Pelham Examiner

Pelham Examiner

Pelham Examiner

At six, their first song was ‘a banger.’ Persistence carries Sade Jacobs to top of YoungArts award.


Sade Jacobs wrote their first song at the age of six. It was titled “Fantasy.”

“It was a banger,” said Jacobs. “I don’t remember most of it, but I do remember the chorus, which is surprising.”

My parents thought a musical education of well-roundedness was super important, and I think that helped in terms of developing my style,” said Jacobs, a Pelham Memorial High School junior.

That early start and the musical study paid off in a big way in December when Jacobs won the YoungArts award in the songwriting category. Jacobs stood out among 9,000 applicants across 10 artistic disciplines.

Along with the honor, Jacobs also earned a monetary award of $250, exclusive creative and professional development support and presentation opportunities in collaboration with major venues and cultural partners nationwide.

Jacobs submitted three original songs in June, mixes of indie, synth and folk music.

“You have to record a video of you performing it and submit a lyric sheet, so it’s not just about your writing, it’s also about presence and performance,” Jacobs said.

For a singer-songwriter, using just three songs to represent their abilities was a challenge.

“I chose the songs I felt had the broadest range and styles of writing and musical capability and vocal range,” said Jacobs.

“Is It Me” and “Blindfold,” two of Jacobs’s submissions, are unreleased but will be out this spring on their next album. The third entry, “Smaller Mess,” is available on Spotify (listen here).

The songs are all close to Jacobs’s heart. “Smaller Mess” is a personal story, “Is It Me” references self-love as an act of resistance, and “Blindfold” is an opportunity to release the artist’s many strong emotions.

Big Thief, Björk, Hozier, boygenius and Florence the Machine are some of Jacobs’s current favorite artists and biggest inspirations.

Jacobs writes on the guitar, some on the piano, and sometimes in their head.

“I have a list of lyric ideas in my notes app, and usually I’ll find about six to eight lines of material,” Jacobs said. “Put that with a disconnected guitar or piano piece that I’ve been thinking about, smash them together and a song is born.”

Jacobs described songwriting as solving a puzzle, as it’s all about finding the right word to fit into a phrase or lyric.

“When you get the right imagery, the right syllables, the right meaning behind it, it’s the greatest feeling ever. It’s about finding the last puzzle piece.”

View Comments (1)
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Julia Findikyan, Contributing Editor
Julia Findikyan is a senior at Pelham Memorial High School. She discovered her love for news 7 years ago, writing for the Colonial Times. She keeps herself busy with theater, soccer, reading, and baking. Julia has a twin (who also writes), and she is thrilled to be a Contributing Editor for the Pelham Examiner!

Comments (1)

The Pelham Examiner intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Commenters must provide their FIRST NAME and their LAST NAME. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. Comments are reviewed and must be approved by a moderator to ensure that they meet these standards. The Pelham Examiner does not allow anonymous comments, and requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments. We will check to see if it works and may also request a street address if an email looks to be spam.
All Pelham Examiner Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • S

    Stephan FindikyanJan 17, 2024 at 3:38 pm

    Yes, Sade! Keep on killing it! Congrats, this is well-deserved.