O'Connell, known just as Finneas (sometimes FINNEAS), produced and co-wrote all the tracks with his sister on the Grammy-winning album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? — and he had a pretty big night, too.
Nominated for five Grammys, Finneas won in all five categories including the coveted award for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical. He follows in the footsteps of Pharrell Williams, Mark Ronson and Rick Rubin. At age 22, he's the youngest solo winner ever. Finneas also won alongside the "Bad Guy" singer in the Record of the Year, Album of the Year and Song of the Year categories. To say it was a big night for their house is an understatement.
So, who is Finneas? Here are seven things to know about Billie Eilish's favorite collaborator.
He's already making waves in the music industry.
For Eilish fans and people in the industry, Finneas O'Connell is not a new name. He's been a staple alongside his sister on stage at concerts, in interviews and in the studio. But it's not just Eilish he works with. Finneas co-produced Selena Gomez's number one hit "Lose You to Love Me." He collaborated on a few songs with Camila Cabello for her album Romance and co-produced Halsey's song "I Hate Everybody" off her new album Maniac. Finneas loves working with female artists.
"It’s definitely femme heavy on my résumé," he told the Washington Post in a profile this month. "I think there’s a real vulnerability to the lyrics I’m interested in writing, and I think there are a lot of incredible women in music right now that are willing to be vulnerable, and there’s a little less male vulnerability."
Never forget — Finneas was on Glee.
Before he was an in-demand producer, Finneas gave acting a shot. In 2015, he played Allistair in Glee's final season. He also appeared in the films Life Inside Out and Bad Teacher, as well as two episodes of Modern Family. The fact he caught the acting bug early on shouldn't come as a surprise as his parents were actors.
His parents knew he had a gift at a young age.
Finneas and Eilish's parents, Maggie Baird and Patrick O'Connell, were supportive of their dreams.
"We have never put any kind of emphasis on getting a job and making a living," Patrick told the Washington Post. "If we modeled anything, it was being broke and artsy."
Maggie said Finneas played instruments and wrote songs at a young age.
"Patrick and I would hear something, and walk into the room and go, 'Who wrote that?'" she recalled. "And he’d go, 'I wrote that.' Every time. I remember telling a person or two who was a singer or a songwriter, I’d be like, 'I don’t know what to do, my son has this crazy talent.' They were kind of like, 'Oh, yeah, you’re the mom, you can’t possibly know.' And I’d be like, 'I think I do know.'"
Finneas attended a songwriting class at age 12 taught by his mother, who’s also a musician. "It’s as if she handed him a songwriting Rubik’s Cube, and he solved it in three seconds," Patrick remembered.
He's dating an influencer.
Sorry ladies, Finneas is off the market as he's seeing YouTube star Claudia Sulewski. The fashion and beauty vlogger has 2 million subscribers and 1.5 million followers on Instagram. She won Revolve's YouTube channel of the year award in 2019. Sulewski regularly shares posts of both Finneas and Eilish.
The hitmaker is pretty smitten with her, too. Last year, Finneas released a single named "Claudia," which he wrote about his girlfriend after the first night they met.
Finneas isn't looking to be super famous.
While he praised his sister for how she handles notoriety, the producer told the Washington Post he's not cut out for fame.
"[Billie] walks around, and because there’s a billboard of her face on Sunset Boulevard, people really recognize her," he explained. "In my perfect world, I get to be a professional musician and still go to Trader Joe’s."
He added, "I think she does really well with it, and she’s very deserving of the adulation that her supporters give her. I’m maybe a little less cut out for that level of white-hot, kids-chasing-you-through-an-airport, Hard Day’s Night-level stuff."
Finneas sings, too.
While Eilish is one of the biggest names in music right now, Finneas isn't afraid to take his talents to the recording booth. He released his debut EP Blood Harmony in October. He told Rolling Stone the title was partly inspired by the bond he shares with his sister.
"I would love for this title to remain ambiguous to listeners and for everyone to be able to imbue it with their own meaning and justification. The most common use of the term ‘blood harmony’ is an English expression for what it sounds like when siblings sing together, that biologic chemistry — I think that speaks for itself," he told Rolling Stone.
Finneas embarked on his first headlining tour last fall and is currently working on his first full-length album.
His priorities are with his sister for now.
Finneas will accompany Eilish on tour this year and will work on his album in his spare time.
"It’s me being of service to whatever she needs," he explained to the Washington Post. "Whenever duty calls, I say, 'Yep. Let’s go.'"
Why? Because he knows their partnership is something special. Finneas acknowledged there could have been a sliding doors moment where Eilish left him behind after getting a label deal as many managers would have encouraged her to cut ties and work with established producers.
"In the alternate reality where I wasn’t involved at all, and I’d been like, just, sweating my way through, trying to have a music career for years? And then my sibling had one and I wasn’t involved at all? I think I’d be very tortured by it," he admitted. "But the fact that we’ve had one in tandem makes a lot of sense."
Instead, Finneas and Eilish have a management team that is invested in both of them.
"Billie doesn’t actually like recording sessions at all," he explained. "We like making music together. She doesn’t like going to some big studio and having them pretend to be a therapist for a couple hours. So by default, we always make the good stuff together."
More about Eilish’s record-breaking night at the Grammys:
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