Hidden Gems: Fionn

A beautiful bond, stunningly rich vocals, and intriguingly honest lyrics are just three things that Alanna and Brianne Finn-Morris have to offer. Having emerged into the music scene back in 2018 with their self-titled debut, the exciting up-and-coming twin sister duo, which goes by the stage name Fionn, are truly on the cusp of entering their most authentic era of music to date.

Issy Todd had a call with singer Brianne to talk all things songwriting, touring and the Vancouver-based band’s latest alt-pop single ‘All Good’. 

Beginning with your songwriting process, what is it like or does it vary from track to track?

It definitely varies. For some of our songs, we will write them solo. We rarely write together because we’ll fight too much! Songwriting is one of our only ways to show our individuality a little bit because people always group us in together because we’re twins. We’re always kind of one unit. So we’ll usually write our songs solo and then come together to finish them off. But then for some, we have a third co-writer and so then we’ll write them together. That’s what we did with our friend Kevin James Maher for ‘All Good’. He was producing it whilst we were writing and that was a really fun time so it kinda varies.

So then, is there a specific space or timeframe you find yourself in where you write your most authentic work or does it again vary?

Yeah, I think that’s the fun thing about songwriting is that it’s never the same and it never gets boring! I feel like for ‘All Good’, it’s a little bit more light-hearted so it was kind of like, “Let’s just have a lot of fun with this!” But for more heartfelt stuff, we would usually write solo and it would be based on a big emotion – that’s how I’d describe it.

Furthermore, what’s been the most rewarding thing about writing your own music and putting it out into the world?

I think that it’s pretty cool starting a song from nothing essentially. If a song is based on something you have experienced in real life and then suddenly there is this song baby that is born and then it’s out in the world and has a music video, and you saw it from when it was barely anything – there’s something that feels really surreal about that.

On the other hand, have there ever been any challenges to being so vulnerable in some of your art and working together to bring the songs to life?

Definitely! I feel like it’s mainly feelings of doubt in yourself and seeking approval from others which is something we all can do. When you put so much of yourself into your work, it’s really hard to separate yourself from it. If somebody makes a little comment or it’s not doing as well as you want it to do, it can really hurt. I feel like we’ve gotten to a point now where that happens less but when we first started when we were 18, we were a big pile of emotions! We hadn’t built up any armour yet so we’re a lot better with it now but that was definitely a challenge at the beginning.

In regards to your songwriting, have there ever been any lyrics that you almost didn’t release because they’ve felt too personal to you?

I don’t think so – not yet at least! I’ve just never felt like any subject matters in our songs have been enough to make me nervous to release them. It’s more so the whole general release process which is more mentally challenging. People always think when you do put yourself out there, you don’t get hurt by things still because you just seem confident enough.

This has been an exciting period of growth and recognition for you both – is there a main lesson that you’ve taken away from this transition into pop?

With these releases that we’ve been doing lately, the most important thing for us has been authenticity. We released a record that I’m really proud of and was really fun to make but when I look back on it, I wonder if we’re portraying the truest versions of ourselves. It’s not totally unauthentic but it’s not quite as authentic as what I feel like we’re doing now is. On the latest album, there’s a mix of the more emotional and some more lighthearted stuff and I think that it showcases what we’re like in life a little bit more.

Reflecting on this period of growth, do you have any advice you’d give to your younger self, say to your 16-year-old self?

I love that question! I think I’d definitely say not to care what people think because that’s when you start to become inauthentic. I feel like we started off very authentic in our journey but then we became afraid of what people thought and that ruins the authenticity. I think authenticity is the most important part of art.

Yes, it’s so easy to get caught up in what other people think! That’s a really important message about not letting your judgement and direction get clouded by other peoples’ opinions.

It’s hard when you’re young too because you don’t have the confidence built up in your own self yet. Some young people do but when we were younger, we were a little bit timider and not sure of who we were yet. So if I could go back, I’d tell my younger self to not care what other people think!

Moving on to the theme of live performances, I saw that you played at a music festival in Vancouver recently. I was wondering what is your favourite thing about being on stage?

I feel the most confident on the stage. It’s just so nice to see other people having fun. I love going to festivals and shows anyway and just looking around and seeing people dancing. When a show feels effortless and you’re so rehearsed, it just feels like you’re floating! No two shows are ever the same and you get to meet a bunch of new people when you play a show, it’s just so fun.

Is there a colour that you think represents that feeling of being on the stage?

I’m going to say a regal green. I don’t know… you just almost feel like a different person when you get on stage. I would consider myself a bit more of a shy person in real life, but on stage, I just step into this relaxed, calm person.

It might be a bit premature to ask, but do you perhaps have any visions of how you’d like your own headline tour to look, for example, the visuals?

I know that we’ve been incorporating lots of fruit in our cover art and merch so I think that there might be some fruit in there. Something really abstract. Abstract and fruit.

Excitingly, you recently released your new single ‘All Good’ too. Your work often seems to be quite focused on colourful visuals. Is there a colour that you think best represents the track?

I feel like the track is red. Either red or pink? Let’s go in between and say magenta! It’s a little badass, which is fun to let that side of ourselves out in the song. Everybody has their badass side so I’d say that’s the red part but then the pink part is the more girly side of it so if you mix it, magenta.

Moreover, what is the meaning behind this track for you?

It’s the first track that touches on our bisexuality. We’ve been a little bit afraid because people fetishise us as twins already so we get lots of comments that feel really gross. That’s why we’ve been a little bit hesitant to mention anything about our sexuality but part of getting older and caring less about that kinda thing is realising all of those comments are going to come in no matter what, so who cares! The song is about crushing on girls but we wanted to make it super abstract. It’s setting a feeling rather than a specific scenario. It references a bunch of random things like The Powerpuff Girls but it’s about having a crush on a girl.

What was the most prominent thing you learnt about yourself throughout the writing process of this one?

I’ve learnt that I’m stronger than I give myself credit for. We’ve been doing this for a long time now and we just won’t give up. In the pandemic especially, there were moments when we thought, is this it? There were no shows happening, the social media game is really hard and it’s so saturated on every platform and there are so many people doing the same thing. We just learned that we’re not going to give up and I think that takes a certain amount of strength after a while.

And leading on from that, is there a message you’d like your fans to take away from their listening experience of ‘All Good’?

I think it’s more so just have fun with it. Harness your inner badass. Play it in your car, open the sunroof, blast it and have fun!

You’ve released a new music video for the track, what was the creative process like and inspiration for the video?

We usually listen to our songs on repeat to figure out ideas for the videos but for this one, I didn’t have to! I just thought of bored cheerleaders. It’s kind of funny because it’s the opposite of what a cheerleader is supposed to be. We were having so much fun talking about the concept so we had to do it. We wanted to make it look like a coming-of-age movie where the evil cheer coach is trying to tear us down but we scare him away with rock and roll. It’s lighthearted and funny so that’s why we did it.

This may be a tough question but just quickly would you rather only write music but never perform again or not make new music and just be able to perform/tour?

I’d say I’d probably rather be able to continue writing music. It’s such a good emotional release and so fun to do with other music too so that would have to be my choice.

Moving onto the future of the band, do you have three words that could describe what’s to come for you both as you embark on a really exciting journey?

Honest, a bit rootsy and fun!

Finally, what’s on your bucket list? Where would you like to be in 5 years’ time?

I would love to just be able to tour as much as possible. That’s our biggest goal! Also, touring in a way that’s not super stressful for us. We want to have the money to make it a more comfortable touring experience. We love playing shows and feel like that’s what we’ve missed for the last three years so we just really want to travel and play for people everywhere.

Written by Issy Todd // photography by Matthew Miller

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