Rising star Twinnie is making an undeniable mark on the country scene with her spunky personality, powerful pop-country vocals, and storytelling abilities. Originally from England, the multi-talented singer grew up acting, dancing, and singing, often landing musical theater roles on London’s West End, the UK’s version of Broadway. Eventually, Twinnie began making her way across the pond to Nashville to begin songwriting with some of the biggest writers in Music City.
After making waves with her autobiographical 2020 album, Hollywood Gypsy, she now celebrates the release of her bold and uplifting, four-track EP entitled Welcome To The Club. Produced with Ben Johnson and Johnny Reno, Welcome To The Club brings together people from every walk of life with a call to action for everyone to accept each other and spread love and unity while being unapologetically themselves. Twinnie, a devout mental health advocate, has also released a project coinciding with her four-track release, which combines all four of the song’s accompanying music videos into one collective short film.
Twinnie recently caught up with Country Now to talk about her musical journey, Welcome To The Club EP, and more.
Read on to find out more about Twinnie in this exclusive Q&A below.
How did you begin a career in country music?
So, I have been on stage since I was four years old. I was the typical stage school kid. I participated in musical theater, TV, and film, and I always tried to play music. But, it was not straightforward, especially coming from a family that I came from that did not know anything about music. So, I found my first manager when I was doing a show. I was in We Will Rock You, my first job in the West End, which was like you are equivalent to Broadway. It was with Brian May and Roger Taylor, obviously known as Queen. I was a massive fan of them. I found my first manager then. So, I started writing, and up until then, I had been writing by myself. Co-writing was a whole different world. But, someone said to me, ‘You should go to Nashville.’ All of my great songwriting heroes had been Billy Joel and Joni Mitchell, those incredible storytellers. That is what first attracted me to Nashville. I have been going back and forth for about eight years. Then, a few years ago, I got signed, and everything fell into place. I will say that all of the other stuff I did before with my acting, background dancing, and singing all helped with my artistry, which led me to where I am now.
Congratulations on your new EP, Welcome To The Club. Can you tell me about that project?
Yes. I think Welcome To The Club is an extension of Hollywood Gypsy. It is all about the community, inspired by Nashville and the community I come from, which is the traveling community. Then, it takes you through this human experience. I feel like, when I was writing, Welcome To The Club, I noticed a lot of division and sad, angry people. So, it got me thinking that we are more similar than different. So, I wanted to put my art out into the world to help bridge the gap and make people realize that we all got stuff we are going through. We are all human. We all got things we are trying to figure out. So, Welcome To The Club highlights the human experience and the feelings that go along with being a human being.
When you came to Nashville, did you experience any culture shock?
I have been so used to being versatile in different disciplines, whether dancing or acting. When you get a film job, you meet a cast of people, and are in it for about four weeks, and then leave. But, co-writing was a shock to the system because I had only written by myself. But, once you got the hang of that, I think that was the biggest shock. This was not the first time I recorded in Nashville. I recorded my debut album, and there were many times that I had been in studios in Nashville, whether it be Marathon Music Works or somewhere else. I think this is the first full-length body of work recorded in Nashville. But, with my music, no matter where I am recording, whether in Sweden, England, or Nashville, it is me singing it. It is me inspired by my surroundings. So, I feel like there is a through line even though I have taken inspiration from different sounds. I think that is what is special about Nashville. Welcome To The Club is a call to action for everyone to be authentic with themselves. I’ve always appreciated the fact that maybe I think a little differently. I’m from somewhere else, and I have my thing going on, which I think is special. I feel celebrated for who I am, and I think that’s the message that I wanted to put into the title track for the EP.
What music influenced you growing up?
I have a very eclectic taste in music. My grandparents would listen to The Rat Pack, and my mom would listen to Madonna. Then my dad would listen to Queen, Billy Joel, and Dolly Parton. Then, I would listen to Shania Twain, Taylor Swift, Spice Girls, and all that female empowerment. But I also love Tupac. I believe there is a synergy between rap and country because they care about the lyrics and the story. I would say that my sound has that pop element. But, it also has a storytelling structure, much like the Nashville way.
Is there an overall theme going on with this EP?
I think Welcome To The Club is a metaphor for welcome to the world. We don’t know how lucky or what a miracle it is to be here and exist. Anything can change in seconds. I think it is a call to action to be authentically yourself, whatever that may be, you know, in any community or religion, any walk of life. I think life is too short not to be happy and not to show the world who you are, regardless of whether society agrees with it or your friends agree with it or your family. You can only live your life for yourself. That’s what Welcome To The Club is all about. It’s about being human and figuring it out. We all have these feelings that we don’t know how to deal with. We also have a short film to coincide with this EP, which is about the whole world I’m from.
Can you break down what fans can expect from the short film?
Yes. I wanted the listener to be taken on a journey visually. “One Heart” is the breakup song that gets you into therapy. Whenever I see this therapist, we talk about a different issue, which leads to another music video. It takes you through this journey of like, ‘Oh yeah. Even though you don’t think it or if you think that person has their sh** together, we’re all the same.’ So, my biggest message is: you should never judge a book by its cover. I want to fill the world with a little more love.
Tell me about the track “Dying Inside” from the EP.
“Dying Inside” was one of the songs that I didn’t want to put on the record because, as an artist, I like being upbeat. I like everybody being up dancing and having a good time. I feel like my music is more on the uptempo side of things. I wrote this song on December 23. I called up my friend, Jamie Kenny. I was like, ‘I need to write this tonight. I do not know if you are around, but I need to get this out.’ It was so relatable, I think, at the end of the year of Christmas or birthdays, which makes you think it is a reflection time. I thought about the entire year and how I had put out a debut record but was not allowed to tour. It was all like the weight of the world was on me, and I think I am very good about tackling how I feel with humor. I do that. I self-criticize and make a joke because that’s how I deal with sadness. With social media, everyone puts on this filter or this show, and it was the perfect song to go in-between to take you down to bring you back up. We wrote, “Welcome To The Club” because everybody does it on social media. They will put their best self and best life. But, life isn’t like that. It’s messy and complicated. I feel like it couldn’t have happened any better. I’m grateful for the pandemic in this instance. I feel like many great things came out of it, and people did, to a point, realize what was important. As far as music is concerned, you don’t know how well something will do. There are so many variables that are out of your control. I thought whatever I put out, I need to be proud of it. It has to be me, my truth, and my story. I feel like I’ve accomplished that and captured the journey we’ve all been on through the pandemic.
You co-wrote and co-produced all of the songs on the EP. Was that a difficult undertaking?
I am a control freak. So my two favorite things are the creation when I’m writing and then when I’m on stage. All of the other stuff I could deal without. I do not like social media or the business side of things. My brain is creative, and that’s the sweet spot where I find joy. For Welcome To The Club, I came up with this welcome to the world idea. Even with the visuals, they help with the storytelling. I like to focus on the bodies of work. I know a lot of people do singles nowadays because of the market. But I wanted to create this whole new world and my world that people could step into and go along with me. So, with the short film and all of my videos, I had to be in control of the production. Ben Johnson and Johnny Reno are amazing. But I can create with them and say, ‘We need more Toms on this bit, or this is the kind of sound I am feeling.’ So, it was much a collaboration of all minds, and I think it was the best-case scenario. I do need to oversee everything because I am such a detail-oriented person. This is the thing. Once something is out in the open, it’s out there forever. So, I need to be proud and super excited about it. I don’t care if it takes six weeks to six months to get it right. That’s what I do. I feel like it’s a testament to my team because they trusted me with the whole vision. That is great to have, and I’m super proud. I think it’s a perfect extension of what I’m about and what my brand is.
Was it difficult to whittle the songs down to four for the EP?
Yes! It’s ridiculously hard because I write all of the time. Every song I write is always – the last song I’ve written is generally my favorite. I think Welcome To The Club, having that – you know I learn to write from personal experience, but make it relatable to the masses. So, I feel like, with this EP, I should’ve held that title for an album, but it just means that, hopefully, they will all go onto the next body of work, and all of the songs will tie in together. But, as an artist, I lean into nature and the world, and time in itself is a concept. I’m a deep thinker in terms of philosophy and physics and stuff like that. So I love to take in those things and put them into songs, concepts, and videos.
I read you had to re-write “One Heart” before recording it for the EP. What was that process like for you?
I think there are two kinds of people. Some listen to lyrics. Then, some connect to the melody of a song. Having been a dancer all my life, I connect with the melody first. Then, I would hone in on the lyrics. I tried to make them both as good as each other. Ben Johnson and I have written two songs that did. One of them was going to go on the EP, but it didn’t end up going on it. ‘Dying Inside’ was on there instead, and I was like, ‘I feel like I’m missing something.’ I wanted this uptempo song. I described what I wanted, and he was like, ‘What do you think of this?’ And he played me a song that, lyric-wise, was different. I loved the melody, and he was one of the writers on it. I was like, ‘Do you think we can use that? We can change it if you want.’ And that is what we did. That was the first time I ever did that. It was cool to take someone’s melody and structure of the song. It is hard to explain unless you were to listen to both of them. Even the melody is not the same now. But, it was cool to take a song that Ben had been a part of. He knew what I liked, and we collaborated on that again. Then we credited it to the old writers on that song even though they were not a part of the rewrite.
As an artist, it seems like you try to make everyone feel welcome. Is that something that resonates at your shows?
If you’ve ever been to one of my shows, it’s more than likely I’ve probably kicked my leg in the air at some point. I don’t know if I’ve always been like that. I think I have, but I’m very energetic. I love being on stage. I feel like it’s my second home. Even if stuff goes wrong, it doesn’t phase me. It’s a good time. When I write songs, I either want to make people dance, break their hearts, or do both. I think that’s what you get from my shows. We’ll make you dance and make you smile, and then we’ll probably depress you for one song to bring you back up again.
What’s next for you?
I’m around Nashville. I’m playing here and there. So check out my website or follow me on social media. There are a lot of things going on, which I am very excited for!
Fans can keep up with Twinnie on Instagram.