From Waitaki Boys’ High School to crowd favourite on the X Factor Australia and featuring on the soundtrack for the film Deadpool, Finley Brentwood is relishing a dream run. Now based in Melbourne, Finley and his sister Isla have made a life for themselves in performing. Finley talks to Rebecca Ryan about the Brentwood Duo’s journey, following his dreams and finding the beauty in simplicity.
Q When did you start playing music and what inspired you to start?
Music has always just been there, my family roots are tied up in it. As a child I primarily sang, but it wasn’t until I was in high school that I started learning an instrument.
Q What do you love about it?
The infinite combinations that music can be arranged in astound me, especially as music changes across the years. Listening back to artists who changed the game with their experimentation, seeing their progress in their work.
Q What are your proudest moments so far?
Being able to make a life for myself solely by performing over the past few years would be up there. Essentially, that’s the dream for a lot of musicians.
Q What did you get up to when you left Waitaki Boys’ High School in 2008 and how did you end up back in Oamaru at Classic Hits?
After high school, I studied a bachelor of broadcasting communications at the New Zealand Broadcasting School in Christchurch. I finished off my degree with a year-or-so on-air at Classic Hits Waitaki (formerly Radio Waitaki). It was incredible timing being placed at a local radio station in the town I grew up in. It made my job a lot easier as I was already invested in the community.
Q When did you leave Oamaru and what have you been up to since then?
I left early in 2012 and finished up my time in radio down in Dunedin. I spent some time across the South Island working in musical theatre productions and beginning the Brentwood Duo journey.
Q Tell me a bit about your Australia experience. How has life changed since then?
Isla and I were, and still are, amazed by the reception of our time on X Factor Australia. It felt like it came out of nowhere. We had a lot of fun and we’re really thankful of the opportunity to show what we’ve got.
The experience was very intense, there is a lot on the line for these shows to go ahead and many moving parts behind the scenes. Reality television is made up of a lot of smoke and mirrors and it is very hard to keep control of your trajectory once it’s begun. It’s difficult to not get caught up in it all.
Q And how did your version of end up on the movie’s soundtrack album?
The beauty of social media! Deadpool himself – Ryan Reynolds – found our version of the Deadpool Rap and shared it across his profiles. Next thing, we’re contacted by the studio and asked to re-record it for the extended soundtrack. Still can’t believe that happened.
Q Where to from here? Any ultimate music goals?
Just keep playing. There have been ups and downs, as there are in any field, but the risk of making a living in an industry known for chewing people up and spitting them out has a very fulfilling reward on the other side of it. I hope to release more music soon – we want to go back to basics and find the beauty in simplicity.
Q Where can people see you perform or hear your music these days?
Melbourne is the home base, we have gigs all around the city and we find ourselves very lucky to be travelling for work as well. It’s been far too long since any gigs on home soil, but we hope to remedy that soon.
Q When was the last time you were back in Oamaru?
Wow, too long! Mid-2014, not long before I moved to Australia.