Fintan O’Brien may be a familiar face for Oak Bay audiences but this summer it’s less of a family affair.
The young musician played Willows park the previous two summers as part of the prolific performers, the O’Brien Family.
“Both times I’ve played it I loved it,” he says. “It’s a no-brainer. “It’s a funny gig for me because it always ends up being a reunion. I always see old teachers and friends because I went to St. Michaels (University School).”
This year, with dad Paul working on a record in Europe and siblings off to university, he’s focussed on his own work, songs and music he’s been writing since childhood that feature in the July 27 concert in Oak Bay.
“I started taking it seriously when I was nine which sounds ridiculous … right in that time period where everyone’s searching for an identity and suddenly I founds something I was good at. It was like wildfire from there and I just couldn’t stop,” he says. “It’s a really great time for me to do something like this, where I’m branching out from the family thing.”
In his family, songwriting is a “go-to way to express ourselves” he says. “I don’t think I’ve ever felt pressure to make music in this family, it’s always a joyous thing to do.”
His songs have been enthusing audiences from the streets of Victoria where Fintan started performing as a busker to the Vancouver Island Music Festival where he performed with his family. He has recorded his own five-track EP with Grammy award-winning produced Joby Baker and has performed at the Vancouver Island Music Festival, the Filberg Festival, and the main stage on Canada Day in Victoria.
He hopes to see the community come out and connect with his folk/pop music.
“They’re embarrassingly mostly cheesy love songs but that’s the songwriter’s main inspiration always. The fact is we’re constantly trying to woo everybody,” he says. “You write whatever you really feel most about. Things that are at the forefront of your mind which is for human beings very often love. You have to write what you feel. Audiences always see through the BS of not being honest.”
Born in England, O’Brien can’t help but relate the free summer park concert to community and connection and the June referendum results in his homeland where the majority voted to leave the European Union.
“It really makes it clear why art and music is needed in the world. We’re all so divisive nowadays. More than ever we need to come together and share more,” he says. “I love these evenings where a community comes out and connects with music. It’s literally the act of bringing people together for the same reasons.”
Get a taste of the music at fintanobrien.com online.
The Oak Bay Parks, Recreation and Culture summer concert series continues with Impulse Response Aug. 10.