UK singer/songwriter Twinnie is set to release her Welcome to The Club EP tomorrow June 3rd.
Welcome to the Club is a 4 track EP of what Twinnie describes as “her most vulnerable work yet”. Fans have already heard three of the four tracks including title track Welcome to the Club, One Heart and the most recent Dying Inside.
Twinnie was quite nervous putting Dying Inside out in particular due to it’s vulnerability.
“The title gives away what it is all about and I wrote it at a time when the world was turned upside down for everyone and I think everyone had some sort of wobbly of ‘what do I want out of life?’. Music in general can be very up and down for an artist. You make a lot of personal sacrifices, a lot of people do for their job but this job in particular demands quite a lot with social media and so on. I was just really feeling it and I think for me, this whole ep ‘Welcome to The Club’ is a metaphor for welcome to the world. I think we all can be really shortsighted sometimes and it’s actually a miracle we are all here and we forget that the little things can be amazing. I just wanted to highlight the human experience with this whole EP, particularly ‘Dying Inside’. I think it actually relates back to my very first EP ‘Social Babies’. We are all way more similar than we are different and I guess a lot of the times I do release Up tempo music, so this one for me I knew it was going to kind of strike a nerve with some people but yeah I just wanted to be really vulnerable and I guess at the time I wrote it I was really vulnerable. The song is about a personal relationship, this whole EP kind of takes you through that journey and its got a film along with it, a mini short film. I wanted to try and reach as many people as possible. I think as musicians that’s what you do, that’s what you aim to do. This one felt particularly raw. I feel like I am an honest person anyway but I think I deflect a lot of what I am feeling so it’s kind of like ‘oh, Twinnie’s being serious’ and that makes me feel vulnerable. I thought it was really important to set an example, especially with the last couple of years with suicide going up in the pandemic and mental health in general has risen by about 50% in all age groups. Going back to America back and forth all the time, therapy is a big thing over there and it is talked about and isn’t something people should be ashamed of where as we culturally, in the UK have this attitude of ‘Stiff upper lip’ and ‘carry on’ so I felt like it was important to highlight all of that so that when the EP is revealed you will see what the film is all about and that it highlights mental health, therapy and the whole experience.”
Speaking of lockdown and how it did affect and still affects so many people. I spoke of my own experience and many like me who had babies in lockdown and how it affected the hormones anyway but the pandemic heightened those emotions. Lockdown triggered a lot of peoples past, present and future as they had so much time to think.
“Yes, definitely! Everybody obviously slowed down and it gave everybody a second to breathe. We live in culture where everything is just ‘now, now, now, now, now’ everything is attainable, you can go online and buy something in two seconds. We then lived in a world where we all had to slow down and people realised things like ‘oh, my job doesn’t make me happy, these people don’t make me happy, am I actually happy?’ That gave everyone a minute and that’s kind of where ‘Dying Inside’ was born. We wrote it on 23rd December 2020 and it was after releasing my debut album in the pandemic. This is a great lesson for life, you never know where things are going to take you and I think having my first album out during the pandemic wasn’t ideal but I think it really set me up for being in the music industry because it was like a really hard lesson to learn that ‘yes, you are doing music’ but I had all these plans and then I couldn’t do them. Such as life though, your life can change on a normal Tuesday when you get some bad news. It really made me appreciate the journey that I am on and be more present which I think is something that we all have trouble with these days.”
It’s vulnerable putting out music that is so personal to fans, to the public but I wondered about what family and friends thought? Especially Twinnie’s mother of whom she is incredibly close with. We don’t often share our worries and pain with the people closest to us so was this the first time people close to her had heard of this particular painful incident?
” I think I am really good at pretending. That’s half my job anyway, putting on a show and obviously I have been an actor before so sometimes I can hide behind a song. Even if that’s how I am feeling I can sometimes be like ‘oh no that’s about a friend’ . We did (Twinnie and her Mother) briefly have a conversation and I think she felt quite sad that she didn’t know and you know how close me and my mum are so I think that was my whole point of putting this song out. I feel like I am very open about my feelings, my face always says how I am feeling but I just didn’t open up (this time) and that is why this song makes me sad because I became a person that didn’t open up. I talked to my friends but not the extent of what it was doing. I became a different person, I didn’t want to go out, I didn’t have the energy or time for anyone. I didn’t have much creativity all though I did manage to create the song but even that, I am always writing Up tempo songs and I just couldn’t write anything that wasn’t sad. Even with that I was like ‘this song is never going to see the light of day’ because who wants to be depressed? My A&R is who I am really thankful to because we had a conversation on this song and about getting it out. It was between this song and another song that I really loved and she was like ‘I think this is a song that will connect with people and it’s really raw and you haven’t done a song like this before and I think you should put it out’. She gave me the confidence to believe in myself for the song.”
The videos for each song start with a therapy session that Twinnie is attending. Each video connects to the next and I asked if the last song will also have a similar video.
“Yeah but they haven’t been released in order. They will all be connected in the film but it will be longer so I will be acting in it and it elaborates more on each issue. With the video I really wanted that to represent how easy it is to pretend. It’s so easy for people and I think even when people ask how they are, people aren’t going to say how they feel because it’s just part of a greeting, people aren’t really asking how you are so I think if I can be an advocate, especially with the pandemic and the start of I Know a Woman, which is a project trying to standisise mental health for creatives within publishing and record deals as I felt they really needed that support. It’s weird how everything I have done ties in together and I am really grateful for that, so with the visual I just wanted it to extend the message. Visuals are so important and I wanted to highlight the fact that in a red dress it seems everything is fine and then the black dress is how I am really feeling.”
Telling Twinnie how I tend to be too open at times she says;
“I think it’s good. Here’s the thing, I believe that everything is energy. The whole Welcome to the Club thing I just wanted to be ‘we are all connected’ everything is energy. There is a book called How To Heal Your Own Life and it’s by Louise Hay. I really recommend that you read it. It’s about how every negative emotion, some diseases are caused by a negative emotion, it goes into genetic trauma and how it’s passed down. I think that for example when I had my bike accident about ten years ago, I suffered for the first time in Rock of Ages with mental health. I didn’t understand it, it’s weird what your body does. If you don’t talk about it and you don’t find a way to kind of get it out then it will show up in your body somehow. That’s what that book talks about, it’s really interesting.”
I asked Twinnie if it was hard to be vulnerable shooting the video despite being an actor.
“I had my friends and family there and was having such a good time. I directed it too so if I didn’t feel it was real I asked them to get me onions from the kitchen to try and make me cry because I was having such a good time. We did all the red dress scenes at the beginning and then I had to really dig into the deep heavy stuff for the black dress scenes.”
Moving on to the song Welcome to the Club, I wondered that it must be quite rewarding seeing the fans do the dance to it?
” I love it when people get involved. Welcome to the Club is the last song on the film and that is the celebration as it takes you through a journey. I think although it’s a jam, it does have a meaningful message behind it. That’s what I really like about that song, it’s got beat but is meaningful. The dance was to get people dancing and making people feel good so I am really pleased with how it has gone down.”
Twinnie has always been very open about her Gypsy heritage. The Gypsy community has always had a very negative reputation. I tell her that in particular when I was young, gypsy’s were and still are surrounded by a certain stereotype. Asking if she was treated differently when she was young and whether she found that people made assumptions she says;
“No matter what walk of life you are from people will have an opinion and to be honest I don’t really care but I got bullied from a young age, well I wouldn’t say bullied because I ended up in a lot of scraps so they only did it once. This is the whole reason I did Welcome to the Club because the video really represents different types of people and people can feel the need to feel authentically like themselves without judgement and I just wanted to create a song that represents that. Especially kids in social media and having a big family and seeing kids taking on bullying on the phones. People can get offended by anything these days and I have always had thick skin but I think I have got to a point now where I am like ‘well, people are always going to say stuff about you’ I think my gypsy heritage, I think Tyson Fury has done wonders for the gypsy community, he has really highlighted mental health and being a family role model and essentially that is what our gypsy community is about, it’s all about family and we have good morals. It’s unfortunate that one person does something wrong and we all get tarred with the same brush. That goes for any culture.”
There is one song from the EP called Something or Somebody that hasn’t been released yet and will be released on Friday.
“Yes, this one is kind of my favourite. That’s all about highlighting the fact that we are all similar and that we all have vice’s that we don’t give up. Whether that be a boy that is no good for you, not drinking so much, not smoking so much, it’s that kind of message. It’s a bop and we thought we would leave you with a strong bop.”
Quickly talking about ‘I Know A Woman’ because I can’t believe that there is still a struggle for women to be treated equally, respectfully in any job or life in general. I remind Twinnie that I told her of how when an artist announced her pregnancy, an industry person behind me said “well there goes her career”.
“I think as women we have to change the narrative. The whole thing about I Know a Woman is that I saw artists struggle and I didn’t want to see that. I am quite an empath. I am the type of person that when my friends cry, I will cry with them. I can’t bare to see them upset. Because I know what it feels like, I didn’t want anyone to feel the same way mental health wise and I have also seen what you said about the pregnancy a lot. It goes on in every industry. There are brilliant men. There are brilliant men that really help women and support women and I have many of them on my team. I think it’s a case of that it is a male dominated industry but it is getting better and as women we do have to change the narrative for ourselves so yes, this why women feel they can’t talk about their age or that they can have children. All of this stuff you don’t think matters but it does. The industry can make you feel like if you’re not a 25 year old pop star then you’re done! I’m sorry but there are legendary people like Carole King and songs that go on for a lifetime. To me it’s all about songs and music is faceless and that’s what we should be concentrating on. Unfortunately I think the music industry is always going to kind of go for the younger talent. That’s why I like country music as well. It’s a lot kinder, it’s not about the age or whether you are a woman or a man, well I don’t really want to say it’s not about whether you are a woman or a man because the statistics in country music for women (country radio particularly) are shocking but it tends to me more about the music. That’s what I would like to see everywhere. We need to change the narrative. I think people like Halsey and others who are posting pictures of themselves pregnant in their early 30’s I am like ‘yes! This is what we need more of’. Men that say that (the comment about a career being over) are middle aged white dudes who don’t know anything about performing. That’s what gets my back up as well. These people can’t do the job that artists do but they have an opinion. I have gone through it myself where people have commented on something and I am like ‘wow!’
There needs to be more transparency. I was really hell bent on making male voices heard too because we need them to make a change. So we have got male and female mixing together and writing on each other’s records and writing for the I Know A Woman band and it creates more opportunity for people. It is changing. Women want to support women but so do men, we just need to do more work there.”
Agreeing about how it is changing I mentioned TJ Osborne and the massive support he has which he didn’t quite expect.
“Yeah and that was massive for them. Imagine being a child watching that on tv and can see they have a role model now. People need role models. I have just been doing a Young Voices tour and there were like 6,000 kids and I was only singing two songs. I just went in and did my job but even waving at them, their faces just lit up and they were so happy to be there and it really takes me back to what inspired me when I was younger. You are really impressionable at that age and I think the more role models that we can get, the better. That is part of the reason why I wanted to put out Dying Inside because I was talking about mental health all the time and trying to be a good advocate. If I want to that I need to make myself more vulnerable.”
I do like to ask artists who their nearest and dearest favourite song is of theirs. Twinnie says of her mum;
“Oh, I don’t know. She likes Daddy’s Issues hahaha.”
Finishing off the interview I quickly ask about her interaction with Anthony Mackie and how he thought her name was Twenty.
“Oh yeah that was funny. It was a bit awkward as he was like Twenty and I was like ‘no it’s Twinnie’ he then said ‘what’s ten plus ten?’ And I would say Twenty. Whatever though, accent barrier I guess.”
- “Welcome To The Club” (Twinnie, Phil Barton, Lindsay Rimes)
- “One Heart” (Twinnie, Alex Stacey,Rupert Blackman, Laura Welsh, Peter Rycroft, Ben Johnson)
- “Something or Somebody” (Twinnie, Emily Landis, Eric Arjes)
- “Dying Inside” (Twinnie, Jamie Kennedy)
Produced by Twinnie, Ben Johnson and Johnny Reno