- 03 Apr 18
Confessional troubadour Brian Fennell, aka Syml, talks about conquering the internet by accident, the rise and fall of Seattle music, and how his Celtic heritage has defined him.
In late 2015, Seattle songwriter Brian Fennell received an email from his manager. Producers at Teen Wolf, a ratings-gobbling MTV remake of Michael J Fox’s 1985 furball-fest, wanted to use his song ‘Where’s My Love’. Having never seen Teen Wolf – a cult hit with a huge streaming audience – Fennell typed words to the effect of “fine, whatever”, pressed ‘send’, and got on with his day.
At the time he had bigger things to worry about. For the best part of a decade he’d fronted Seattle four-piece Barcelona. The group specialised in Coldplay-esque anthemic rock and were not to be confused with an outfit of the same name from Virginia (briefly a big deal in the 2000s). But if Barcelona were Chris Martin-esque on record, they certainly weren’t drowning in Coldplay levels of loot. “Touring was the thing that was perpetuating Barcelona,” says Fennell. “But two of us had young families. I didn’t want to spend all the time on the road.”
He didn’t know it then – but Teen Wolf was about to change his life and career. ‘Where’s My Love’, a delicate piece he’d written with an eye on film or TV placing, took off on the back of the show. Suddenly his phone was figuratively ringing off the hook: people wanting to see him perform and to hear more music.