Finneas O’Connell is what is known as a triple threat in this industry and here’s the proof. Landing his first acting gig at the age of 12 in a little ole feature film titled “Bad Teacher” starring Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel, and Justin Timberlake, yeah he was “Twilight,” he was already set on the road to stardom saying, “This was the first movie I ever been in so, I didn’t even know how huge it was at the time.”
In between seeking acting gigs, music was always apart of his ultimate career goals after seeing Green Day in concert. All he needed now was to learn to play guitar, which he did. Fast forward a few years later and O’Connell landed every triple threats dream job; a recurring spot on Ryan Murphy’s Glee. With all this success at a young age you’d think O’Connell would be slowly down, but think again.
As the frontman of the “Pop n’ Roll” band The Slightlys, O’Connell alongside his band members: Darius Dudley II (Violin/Bass), David Marinelli (Drums), and Robby Fitzpatrick (Lead Guitars) are on the verge of becoming one of the most noted indie bands carving out their own unique mark in the industry. I spoke with Finneas O’Connell in an exclusive interview and we talked about his acting career, how The Slightlys came together, and more.
Although both of Finneas’ parents are actors in the industry; he didn’t have quite the easiest time convincing them to let him be in it. “The general perception of that is that it might be sort of easier to start acting if your parents are actors, but I feel like if your parents do what you do they know the challenges of the industry,” he said adding, “If you never auditioned for anything, you might not know how many times you get rejected for parts before you may be lucky enough to get one. I really had to beg my parents to let me start acting when I was younger.It took me a couple of years for me to really convince them that I really wanted to do it and that I could handle getting told no all the time.”
Glee was O’Connell’s hardest role to land, but with persistence and patience, something he’s big on, he landed a role. “I’ve always been a musician and actor and I think when you’re a musician and an actor the casting directors from Glee sort of had their eye on you,” he recalled. But Glee had a wandering eye for O’Connell that took him on several auditions.
“The first audition I ever did for Glee was in 2013. I got asked to audition but it was really me putting a camera on myself in the kitchen and doing a self tape and that’s pretty common of you doing an audition at home then they’ll want to see you. Then I went back a couple of months later for a different role and I did the preliminary audition which was just singing, then I went back a few weeks later for an audition for like Ryan and stuff. I didn’t get that role.” But Finneas was asked to come on yet another two auditions and received a role his fifth time. “I went in and said my stuff, did the part and like a day later, because of the nature the way things were so fast in the last season, it was such a fast process once I was cast. They called me the next night and told me I got the job. The next day I had wardrobe and the next day I started. It was such a crazy week.”
Transitioning into music full-time was a natural progression for O’Connell and he already had a band for his future without even knowing. The Slightlys, before they were named that of course, met back in 2012 when they all were playing with other bands. They were all at a battle of bands competition at Club Nokia in 2012. All their bands lost, but when they teamed up and went back in 2014 as The Slightlys they won first place in that very battle they didn’t place prior.
Today, The Slightlys have teamed up with famed producer/engineer Eric Palmquist (Bad Suns, Night Riots, HUNNY) to create their upcoming EP set for an early 2016 release. The first single from that EP, “Desperate Measures,” is all about “being in love and the crazy feeling” that comes along with it. The entire EP is about “being 18 in the city of Los Angeles.” The band is working on a tour and have plans to do more gigs in LA.
The key to handling the ups and downs of the industry is based on one word for Finneas O’ Connell: Patience. “I was asked the other day in an interview what I sort of defined success as and I had to think about that. I always felt that for me success was just being able to make a living off doing what I love. If I could make music or act I don’t care if I’m rich. All I really want is to be able to do both those things and not have a job I hate,” he said.
O’Connell ended with saying, “In order to do that you obviously have to work hard, but I think the benefit is that if you’re working hard at something you love then it doesn’t feel like work. That’s definitely the thing that I want people to know it’s really hard and when you see someone succeed it means that they worked really hard.”
Keep up with all the latest news on Finneas O’Connell and his band by logging on to www.theslightlys.com and following them on social media @TheSlightlys on any social site you can think of specifically: Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Take a listen to the band’s latest single “Desperate Measures” below.
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Photo: Jamie Luca