- 11 Apr 23
“Remain open to allowing grief to shift your perspective in a positive way that might let you grow more instead of diminish you,” the Seattle-based artist said, reflecting on his experience with grief – a topic heavily explored in his second solo LP.
After a life-changing couple of years, SYML will be returning to Dublin with his performance debut at the National Concert Hall. Following the release of his second solo album The Day My Father Died in February, SYML is capping off his European tour with a show at the NCH’s Main Stage on Tuesday, April 25th at 8pm.
Previously a member of the indie band Barcelona, Brian Fennell, aka SYML, is opening up about his experiences with grief, love and hope in his newest acclaimed song collection. Inspired by the death of his father, the artist’s second LP captures immensely personal emotions by weaving poignant lyrics with soft yet powerful vocals.
Following the release of SYML’s 2019 self-titled debut album, 2023's The Day My Father Died features breakout singles ‘Howling’ (featuring Lucius), ‘Believer’ and ‘You and I’ (featuring Charlotte Lawrence).
“While the word might mean ‘simple’ in Welsh, there’s nothing straightforward about his sound as he blends folk, country, gospel, soul and more into a tasty stew,” Hot Press’ Edwin McFee wrote in a review of The Day My Father Died.
“A cathartic album about knitting yourself back together after being torn apart, The Day My Father Died is every bit the rollercoaster the title suggests,” McFee continues.
Ahead of his NCH debut, the singer-songwriter reflected on the tender themes throughout the LP and what he hopes audiences take away from his latest release.
“There’s sort of a built-in therapeutic outlet with what SYML is as a project to me, just as much as I think it is for the listener to be able to pour in some of the more complex things we go through, whether it’s loss or love,” Fennell said.
“Writing songs in an open and honest way about those things feels pretty natural and I think that’s a luxury to say it doesn’t feel scary to be vulnerable. But it’s something I’ve built up over the years without really knowing it.”
With over one billion streams, the artist has captivated the hearts of fans worldwide with his deeply powerful voice and gift of authentic songwriting. Over the course of the LP, Fennell reflects “We made a fire in the purest way / When you explode it’s my holiday” (‘Howling’), before singing “I was scared on the day my mother cried, she held me close" (‘The Day My Father Died’).
“My hope with any music is that people will feel like it’s a safe space. If this artist is being vulnerable to this point, that means I can also be vulnerable with myself and people around me,” Fennell explained further.
When it comes to music, the 40-year-old artist said he is inspired by humanity and universal themes of love, grief and loss.
“On one hand, I think it’s beautiful because it’s like a great equaliser. We all sort of have to deal with it.”
However, likening it to the Covid-19 pandemic, the artist added that everyone's experience with feelings such as grief are unique to them.
“It’s as unique as we are when we go through something like grief. Just like anything, it’s okay to find sadness in it and it’s okay to find humour in it,” he explained. “Grief changed my perspective across the board. I’ll never see things the same way or people the same way ever since I lost my dad.”
“Remain open to allowing grief to shift your perspective in a positive way that might let you grow more instead of diminish you," he added.
After playing gigs at Whelan’s and the Button Factory, the indie artist said he is thrilled about returning to Ireland to end his European tour – this time as a new person on a new stage.
Tickets for SYML’s National Concert Hall show can be purchased online here.
Listen to The Day My Father Died below.
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