Passion, struggle, and simplicity. These are the emotions that motivate singer/songwriter Brian Fennell. Fennell has captured his modest and minimalist music style effortlessly in his alt-indie solo project SYML. Many people may not have heard the name SYML before, but they will most likely recognize his music from tv soundtracks, short-films, and on the radio. SYML translated as “simple” in Welsh, combines meticulous and personal lyrics, effortless melodies, and emotional vocals to produce beautiful and meaningful songs.
In the early 2000s, Fennell gained recognition as lead singer and songwriter for the indie-pop group Barcelona. After being discovered on MySpace, Fennell and his bandmates signed to Universal Motown and released several hits before going on hiatus a few years ago. Since then Fennell has been dedicated to writing and producing music as SYML.
He composed and recorded his music in his basement with no idea how his life would change spontaneously after releasing one song. SYML’s song “Where’s My Love” was featured in a 30-second promo for the MTV Tv show “Teen Wolf” back in 2016. Fans of the TV show obsessed over the song trying to find it on streaming platforms. Before SYML understood what was occurring, “Where’s My Love” was an internet sensation. Since its release, the music video for “Where’s My Love” has been viewed more than 51 million times and streamed almost 90 million times on Spotify.
In 2019, SYML released his self-titled album. SYML hit number 5 on the Billboard Heatseekers Chart. SYML’s album contains older hits plus a few new songs with his familiar, carefree style. The music on the album stays faithful to the soft quality of his previously released singles and EPs. His voice contains a quality that is deeply haunting and lyrics that are incredibly vulnerable That makes his album one worth listening to.
Not only are the songs all engaging and move the listener through a rollercoaster of emotions, but each song also signifies the complexity of SYML’s heartfelt lyrics and his passion to tell a story. The album opens with the upbeat “Clean Eyes” and continues to transition from bright songs like “Animal” to more somber songs such as “Wildfire” and “The Bird.”
Personally, my favorite song is “Girl.” This song is an extraordinary ballad dedicated to Brian’s daughter. “Girl” is a candid and passionate piece that shares his hopes for this daughter’s life as she grows up. Throughout the song, SYML showcases his outstanding vocal range and the use of melodies to compliment his voice perfectly.
Not only does SYML release songs and EPs frequently, but he also releases alternative versions of a majority of his music. Songs like “Where’s My Love” and “Wildfire” have acoustic versions that add a different, softer vibe to the songs. He also has songs like “Symmetry” which was released as a piano instrumental, and a “dark” version. These alternative versions show the versatility of the lyrics and how SYML is able to transform his lyrics’ meaning with a simple change in the compositions.
With rich lyrics and flawless vocals, SYML is an artist to look out for in the future. SYML has sold-out international tours and often collaborates with new artists He is a talented musician who is not afraid to adapt to different interpretations of his lyrics and gives his songs new meaning. SYML is known for his message of simplistic beauty and uses his music to spread positivity and honesty.