SYML’s sudden online success – Spotify for artists

It took Brian Fennell a lifetime to succeed overnight. The transition from Fennell’s home-studio Hermit to millions of monthly Spotify listeners in less than two years seems like the familiar story of an artist who spent ages trying to improve his craft before being swept away by an online wave. But descriptions are impossible, and more importantly, they describe how music was created, invented, and shared in the streaming era. Despite a 36-year-old veteran status as a recording artist-first lead singer, songwriter, and keyboardist for a Seattle-based indie-pop band Barcelona And he currently calls with the Downtempo-Soul single project Easy– The best place to get on his journey is at the junction with it Teenage Wolf.

No, not the 1985 Michael J. Fox starrer Fool, but the scary, neo-emo MTV reboot series aired between 2011 and 2017. Ironically, Fennell didn’t watch the show and didn’t even know it existed, but it’s a sequence of set career-changing events: its viewers used Shazam to identify a Fennell song – “Where is my love“It was put in an episode online Teenage Wolf The fan community got excited about it, there were a few unfortunate Spotify playlist placements followed by a video that became a YouTube sensation … and suddenly Fennell found himself the object of affection of nearly 5 million music fans.

Success that snatches

In mid-2016, Fennell Blue began to receive messages from fans. “People somehow found my personal email, like, Shazam’s order or something,” Fennell said, sitting in the captain’s chair on a desktop recording console in his home studio, in the basement of a large, modern home he shares with his wife and their two young children. “Teenage Wolf Everything has changed. ”

Barcelona’s songs have already found a place on TV and in movies. The fourth was Fennell’s first collaborative effort, which placed his plaintiff’s voice in dramatic, piano-driven arrangements. Deception, Scuffle, Or Death Cab for QT. They began touring in 2005 and released several albums and EPs; Of 2009 Absolutely Published by Universal / Motown. And when a Barcelona song is revealed in an episode Mountains, A reality show of the late ’00s, Fennell received advance notice from its publisher and planned a party near the date of the broadcast. But in this case Teenage Wolf, He had no idea. In fact, as he was still focused on his work with Barcelona, ​​he did not officially release “Hear Is My Love”, nor did he name the new single effort that gave birth to it.

Fennell’s longtime publisher, LA-based Secret Road, sent a digital version to the music supervisor Teenage Wolf, And they dropped it into a 30-second promo for the show. The subtle, mournful musical background and Fennell’s devastating vocals are perfectly paired with the restless melodrama of the spot. Fans were immediately attracted, to discover the source of the Shazam song and to talk about it online. “Where is my love” was soon placed in a full Teenage Wolf The episode and officially became known to fans as “Stidia’s Theme”, creating the names of two star-crossed main characters, Styles and Lydia.

“People came to me personally and said, ‘I know you wrote this song for this character,'” Fennell said.

With a flurry of activity around his music, Fennell chose the pseudonym that his wife suggested – SYML, pronounced Hell, Which translates to “simple” in Welsh and writes and records the rest of his debut EP. He published material on all platforms through a digital distribution company called Tuncore. As music moves through YouTube and elsewhere, Spotify has added “Where’s My Love” and its catchy “Girl (Acoustic)” to the popular proprietary playlist. Peaceful piano And The most beautiful song in the worldThe number of games played by SYML is skyrocketing.

“It’s barbaric to think that if someone didn’t do his due diligence, typing that mundane metadata information about me or that song, it would probably spend a lot of time in people’s attention to make sense outside of that show,” Fennell said.

Finding the right partners

Fennell partnered with Canadian filmmaker Gavin Michael Booth to create a video for “Higher is My Love,” which he posted on YouTube in early 201 early. The third eye is blind, But that’s a different story.) Another example of the song is an arrest, with a youth-driven narrative, the video has been viewed nearly 14 million times.

“At this point in my musical life, very visual-listening music has a consistent theme,” Fennell says. “As there are musicians who have adapted to truly healthy new scenes and how people digest visual content, I’ve been lucky to meet a handful of filmmakers who are willing to create something new and exciting on a very low budget – regardless of what it does. Not only does it present their ideas on your industry, but it also helps to make it as special as possible. ”

In November 2018, Fennell released another flashy, cinematic video, this one for SYML singles “Clear eyes. “It has received over 700,000 views across the real world, playing dozens of dates across the United States and Europe. The full-length release, as SYML, is set for release this spring. He described the process as” full of collaboration, “although Recorded and connected online with other musicians and producers.

As a bandleader, Fennell aspired to direct audience participation; As a recording artist, he appreciates the instant neutral access to technology delivery. And all of this, from the moment of creativity to the moment of discovery, is driven by a force that he cannot comprehend. And he’s good at it.

“Everywhere I go in the world, there are a handful of people who say, ‘I know that song,’ or ‘That song has spoken to me,'” he said. The moment when, in spite of myself, a chain of events occurs and people who discover music from different regions of the internet or radio or film and TV call for this three and a half minute song … it is supernatural. “

– Jonathan Juikel

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