INTERVIEW: TWAYN | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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One of the joys of discovering an artist in their relative infancy is in witnessing their growth as they find their identity. The trajectory of North East-based 18-year-old twins Twayn over the last couple of years has been pretty remarkable; their delicate, harmony-drenched pop style has seen them placed in the top 10 of the Song Academy Young Songwriting Competition 2022 (SAYS22), perform in Nashville at an international competition (at which they came second out of 22,000 entries), secure funding from Help Musicians and, this month, release their debut EP, Cupid Isn’t Real.

Hannah and Grace kickstarted their songwriting together during lockdown (although Grace remarks that she’s always been a keen writer), and as Hannah’s skills on Logic Pro grew the duo formalised their songwriting partnership in 2022, resulting in a much more collaborative approach.

Obvious touchstones for their sound would be Taylor Swift’s sassy relationship sagas, Olivia Rodrigo’s biting drama and Self Esteem’s introspective self-awareness, but their relatable lyrics and harmony-fuelled sound also finds influence in the likes of The Carpenters, Wilson Phillips, Haim, Ward Thomas and Tors, who they recently supported at The Cluny.

Our discography up until now was written when we were still at school, so is focused on themes of things we observed such as peer pressure, friendship struggles and the challenges of social media.” Grace explains, with Hannah continuing: “We left school in June, are now 18, and full-time singer-songwriters, so this EP is talking about different things as we’re a bit older; it’s about dating, heartbreak and moving on.”

We always strive for honesty in our songs, even if it leaves us feeling vulnerable

Such universal themes are presented through measured and mature soundscapes. The EP’s haunting opening track, Boarding Pass, features sighing vocals and understated synths, while stand-out song Criminal is full of lyrical twists and turns and quietly riffy guitars. On Love You And Lose You, a break-up song told from the perspective of the ‘breaker-upper’, nagging piano refrains give way to vocal gymnastics and plucky strings, with echoey vocals and textured instrumentation demonstrating a real depth to the duo’s songwriting, and perhaps offering an indication of their direction for the future.

We always strive for honesty in our songs, even if it leaves us feeling vulnerable. In our previous singles, where we write about the struggles of friendships, we’ve been very open about the various themes so we wanted to carry that on in the EP.” Grace says, with Hannah agreeing that songwriting was a comfort to them during lockdown. “I just hope that others can take comfort from how raw our songs are if they are going through something similar.”

Their experiences at SAYS22 and in Nashville couldn’t fail to boost their confidence, but they’re taking everything in their stride. “I think it probably told us that there is lots of young talent out there, so the best thing we can do is to be true to ourselves and not to try to emulate others.” Hannah says. “I guess that gave us the confidence to have belief in ourselves and get the ball rolling. As a musician that can sometimes be the biggest challenge.”

For audiences, following the path of Twayn’s songwriting as they navigate friendships and relationships in all their messes and glory will be a rewarding experience; if their success so far is anything to go by, who knows where it might take them.

Twayn release Cupid Isn’t Real EP on 10th November, they play a free show at HMV, Newcastle on Saturday 11th November.

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