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Sometimes in life, you get a second chance. Robert Finley is living proof of that.
After giving up his dreams of becoming a professional musician at a younger age, the blues guitarist and singer-songwriter from Bernice, Louisana took up a vocation in carpentry until a few years ago he was forced to retire due to being declared legally blind. What happened next was extraordinary. Finley was discovered by the Music Maker Relief Foundation whilst busking on an Arkansas street corner, and the non-profit organisation supported him in making his first ever record. His debut album Age Don’t Mean a Thing, came out in 2016 when the musician was in his early sixties.
Through Age Don’t Mean a Thing, Finley was discovered by The Black Keys founder Dan Auerbach, who described his new found friend as “the greatest living soul-singer”. The frontman quickly signed him to his Easy Eye Sound Record label and produced his second record, 2017’s Goin’ Platinum.
Robert Finley is currently on tour in Europe promoting the record. We caught up with over the phone the morning after his Amsterdam show.
You’re coming to the UK soon, how excited are you about those gigs?
I am really looking forward to it.
What can fans expect from the shows?
Every show is different, it’s all about giving the people what they want and making sure that everybody has a good time and has an unforgettable night.
How do you make sure that happens?
You never know what songs and in what order they will work, you kinda just have to feel your way through it. I get to party for a living and it’s my job to make sure everybody who comes to the show has a party of a lifetime.
What do you enjoy being out on the road?
I’m living my childhood dream and getting out there and encouraging other people to follow their heart and follow their dreams. It’s about spreading joy and spreading happiness.
What’s your favourite part about playing live music?
I love it when after the show, people come up to me and express their appreciation for that they’ve just seen. At every show, there should always be one song or one moment that people will always hold on to.
In the digital music age, why do you think going out to see live music is still so popular?
Everybody is searching for something real these days. There’s so much fakeness, and make-believe and pretending in the world that people want something real. On stage I’m just being myself and the people seem to appreciate that.
What keeps you hungry?
I’ll never be satisfied with myself. I’m my worst critic. If you’re satisfied, then you lose purpose. You have to keep setting yourself new goals. I watch back videos of my performances, looking for mistakes so I can figure out what to do better.
You achieved success relatively late in life, what advice would you give to other artists trying to find their voice?
Believe in yourself and concentrate on being all you can be. Don’t try to be like anybody else. You’re the only one who can make it happen. People won’t know what you’re capable of if you do nothing.
Catch Robert Finley on tour at the following dates this November:
26 November 2018 – Bush Hall, London
27 November 2018 – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
Tickets are available now through Ticketmaster.co.uk