New Mills school student named runner up in international songwriting competition with tune written in lockdown

A New Mills School student with dreams of a career in music has been named runner-up in an international songwriting contest.

By Ed Dingwall
Tuesday, 9th March 2021, 8:48 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th March 2021, 12:30 pm

Isla Hutchins, 15, was thrilled to hear she had been successful in the competition run by Write the Word, an education initiative based in the United States.

She said: “It was a great opportunity for me, an aspiring musician and producer, to share my music with others.

“I spent hours writing and recording the song, so it definitely feels good to receive recognition for my work.”

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New Mills School's rising star Isla Hutchins.

Her entry, The Darling Kite, was written during the third national lockdown and tells the story of a home-made kite and its young pilot, as they race around on the 'runway’.

It was inspired by the likes of Jacob Collier, Kitty MacFarlane and Karine Polwart.

Isla said: “It tells the tale of their adventure, as the kite soars among the birds in the soft, late spring breeze as they sing.”

The song was picked out by competition judge Michael Lydon, co-founder of Rolling Stone magazine.

He said: “Add up all these sterling qualities, and you have a first class song you’ll be playing, and loving, for decades.”

Isla only began playing her first instrument, the drums, around three years ago, but has already progressed on to piano, guitar and music production technology – signs of a rare talent following in the footsteps of her dad Adam, director of the New Mills Brass Band.

She said: “I intend on keeping writing and recording music - hopefully people will keep listening too.”

To listen to the track, go to