Twinnie: “Writing songs costs a lot less than therapy”
Twinnie-Lee Moore may be spending a lot of time in the US right now as the singer-songwriter and country actress prepares for the release of her debut album, but it looks like she’s enjoying going back to her Yorkshire roots as often as she can.
When we speak, the 32-year-old – known professionally simply as Twinnie – is in her “hometown” of York, where she’s doing a radio show and performing a benefit concert for Help The Heroes. It is also an opportunity to visit family members.
“My family is everything,” she says. “Living in London, I try to come back as much as possible, once every three weeks if I’m not in America. “
Three years after signing a development contract with major BMG, she is “super excited” to finally release an album, Hollywood Gypsy. “This is my first album, this is an album that I will never find again, the experience has been incredible”, she enthuses, adding that she is eager for people to listen to the record in its entirety. after an EP and a succession of singles for the radio. “I’m excited but nervous at the same time,” she recalls. “But I think it’s normal.”
She is fully grateful for the broadcast of songs such as Better When I’m Drunk and Social Babies on BBC Radio 2 and BBC Introducing. “Radio 2 has been so amazing for me supporting me. Even back in the days when I didn’t have a manager or a label behind me, I went to BBC Introducing. [My music has] has been playlisted nationally and regionally, it gives you a boost, especially as a new artist. It gives you a pat on the back if people like it, it’s a step forward, and that’s all I’m trying to do, move on, so that’s good.
Twinnie’s intention with Hollywood Gypsy was to “tell my story and my journey.” “The title song [is about how] I grew up with Hollywood musicals and the gypsy is part of my heritage. I think to me, on a deeper level, Hollywood and the Gypsies sort of represent my parents. They broke up when I was young and I think I kind of reflected that in my adult life by going back and forth to Nashville. [to perform and record]. I have a whole life there.
There was also a career as a performer, which began as a child dancing pantomimes at the York Grand Opera House and led through acting school in Blackpool to roles in the West End in We Will Rock You and Flashdance. , as well as appearances in films and the Channel 4 soap opera Hollyoaks. “I did a lot of things and everything helped me get this body of work,” she says. “[Hollywood Gypsy] That sums me up, I think. It’s like a third chapter for Twinnie and what I’m talking about and what the sound is about.
“It’s weird looking at it objectively when you’re the person who wrote it. Do you enjoy your music the way others enjoy it? I break up all the time – literally in my songs too. I have no problem saying all my faults. I just wanted it to be honest. All the songwriters and artists I grew up with, the people I respected and connected with, were genuine. And with this record, I just wanted to be real. There are a lot of BS in the world and I just wanted people to listen to her and be like, “I actually know exactly what she is, despite all her complexes and insecurities.”
Better When I’m Drunk is a song that “a lot of people have bonded with,” she says. “And Type of Girl is supposed to show all the different sides of my personality. In the video, I wanted to show all the different women, past and present, that inspire me, so it’s a pretty good introduction, I’m all of these. characters.
“The fans have been lovely. Last year was a building year for me, I did a lot of supporting shows [including for Kiefer Sutherland], and people texted me and said, “This song really means a lot to me, you helped me so much”. On social media, I get all kinds of messages. I make music just because I have to, I’ve always done it – and songwriting is a lot cheaper than therapy – but I don’t really think of anyone else when I do it, I just tell stories. It’s like a snapshot of what happened this week or situations or dramas that I found myself in, and then when you get messages like that, it’s humbling because I feel very human, and each of us is the same – we all want love, we go through the same issues. It doesn’t matter how old you love someone, from four to 80, that never changes, so it’s good when you get that back.
Twinnie remembers her first attempt at writing was when she was four years old. “I showed my mother a poem and she couldn’t believe I wrote it. My mom kept it in my home album along with all the TV and plays and things I was in. It started with poems and then I walked around doing songs. I’m basically a huge attention seeker.
Country singers like Dolly Parton, Shania Twain, Johnny Cash, and Willie Nelson were “big influences” when she grew up, but she says, “I don’t really believe in genres. I wrote in this story so 10 years before [country music’s modern resurgence in the UK]. Someone said to me, ‘You have to go to Nashville because you would love to write there,’ and obviously my voice had that kind of influence too. I can only relate to this – and I think that’s why I connected to Nashville so much – because it reminds me of the people of my hometown. Everyone says how it is, they are very honest, and Nashville is kind of the same. They are much hotter in the [American] In the south, there is a lot of community, and I grew up like that from a young age.
“I grew up with musicals and they tell a story, whether it’s through theater, dance, song or all three, and my writing is very concept-oriented. It will arise from a situation in which I have been; I can visualize it and then write it down, it’s all about the story.
She also says to have listened to “a lot of rap”, in particular 2Pac. “If you listen to Type of Girl, in the cadences, the way it’s written, it’s very nervous sometimes. I think being a dancer has helped a lot of these songs. It’s two worlds colliding, just mixed and matched. I don’t like to be put in a box.
Twinnie’s acting career continues – she reveals that she just “did something for Netflix” – but she says music “has always been my main focus.” “[In the past] I would do eight gigs a week in the West End, then go to a gig in a pub where there were about six people but it was a chance to play. There was constant juggling. It’s nice to have this opportunity to be in the spotlight now.
Recording part of the album in Nashville was a special experience. “Everything was magic. Most of the people I have recorded with are my dearest friends. I really feel like Nashville is a home from home. I have plenty of rooms [to stay in] there – to a point where the problem is I can’t find any of my clothes – but I have good friends who are like my family. I am a domestic bird so I love going there because they make me feel so welcome, I have never felt like an outsider in this community. You could very easily feel, ‘I’m British and I do this, what if they don’t accept me? But they’ve been so supportive. I’m going back and forth to Nashville right now because my American label takes me to country radio, so it’s amazing to represent my country.
Hollywood Gypsy releases April 17. Twinnie performs at Crescent, York on March 22 and supports Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra at Scarborough Spa on May 21. twinnieofficial.com