Country singing/songwriting sisters Alanna and Brianne Finn-Morris have a new feather in their cap.
They were chosen last Sunday as winners of the annual Diamond In The Rock Youth Talent Search for 2013 at White Rock’s Blue Frog Studios.
The 15-year-old twins told Peace Arch News they were thrilled to have received recognition in a contest which had already given them “great local exposure.”
The pair’s dynamic performance of two songs – Little Big Town’s Boondocks and their own original Blonde-Haired, Blue-Eyed Boy – convinced the panel of judges at the concluding showcase concert for finalists in the two-month competition.
In the final tally of marks, second place went to singer Curtis Heimburger and third place to well-known Peninsula singer-songwriter-actor Brett McCrady.
Finalists had been chosen over a two-month series of preliminary rounds at co-sponsor venue the Roadhouse Grille.
The top-placing acts in the final round received a variety of merchandise and opportunities – including, in Alanna and Brianne’s case, recording time at Blue Frog Studios and a free professional photo shoot.
Also competing in this year’s finals were Ava Carich, Antoinette Libel, Jasmine Stacey, Tyson McNamara, Marlowe Ferris, Richard Tichelman and Zoey McLean.
“I was really surprised we won, because the rest of the contestants were so good,” Alanna said. “Everyone was so talented.”
The duo, currently Grade 9 students at Holy Cross Regional High School, acknowledge they have come a long way in less than two years of performing, starting with busking at Granville Island and progressing to headline gigs at the Jericho Folk Club and the Merritt Mountain Music Festival.
“We’ve improved our stage presentation a lot,” Brianne said.
Winning the Diamond in the Rock contest will help them get more local gigs, the twins agreed. They’re also looking forward to their second trip to Nashville, scheduled for August.
“We’re booked for some gigs down there, unlike last time, when we did mostly open-mic performances,” Brianne said.
“This time we inquired early,” she noted, adding that connections they have made with the Nashville Songwriters Association will help them benefit from songwriting seminars and critiques of their work.
There’s no doubt that the positive feedback they’ve received in gigs locally has strengthened their resolve to follow a musical career, they said.
“We’re planning to go into home schooling next year, when we go into Grade 10, so that we’ll have more time to pursue music,” Brianne said.