By Lauren Shum
Senior Sabrina Reitman was in gym class on March 2 when she received a text from her mother. The message shocked her; she immediately called her mom to confirm it and checked her email to make sure it was real. The shocking news? Reitman’s original song L*A*D*Y was selected as a finalist for the John Lennon Songwriting Contest, an international competition for professional and amateur songwriters.
Initially, Reitman had low expectations for the competition since there were so many people participating and few of them were teens. “I didn’t think I would make it to the finals,” she said. “It was more of a ‘why not go for it’ type of thing. I really lucked out!”
Reitman began writing L*A*D*Y when she was nine years old and added to the song as she got older. “I wrote the general chorus and verse of the song for a little boyfriend of mine when I was nine,” Reitman said. “It was his birthday and I thought it would be nice to write him a song. But I was only nine, so I didn’t realize that my message wasn’t necessarily appropriate for his birthday.”
Reitman submitted her song to the John Lennon Songwriting Contest to receive feedback on it. L*A*D*Y’s message intends to inform boys how they should be treating girls and to teach girls how they should be treated. “It is a self-empowering anthem for young women that states that you should accept nothing less than a gentleman,” she said.
Explaining the song’s title, Reitman said, “It was originally L-A-D-Y, spelling out ‘lady,’ but the asterisks look like flowers and are prettier and more feminine.”
Reitman began singing when she two. Her first song, composed at age five, was a song to help her remember her address and phone number. “It’s easier to remember things when you put a melody to them. From there, I realized it was fun making up melodies, so I started putting elementary lyrics to little tunes that would come to me,” she said. Today, she has 15 fully polished songs.
When writing songs, Reitman first writes the lyrics as a poem. “When reading through the lyrics, a melody will pop out that I feel captures the message of the song,” she said. Reitman also hears the instrumental parts in her head; she sings it for musicians who can play them on live instruments and write the sheet music for her.
L*A*D*Y was produced at the Music Palace Recording Studio. It is Reitman’s first song to be fully produced, since the process is costly and time-consuming. However, in the near future, Reitman hopes to record a full album and submit her work to additional contests.