Brit-beauty Sade sang about a “Smooth Operator” who made the ladies swoon with his fashion sense and life on the fast lane. Finn does the same just with his voice and his music. Smooth Operator, meet Groove Operator.
Finn a.k.a Groove Operator (born Haifine Latapu) was raised in South Sacramento, CA. The first genre of music he ever heard was old Tongan folk music from his parents. He also grew up listening to R&B, Old School, and Soft Rock music–even before Reggae music. Whatever was on the radio, they listened to it. “We didn’t have any money for music tapes or CDs. We only had the radio so we listened to artists like The Jets, Boyz II Men, Jodeci and Sade just to name a few.” It wasn’t until junior high school that he was exposed to Reggae music through church dances and activities.
If you asked any of his closest family and friends about him singing growing up, they wouldn’t recall such a time. Finn admits, “It wasn’t until after high school that I finally sang in public. The only person that really knew about me singing before that was Kalani [Hafoka].” Not only did Finn start to develop his musical talents vocally, but lyrically as well. “Writing music, at first, was so bubblegum,” he laughingly recalls. “Most of my songs had those ‘You’re so fine/I wanna make you mine’ kind of lines [laughs]. I was young. I had to start somewhere.” Finn’s singing got a lot of positive feedback from family and friends. They encouraged him to take a chance and go down the musical path and he did just that. Songs such as “Wind Yo Body”, “I’m the One”, “Tell Me How You Feel” came out and created such a buzz on the West Coast. The music was definitely R&B-based but also infused Reggae beats that immediately caught the attention of the Polynesian community. Adding Finn’s smooth R&B vocals made the fellas groove and the ladies swoon. Requests started coming in for Finn to perform his hit songs at various venues and functions. “I just had fun with it,” said Finn. “I was young and enjoyed going to all these places to sing and perform.” Sites such as MySpace and YouTube helped Finn and his music extend beyond the U.S. and go international.
With time, Finn was able to mature and gain experience as a musician – especially as a songwriter. Becoming a husband and a father a few years ago helped to change his views about the music industry as well. He states, “I know now that I want to be a songwriter more than a singer. I want to focus on writing songs for artists and writing songs that will move and touch people.” When asked about the objective for his new album coming out this summer, Finn had a confession to make. “This album was made in hopes to catch the ears of the singers out there.” All the songs in this upcoming album were written by Finn and will, therefore, showcase his lyrical talent. The move from singer to songwriter and vice versa is so popular in Hollywood right now. Big name artists such as Ne-Yo, The Dream, Keri Hilson, and Bruno Mars all started off in the music game as songwriters. Other artists started off as singers and made the transition to songwriter – Finn is one of them. “Ultimately,” he acknowledges, “I want to work with Quincy Jones.”
Until Finn makes the full move from singer to songwriter, fans can still enjoy his wonderful voice on this next album. Snippets of songs from the album will be released on Facebook and YouTube in the next few weeks so be on the lookout! You can expect a variety of genres to be covered in this album from club-bangers to slow jams, R&B to Reggae – Urban Island at its best.
Get the latest updates of Finn and his upcoming album on Facebook.
Article Written By: Pesi Kava
*Photos courtesy of SV Delusional Photography
*YouTube video courtesy of Gypsy2352
*YouTube video courtesy of 9huan
*YouTube video courtesy of asianboriqua
*YouTube videos courtesy of pulokaproduction