Two years ago, singer/songwriter Brian Fennell, who performs under the moniker SYML, became a father. Soon after, his daughter Josephine was diagnosed with a disorder that restricted the development of her brain as her skull fused too soon.
“Luckily, we caught it at a good time so her development was still on track up to that point and we did a surgery in time to allow her to have a healthy, full normal life,” he wrote recently. “The build up leading up to that surgery was the most intense thing that my wife and I and our family had ever been through.”
Fennell’s daughter Josephine, photo courtesy of the artist
The first time Fennell ever wrote a song it was to help him process the death of a friend, and dealing with the anxieties that come with having a child undergo surgery had him once again turning to music to cope. But that’s not the only reason he wrote “Girl.”
“Josie will not remember it, she’s too little, so I wrote this song with two purposes,” he says. “One was therapeutic in a way for me and my family as we went through this and the other was to serve as a bit of a letter to her for her to have when she grows up to better understand what she went through and to know that this is an important part of who she is and how much of a badass she is for enduring it. There are people young and old who will go through life-changing experiences. Some painful, some not, some big, some small, and it almost seems supernatural that we as humans are capable of going through that. On the other hand it seems totally natural, we put our heads down and we do it, it’s just the wildest thing. One of my favorite lines in the song is, ‘Sometimes our bodies will hurt for some time and the beauty in that can be hard to find but I want you to find it.’ That is so hard to say and to believe, but I do believe it.”
Watch the exclusive premiere of the video for “Girl,” just in time for Father’s Day. It’s a beautiful ode to childhood.
“Being a father has been the most impactful element in my creative life,” SYML says. “For the video, Hayley Young (the director) and I wanted to capture some of what it means to be a child. Curiosity, joy, sadness, and simplicity. We ended up filming the video a few hours from my house and about an hour outside of Tacoma, Wash.”
Watch SYML perform three songs live at the Paste Studio in Austin, Texas:
And here is SYML is with Josephine:
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