We caught up with Fin Henderson after he had finished his celebration cake with the gang! We spoke about his songs and journey in music that ended up getting him the top spot for SALUTE Music Makers 2017.
First off, in case you’re not already familiar, here are Fin’s two songs for SALUTE Music Makers 2017 again:
I. ‘A MILLION PLACES’
With accomplished melodic layers and memorable repetition, ’A Million Places’, shot to the top of our competition and landed Fin Henderson in the Salute Finals with a lead over the rest of our Music Makers.
The choral swells give this acoustic song the type of climatic and cinematic melancholy that captures your ears and emotions. It pulls the listener into the contradictions of love and attachment, with an intimate POV focus on Fin in the film as he sings of leaving with his beloved, affirming he can live up to expectations and facing the potential sadness of not doing so.
The vocal rests well in his range with cadence and expression that matches really well with the gentle crescendo of the song. The mix is tight and when the gentle snare kicks in, nothing gets lost in the recording. Mercury and Grammy award-winning producer Jonathan Quarmby who curated Fin Henderson “A Million Places” track into the Top 100 said,
“As soon as I heard Million Places, the song jumped out at me. It didn’t have impressive ‘wow factor’ production, or any arrangement tricks. It was simply honest, raw and heartfelt. And fundamentally, that’s what every writer is trying to do; to communicate emotion and help the listener to feel how they felt in the moment when the song was formed. So well done Fin. A great song and a well-deserved win!”
We loved ‘Evolution’ as soon as we heard it. The interesting and slight piano chords really work well and as the song grows there’s a subtle filter on the drums that adds to the ethereal world that the listener gets from the production backing Fin’s resonant well-pitched voice.
The strong bridge builds in good time to a climatic ending which impressed us with the first taste of a bassline in Fin’s compositions that was well mixed into the smashing drums and electric guitar.
Gosh – that melody with the acoustic guitar and piano is a great finish!
With a tune like this in the bag, we’re really excited to see what else Fin has been working on as we follow his journey as the 2017 Salute Music Maker Winner.
- SALUTE: It sounds like your time in East Yorkshire has been extremely fertile for songwriting, what can you tell us about your journey with working on your music?
I would say with it being quite a small place I have always spent a lot of time alone, which has led to so much writing. I often get so lost thinking or playing the piano – I suppose when I tie the two together that’s where the music comes from.
- SALUTE: How did the last few years help you grow as a writer and artist?
The last few years have been super interesting. In between my first and second year at University I was sure I wanted to create something because I had put music to the side for a year or two after losing any love or belief for my own writing.
It was great to really come back to it and find all the excitement return. Then 6 months later I dropped out of University into the abyss that was my future!
I was so glad that I made the album as it really helped moving forward. By speaking to the right people, I learned a lot about writing and perspective. How I thought my songs were sounding was so different to how it was being received by the listener and it’s so confusing to have that gap between what you think you’re writing and what is coming across. It’s been a big year for dealing with that element of writing.
- Do you write many songs for other people at the moment?
Not really. I’m focused on creating a unified group of songs to move forward with. However, that’s not to say I’m not interested. I love writing music in any capacity – I recently wrote the score for a play! I love so many types of music that I often find it hard to write for just one style, so I would definitely love to explore other artist’s music! Music is all about connecting and collaborating so it would be great to be able to engage with other musicians styles and see what can be done.
- SALUTE: What made you decide to become a songwriter and musician?
It’s one of those things that goes so far back to be honest, it’s impossible to give it to any moment in particular. As a child I always enjoyed music and performance so I suppose I think it’s just an accumulation of instinct over the years where it’s just always been what I have enjoyed and what makes most sense to me. My head is always so noisy that it’s just great to put that into music.
- SALUTE: Which songwriters inspired and inspire you?
I think so many for so many different reasons. There are some songwriters that I really admire for the lyrical content and the philosophy they can include in a 3-minute song. But there’s also a lot to be said for artists who create music that simply is so feel good and clearly just brings joy to people. I suppose that’s the point – music is inspiring for that reason exactly. It plays with every emotion and no matter which emotion, I admire any artist who can truly pull it out of the listener. I’d say the artists I have listened to most over the past year are Watsky and Muse.
- SALUTE: What can you tell us about your songwriting process? How do you balance the storytelling and the composition, do you write the instrumental parts first?
I personally always start with a piano, and if I’m lucky, a concept or something to draw from. Mostly, though it sounds like nonsense, it sort of just happens. You just get led by the music. It sounds silly, but it’s undoubtedly true. I always know something’s good if it just writes itself. This is why it’s so frustrating during (long) periods of time where nothing is coming. You want to write something great, but if it’s not happening it’s just not happening. I think the process is such a personal thing too and changes immeasurably over the years and any rules I do have I’m sure I’ll change in time. It’s also important to remember when nothings happening that life is where the writing comes from, so, just step back and go and experience existence, and something will appear as you figure life out.