Interview: Twinnie talks new EP “Welcome To The Club” and more

Twinnie interview 2022

The multi-talented TWINNIE is set to release her new EP, ‘Welcome To The Club’ on June 3rd, and decided to use the opportunity to create her own short film with each music video a part of a wider story.

Cait Watters took some time to talk to Twinnie about the EP, filming and the importance of using her platform.

This June, you release your new EP, ‘Welcome To The Club’. It’s a collection of tracks with some important messages, dealing with themes and topics such as inclusivity, mental health and acceptance. With such delicate subject matter, was there any sort of apprehension about putting a work like that out there?

The only one [track] I was apprehensive about was ‘Dying Inside’ because I’m not used to releasing ballads. I think that one, for me personally, is deeply personal and it left me feeling a bit vulnerable and raw. But, as a whole, I wanted to highlight the human experience. That’s what ‘Welcome To The Club’ is: a metaphor for welcome to the world and all the feelings that we all go through, and highlight the fact that we’re all more similar than we are different. The song goes ‘some days are down, some days are up’ but we all ultimately need love. That’s what we need as humans. I thought the whole concept was cool and I enjoyed filming all the videos and doing a short film because I wanted to reach more people. It’s been amazing the support around it.

How did the EP come together? Did you set out to write these four songs with that overarching, interlocking theme? Or did you just start writing and saw that this was the direction in which the project was headed?

I always think ahead, which is one of my problems. I’m never really present as I’m always thinking all the time. For this I had an idea. Hollywood Gypsy, my debut album, was released during the pandemic and that was all about my two worlds, my cultures, clashing and what it means. It was just a really good introduction to me and all my issues and everything, it was a good way to get to know me. I wanted to extend on that.

I’ve been going back in two worlds, from Nashville to England quite a lot, and I thought that was interesting because it really mirrored my childhood of growing up in a traveller community and a normal community. There’s just so many things in sync; and extending on my journey, my personal journey, but wanting to highlight the emotions that we all go through, as humans. I don’t think I’d ever done that before purposely in my music.

When I wrote ‘Welcome To The Club’, I knew that it was a jam but it had a deeper meaning and I thought it would be cool to highlight in the video different types of people, different backgrounds. We shot it in Freedom Bar, which is the bar that I spent my teens in when I first came to London. I’m so used to going back and forth to Nashville that I wanted to highlight all the artists here, pop and country, who then feature in the music video and then did the same in Nashville. ‘Welcome To The Club’ takes you on this journey that we’re all human but also my personal journey from England to America. Every song after that – or before that, I should say, as the film is in a different order – you’ll see one half which is the break-up that gets me into therapy and then every time I go to see a therapist we talk about a different issue that then leads into the different videos.

I’ve never seen it done in a film before. I’m sure it has been in a proper film but [not] in a music way and I thought it covered a lot of what it means to be human.

Was that always the idea with this EP? To create that film and make it a wider, visual project too?

Yeah, I’m such a visual person. Even my first album, you probably don’t do a video for every song, that’s not really the norm, but I was hellbent on doing a visual for every song. The video element allows the listener to get to know you more, visually, and what you’re thinking and your character and mannerisms. I was like ‘if we’re going to do this, they all need a video’ so I wanted to work out a way in which they all tied together. That was always my plan.

What was the filming process like for all that? With each of them pieces of a short film, was it the case of treating it like that and getting it knocked out all at once?

I’ve worked in TV and film, that’s my background, so I knew you do a storyboard and map it out. I directed it as well. It was amazing to see everything that I’ve had in my head come to life. That was the best. Out of everything, that’s where my joy comes from. I enjoy creating and writing the songs and walking out the room like ‘yes, we’ve got a good song’, that joyful feeling. When you’ve had something up here [in your mind] and and it comes to life and you see the final product and you’re like ‘wow, I did that’. Regardless of how well it does in terms of streams or numbers, I’ve created something that’s out in the world and I’m super proud of it.

It was a very intense shoot. We shot for six days, it was a lot of organisation and I did everything. I’m such a control freak and I knew what I needed, so [everything] down to have people got water on set, things like that. I had an amazing team, don’t get me wrong, they were all brilliant. The styling, the hair and make-up, the crew. I shot it with Fraser Taylor, who was assisted by his brother John Taylor, and those two guys were the perfect fit for me. They knew how they wanted it to look because they were in the band The Young Guns – I think they’re about to go back on tour – and they were amazing because they knew how my brain works as an artist. It was a great week, I was exhausted afterwards.

I can imagine!

I think it’s so much better to blast it all in a week and you’re done.

There’s still one track left on the EP to be revealed, and it’s called ‘Something Or Somebody’. What can you tease about it and the accompanying video?

It’s about the vices that we all have, whether that be a boy you should stop calling that doesn’t care about you; or smoking or drinking too much, whatever. The video isn’t necessarily about that, but it highlights that. The video is fun, and Mandip Gill, who’s in Doctor Who, features in it and throughout the whole thing and she’s amazing. I can’t wait for you to watch it.

During the pandemic, you kept busy. Not only did you release an album but you also launched ‘I Know a Woman’, a global music collective. How did that come about and was that something you’ve always wanted to do?

I wouldn’t say it’s something that I’ve always wanted to do. I think because I’ve been part of an actor’s union, and I think because the music industry can be a bit, you know, it’s not as transparent as it should be. I see my friends in the music industry who are artists, producers or writers and I see how hard [it is for them]. It’s hard anyway, full stop, whether you’re on the business side or the creative side. But it’s two different parts of the brain and I think creatives struggle because they’re putting a piece of themselves out into the world and that comes with anxiety. Whether you get praise or criticism, you’re still going to get someone’s opinion and, half the time, artists don’t create art for the sake the of everybody else. It’s more a form of therapy and they just do it.

I was finding during the pandemic that there was so many people struggling and I was like ‘why are these artists struggling when they’re on massive labels?’. I don’t care what people say, it doesn’t matter how famous people are or how much money they have, they’re still human beings and they should have the correct tools and support. I think it only gets worse when you get to that sort of level. I was seeing it all over and I couldn’t turn a blind eye. It’s something that I’d gone through and had therapy and I was like ‘why is this not standard?’. So I set up this collective to battle that, because my primary mission is, and it’s ongoing, to standardise therapy within label and publishing deals. For artists and creatives that are signed, it should be that if you’re struggling then you get to talk to someone for free.

Absolutely.

I was sick of seeing people getting taken advantage of. I wanted to battle that, and highlight the amazing female talent. That’s been a conversation for the last ten years and it’s getting better but it’s still not where it needs to be. The reason I do music is to connect to people. I remember those people that were helping me and it’s important to give back. If I can intro somebody or put on these writing camps that include men because we need male voices, then it kinda tackles both problems because we create and support an opportunity for upcoming but, also, established [creatives]. It’s like mixing everybody and that’s one of the reasons why I love country music. You go backstage at C2C and everybody, no matter how big the artist, has got their doors open. It seems like a family and I like that. Music can be very lonely, especially if you’re a solo artist, and I don’t want anybody to feel like that.

Bringing people together is what music does and I’m really passionate about that. I’ll continue to help people where I can, and use my platform to do that.

You actually brought a whole lot of people together recently too by teaming up with Young Voices. I saw a few clips and it looked incredible and a lot of fun.

That was amazing! Kids remind you of the pure joy in life. I was waving at them, there’s like six thousand of them, and they’re like *excited noises*. They’re singing my songs and, to them, it’s a really big deal. They think I’m a massive pop star *laughs* which I’m not but it’s amazing. A lot of them are like ‘I wanna be a singer’ and if you can inspire somebody to want to follow their dream then that’s such an incredible thing. I remember going to my first concert at six years old and being completely obsessed. I was like ‘I want to do this’. When you’re that small, everything is massive. They’ve got such a naivety and wonder about the world, they don’t lose their magic. I think as adults we can really learn from children. They bring back the joy.

Speaking of magic, you also performed the national anthem before the Carabao Cup final in February at Wembley. What an incredible moment that was for yourself and for country music in the UK.

It was amazing! That was weird. I think it was like 86,000 people, I couldn’t hear any of them because I had my in-ears in. It was incredible to be asked, I was very proud.

You’ve also got some shows coming up shortly with Tony Hadley, playing at some great venues across the country. Excited?

Yeah, I am! I’m supporting him in York which all my family are coming to. I’ve got a few dates with him, which is iconic. And Sister Sledge, I’m supporting them at The O2 on my birthday!

That’s going to be a great birthday!

Yeah! I’m really excited about that. I’m really grateful to be playing. Thank you Tony and Sister Sledge for having me!

And thank you, Twinnie, for taking the time to chat with us!

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