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Mira Costa High School Student Salem Meade recently was named winning finalist in the John Lennon Songwriting Competition 2020. (photo by Denice Duff)

Salem Meade’s friend Kathy Thiere’s death from ovarian cancer at the age of 70 in 2018, would eventually inspire the then 12-year-old to write a tribute song to her late friend.

“I’ll See You” was written about her “kind-hearted and sweet” friend, a “beach girl,” who loved the ocean and wanted to travel to Spain. Thiere was a friend of Meade's grandmother.

“It is about always feeling that someone you have lost is near you,” said Meade, now 14 years old and a student at Mira Costa High School, in an email. “It also has so many meanings about a loss.”

Meade became a winning finalist in the John Lennon Songwriting Competition 2020, thanks to the song about her “beautiful” friend.

Proceeds from the international contest that was stated in 1997 to “give songwriters a opportunity to express themselves, gain and get their music heard,” according to its website, help support the non-profit John Lennon Educational Tour Bus mobile recording studio, which is “dedicated to providing young people with opportunities to create original music and digital media.”

Meade said she the wrote the main riff on guitar for “I’ll See You,” and co-wrote the chords, lyrics and melody with her mentor Deedee O’Malley. Grant Nicholas mixed and mastered the song. She also made a video made of a collection of photos of Thiere for her memorial.

According to Meade’s mother Kelly, her daughter has been writing and playing music since she was 4 years old. When she was 10, Guns N’ Roses posted her playing guitar on the band’s social media accounts. Last year, she played the main stage at Fiesta Hermosa. She was scheduled to perform at LA Live before a Los Angeles Kings game, but it was canceled due to COVID-19.

Salem Meade said that the contest is competitive.

“I am so happy to know that Flea and Taylor Momsen and Lita Ford and all the other amazing judges heard and voted for this song,” Meade said. George Clinton, Jimmy Cliff, Bob Weir, Sheila E., Natasha Bedingfield and the Bacon Brothers are among some of the other judges.

John Lennon would have turned 80 years old on Oct. 9.

For more information about the contest, visit jlsc.com.

For information about Meade, visit instagram.com/Salem_Darling/.

Contact this reporter at mhixon@tbrnews.com or on Twitter @michaeljhixon.com.

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