In the past seven years, Brianne and Alanna Finn-Morris, known collectively as Fionn, have graduated from busking Taylor Swift songs, at the age of 12 at Vancouver’s Granville Island location to release their second EP, “Everyone’s A Critic” on the prestigious 604 Records indie label (Nickelback, Theory of A Dead Man, Carly Rae Jepsen)
Spurred on by their classical music teacher mother, Cheryl, who not only supported their early busking activities but also encouraged their emerging songwriting skills by taking them to Nashville to engage in writing circles, the then 14-year old twins set about learning the craft of penning their own material.
“We started out singing country because we were both big Taylor Swift fans,” explained Brianne on the phone from Vancouver. “Our mother kind of threw us in the deep end by taking us to Nashville. We got a bit of a head start that way. We became involved with the Nashville Songwriting Association which stage these song-writing circles where they take your original material, tear it apart and then help you reconstruct it so that you learn the rules of correct song-writing structure.”
Yet when the girls auditioned for 604 Records, co-owner Jonathan Simkin, he felt Fionn needed to polish their material and shape a more specific musical direction. “We did this audition at the label’s sound stage and it was really nerve-wracking,” Brianne allowed. “Jonathan told us to work on our songwriting a bit more because he didn’t know what our style was. We were trying to get out of that country music twang. We needed a bit more time to work on our style but we eventually got to the point where the label signed us.”
Fionn’s six-song self-titled debut EP was released in 2018 with their debut single “Skeleton” reaching #5 on the CBC Music Charts. And with the support of 604 Records (co-owned by Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger), the girls have enjoyed showcase exposure in both New York and Los Angeles and were able to tour Canada in support of Royal Wood.
Now with a new six-song EP titled “Everyone’s A Critic”, the girls have shown the evolution of their songwriting prowess with an alternative pop sound, strong on vocal harmonies that have been aided by the production help of Kevin Maher who is also the lead vocalist for another 604 act, Fake Shark.
The girls note in their press release that “Everyone’s A Critic” is a reflection of current social media trends where everyone hides behind the veil of their phones, “Projecting insecurities onto those we love, hate or envy. What this all boils down to is the revelation we have come to in the last two years of feeling lost, confused, depressed yet overjoyed as well. Everyone’s a critic, therefore make your mistakes, follow your bliss and carry on, it has been a liberating conclusion to come to.”
According to Brianne, the specific idea for this song stemmed from a party that the girls’ attended. “Some people were being so judgemental, they were so hypocritical of other people,” she noted. “The song is a kind of tongue-in-cheek dig at these people. When you put your music out there, everyone has something to say and you can’t please everyone. In this age of the internet, everyone is a critic!”
Other songs on the album reflect the girls’ Gen Z stature with “Modern Medication”, “Get Stoned” and “Mattress On The Floor” exhibiting their tight vocal harmonies, danceable production and alternative pop direction.
In reflecting their own evolution and maturity, the girls have started to write material with outside input, “Alanna and I used to write songs separately then we’d bring them to each other and try to pick out which ones worked best. But it’s nice to have a third person to act as a referee between the two of us.”
They also have a home recording studio and Brianne notes they are quickly picking up tips on how to self-produce future material.
Fionn would love to build up enough of a fan base to headline tours in the U.S and Canada but the current COVID-19 virus has put all future touring plans on the backburner which has meant the girls have been turning to social media to stay in touch with their supporters.
“We do a lot of blogs and we use Tik Tok a lot, try to keep the content interesting but we are trying not to overdo social media, it can be a bit toxic if you are not careful,” Brianne notes. “The trick is to find the right balance rather than get too addicted to it”