Finneas Baird O’Connell (known mononymously by his first name) is an award-winning singer, songwriter, music producer, and actor from Los Angeles. In case you’re not aware, the talented 25-year-old is the older brother of Billie Eilish. While Finneas certainly rose to fame alongside his sister (he wrote and produced her breakthrough hit “Ocean Eyes“), he has further wowed fans as a solo artist in his own right with keenly relatable songs like “I Lost a Friend.”
Finneas won eight Grammy Awards for his work on Billie’s music – including Best Pop Vocal Album, Song of the Year, Album of the Year, Record of the Year (twice), Producer of the Year, Non-Classical (he made history for being the youngest winner of that one), and Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical for his sister’s debut album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? Their song “No Time to Die” from the film of the same name earned him an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, and another Grammy.
Finneas was also nominated for Best New Artist for his solo work. On October 15, 2021, he released his debut album, Optimist, on which he wrote and produced all 13 tracks. It’s quite a bit different from the darker, edgy horror pop he does with Billie. Finneas said, “my album is very opinionated; it’s my view on life. I want it to be transparent. I wanna be as myself as possible.” His musical skills are truly amazing, his voice is strong and emotive, his music videos are wonderfully inventive, and his insightful lyrics indicate a wisdom beyond his years. Let’s just hope his new-found fame won’t go to his head!
Growing Up Homeschooled
Finneas is of Irish and Scottish descent, as you can tell by his looks. He was born on July 30, 1997, to actress and screenwriter Maggie Baird and actor Patrick O’Connell, both of whom are also musicians.
Finneas grew up with his sister in Highland Park, a historic neighborhood in northeast Los Angeles known for its Craftsman-style bungalows. The 2013 indie film Life Inside Out was filmed at their house. It’s a nice true-to-life movie about a mother and son who bond over their love of music. 16-year-old Finneas stars – and sings! – alongside his mom (who co-wrote it), while his dad plays the music store guy.
Finneas and his sister never went to school. For them, K-12 education is equivalent to forcing a child to eat veggies. When you are being told to sit down, and things are being shoved down your throat, you do not want to eat what’s force-fed to you.
Patrick O’Connell told the New York Times that he and his wife homeschooled their children because they were inspired by the band Hanson after reading about their homeschool experience. In an interview, Maggie Baird talked about the flexibility of homeschooling for both children and parents.
Finneas thrived and enjoyed being homeschooled. He learned math while helping his mom cook, and he learned to build things with his dad. He has stated that he was never like those high schoolers who base their self-worth on other people’s perceptions; but rather, through homeschooling, one’s own individualism will be cultivated. For him, homeschooling is all about self-discovery.
Baird and O’Connell both encouraged Finneas and his sister to express themselves creatively and explore whatever they wanted in their homeschool, including art classes, acting, dance, and songwriting. Baird said, “Homeschooling allows us to let them do the things that they really love to do and not have a giant academic schedule on top of it.”
In 2010, Finneas took a songwriting class with his mother, then he started writing and producing songs with Logic Pro when he was 12 years old. Later, Finneas started his own band. Meanwhile, Billie performed in talent shows and joined the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus at age eight. Finneas wrote and produced “Ocean Eyes” originally for his band, The Slightlys, and gave it to Eilish when her dance teacher asked them to write a song for a choreography. The rest is history!
In 2011, Finneas made his acting debut at age 14 when he played one of the students in the movie Bad Teacher. He had recurring guest roles on “Modern Family” and “Aquarius,” and played Alistair in the final season of the TV series “Glee” in 2015. He also voiced the character of Liam Binet in the video game Fallout 4. Finneas has said that his acting experience helped when writing music with his sister. According to Paper, they “like to completely make up things and become characters.”
Finneas has been his sister’s creative collaborator on everything from lyrics to music videos to live shows. He thinks their brother-sister connection helps make their music stand out. “We come from a place as outsiders because we’re still in our childhood bedrooms making music,” Finneas revealed on Vox’s podcast Switched on Pop in 2019. Incidentally, the family’s modest abode only had two bedrooms, so their parents slept on a futon in the living room to allow their children more room to work on their music.
Of course, now the wildly successful brother and sister are both rich enough to have their own homes! Finneas dropped $2.7 million on a 100-year-old Spanish Colonial-style residence in the Los Feliz suburb of Los Angeles in October 2019. Prior to this purchase, he still lived in the middle-class family home mentioned above. As for his sister, she now has her own equestrian estate (she’s always loved horses) in Glendale, California, only about ten minutes from Highland Park.
Thankful to be Alive
In an Instagram post, Finneas wrote that he crashed his e-bike on October 21, 2022. We’re not sure how it happened, but apparently he flew over the bike’s handlebars and broke his collarbone, as well as sustaining a radial head fracture to his right elbow.
“The severity of the displacement of my collarbone meant I required surgery which I am now on the other side of and I’m feeling great!” he said. Finneas now faces an “ongoing process of physical rehab” as he attempts to fully recuperate from his injuries.
“I want to thank my family for their support and love,” he continued, “and most of all Claudia for dropping everything to take care of me the second this happened, referring to his longtime girlfriend, Claudia Sulewski.
It’s too bad Finneas got hurt and we sure are glad he’s okay! Finneas says that he hopes he’ll be able to perform with his sister when she goes on tour, if he manages to recover enough in time.
“I’m told with hard work, I’ll be able to play Billie’s forum shows come December which I am so grateful for,” he wrote. “As foolish as I felt after the fall, my prevailing emotion is gratitude,” he added. “You see, I was not wearing a helmet. Lesson forever learned.”
“I feel so lucky to still be here,” he concluded. “Take care of yourselves, thank your bodies for all that they do for you. See you all again soon.”
Tribute to Family
Watch Finneas take a stroll around Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific in the music video for “Only a Lifetime,” a track off his debut album Optimist that’s dedicated to his family. How sweet is that?! Like most homeschool families, they are all very close, and watching the video is like going on a field trip with Finneas.😊 His sister and parents also make a brief appearance at the end. Amazingly, it was all filmed in one long take!