Folk-pop duo Fionn (Alanna and Brianne Finn-Morris) entertain the crowds at this year's Canada Day celebrations in White Rock. The sisters are in the running for an international contest in Nashville.

Bright future for local sister act

White Rock duo Fionn eye a top prize in the 2015 Unsigned Only Music Competition in Nashville

Fionn is on a roll.

The popular White Rock close-harmony folk-pop duo  – also known as twins Alanna and Brianne Finn-Morris, 17 – have made it into the top 10 in one of the categories of an international music competition in Nashville.

Their song, Second Hand Love, has been selected as a finalist in the Teen category of the 2015 Unsigned Only Music Competition.

Winners will be determined by a panel of celebrity judges in late August or early September.

While the sibling vocalists and multi-instrumentalists have made it to the semi-final level of the contest twice before – the last time in 2013 – this is the first time they cracked the top 10.

They also made the semifinals in the Country category this year.

“It’s pretty phenomenal,” says mom and career advisor Cheryl Finn, of White Rock’s Semiahmoo Academy of Music. “This competition routinely receives (more than) 9,000 entries from around the world in various categories.

“It’s a big contest – a number of important A&R (artists and repertoire) people pay very close attention to it, and a fellow from Vancouver, Wes Mack, won a couple of years back and wound up opening for Shania Twain.”

This may end up being a watershed year for Fionn, she said.

“There is some real momentum building – and some other things coming up that we can’t even discuss yet.”

On the way to a two-week break near Dublin, Ireland – where dad Eamonn hails from – the sisters said they feel good about this year’s contest.

“We’re both pretty excited,” Brianne said. “Particularly because there are so many entries – just the fact that we have made it so far.”

“The judges include Sinead O’Connor, country singer Dustin Lynch and a couple of writers from Rolling Stone,” Alanna noted.

Frequently seen at events and concerts around the Semiahmoo Peninsula – including White Rock’s most recent Canada Day celebrations – the girls, still a year away from graduation, have built a solid reputation both for their music-making performance and work ethic, making money from gigs rather than having to do other part-time work.

No matter where else they play they have a soft spot for performing for their home town crowd, they confirmed.

“Of course – we love playing here,” Brianne said.

Along the way the girls’ music style has matured, said Alanna, who plays mandolin while Brianne plays guitar (both also do lead vocals, as well as joining in an uncannily tight harmonic blend, and are also adding violin to the mix).

“We’re trying to go in a more folky, Ed Sheeran, pop direction, rather than being super country,” she said.

“We’ve changed our song list and also the kind of songs we’re writing to be a bit more pop.”

Finn acknowledged that in the early days, she wondered whether the girls would have the commitment to make a career of music.

Their hard work has more than proven they have what it takes, she said.

“It’s getting stronger,” she said. “That’s what they’re telling me. This is definitely what they want to do.”

“We started busking at Granville Island when we were 12 or 13,” Brianne said. “That showed us we could get up anywhere and perform in front of people – and it’s getting easier.

“We have one more year of high school to go, and when we graduate we want to go full speed ahead.”

 

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