Women’s Day ’23 – MavisEllen Jackson

What is it like to be a female songwriter over 50?

I am 77, female, and a songwriter. There are many paths through the labyrinth of discovery that is songwriting and there’s a story attached to every stage of my journey. However, I’m going to answer the question, how does it feel? I wrote my first song, for my daughter’s 21st birthday in 2003. Little did I realise the enormous impact that songwriting would have on my life. I had no previous musical experience or training, and I don’t play any instrument. Also, I am not a confident singer or performer.

When I write lyrics I ‘hear’ or ‘feel’ the melody and later I can hold a tune well enough to sing it to a musician or producer. They can then arrange and play a backing track which they present for my approval and then either they sing a demo of my song themselves or find other vocalists to record it. I mostly write songs because I have to, not because I want to! I find it impossible to ignore the words that stream into my mind. Occasionally I sing a song from beginning to end and then rush to find paper and a pen and try to remember how it began. Songwriting plays a major part now in my everyday life. To my amazement I find I can write for most genres and if I haven’t done it yet, I love a challenge.

My songwriting has, on the whole, had a positive effect on me. I’m an optimist, my next song is always going to be my best. I am not famous or well known, but I have achieved personal satisfaction in small but significant ways. My first album or collection of songs ‘Rainbows Of Hope’ led to a concert where for three hours talented amateur singers sang only my songs and enough money was raised to pay for a year’s education for 72 children in ‘Clouds Of Hope’ an orphanage I had visited, in Underberg, South Africa. My song ‘Real Life Country Song’ won ‘song of the month’ in Nashville in 2013 and my folk songs are frequently played on our local radio. I can’t describe the feeling of sheer joy and happiness I get when a presenter plays one of my songs and names me as the songwriter.

I consider my songwriting at times to be a ‘gift’ and at others a ‘curse’ The fact that it has come to me in the later stages of my life I welcome, as it helped me adjust to retirement which I found very hard. At present I’m working on three albums, collections of Gospel songs, of children’s serendipity style story songs and my third 80’s style pop album. My songwriting is continually evolving and luckily has not reduced over the years. Thankfully I have never experienced writer’s block. I owe an awful lot to the love, encouragement, support and talents of others. My lyrics would have remained words on paper and my melodies just tunes in my head without their willingness to collaborate.

I lead a songwriting group ‘A Lilt Of Songwriters’ for Bournemouth U3A (University Of The Third Age). Not really a university, it is a National charity for retired and semi-retired people that provides many different interest groups for its members. Several of my groups’ members had never written a song and all have written a variety of songs now. Since the pandemic as a person with serious ongoing health issues I have run my weekly sessions via Zoom. During that period my members have written over 60 songs and we have created three CDs of sea related songs.

The moral of my story is that it is never too late to achieve your dreams even if it is a dream that you never knew you had. You can listen to all 22 CDs/collections of my songs free at https://www.mavisellenjackson.co.uk

And you can listen, also free to ‘A Lilt Of Songwriter’s’ songs https://soundcloud.com/mavisellen-jackson

Women’s Day ’23 – MavisEllen Jackson




  1. Such a great story in the fact that you’ve never let you music inabilities keep you from bringing to life your lyric-writing passion, MavisEllen! Quite cool, too, and interesting, at how you manage your lyrics from page to song with that “you-can(must)-do-it attitude, as well as by way of help from others with whom you connect with common musical goal. Thanks for sharing! Best with those albums, CDs, et al, and with writing in those varied lyric genres!