people to distribute music and promote environmental justice and I was really interested in the competition.”
Jenna has been writing songs since the age of 14 and is inspired by the likes of Pink, Billie Eilish and Taylor Swift. “It was different for the competition and interesting because I had to write on a topic, you had to write about environmental justice or climate change.”
Explaining the idea behind her award winning song she outlines, “The song is called Smoke Storms and it is kind of a song about how we really need to protect our planet, we’re not looking after it and we are destroying it. Climate changes causes these smoke storms when the sky is filled with smoke, they happen a lot over in the States.”
Given her early success, it’s no surprise the 18-year-old plans on continuing to follow her musical dream, hoping to study music in Cork next year.
Jenna’s family are “thrilled” with her win, she says while also acknowledging the support of her music teachers over the years. “I probably would have never started song-writing or playing music if it wasn’t for them.”
A spokesperson for Gort Community School commented, “Jenna is a true talent with a bright musical career ahead.”
The international song-writing competition received submissions from youth ages 16-24 living in Australia, Canada, Finland, Ireland, Kenya, Morocco, New Zealand, the Philippines, Portugal, Slovenia, South Africa, Sweden, the UK, the US, and Zambia. Songs were voted on by an all-star panel made up of musicians, social justice advocates, entrepreneurs, educators, and music industry professionals. Joining Jenna on the recording are musicians from Canada, South Africa, the USA and Sweden.
The ‘Think Earth’s Volume 1 EP’ and Jenna’s original recording ‘Smoke Storms’ is available on Spotify and Apple Music.

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