Singer Songwriter Rob Finlay’s interest in music certainly came from his parents; even before he was born his mum was beaming Bob Dylan directly into his brain via headphones on her tummy. Rob Finlay grew up in Hertfordshire and as a child his parents took him to festivals; particularly the London Feis where he first saw Dylan and ‘Van the Man’ aged seven. These formative experiences shaped his desire to listen to and eventually write music himself. He started Spanish guitar lessons about the same time and wrote his first song Distant Youth, at the tender age of 13, a title that must seem ironic to him now.
Rob Finlay’s teens brought him closer to the excitement of live music as he discovered artists outside of his parents’ record collections. A friend’s mum worked on Top of the Pops, he would often go backstage, meeting REM was the first time he would recall being “star struck”. Rob’s dad worked in the British Film Industry as a painter and over the years Rob also met a lot of film faces, Sir Ian McKellen, Sir Roger Mooreand Matt Damon to mention a few. These influences led him to develop parallel interests in film and music.
Rob Finlay formed his first band Captain Davenport aged 17.They gigged around London at the Bull and Gate, Horn Re-Born, Covent Garden Rock Garden and local pubs. On Millennium New Year’s Eve they were paid to perform for BBC staff in the Top of the Pops Green Room, playing originals and covers. Then at Bristol University as Vice President of Churchill Hall he ran a Drum and Bass night and FIN’s Acoustic Café, a popular showcase for student talent.
After graduating Rob wrote and directed a short film called The Telephone staring British-American actor Philip Winchester, known for his roles in The Patriot, Thunderbirds, CSI: Miami, King Lear, Flyboys and Fringe. The film featured Rob’s music compositions and was screened at the Curzon in Soho.
Rob Finlay established a film and animation company called Previsualisation Ltd; He won the Creative East Awards Best Non-Broadcast Production 2007 for an educational DVD read by Tony Robinson. Around the same time he made a music video for Jamaican Reggae legend Dawn Penn for her track ”Never Hussle the Music”.
Since 2005 Rob Finlay has worked from Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire. Big music acts rehearse for tours there, for Rob Finlay it’s an inspiration to know that Biffy Clyro, Westlife, Take That or Pink Floyd are sometimes just meters away. In 2006 Rob met Peter Waterman and Simon Cowell at Elstree when they gave Simon a plaque to commemorate his achievements in the music industry.
In 2011 Rob decided it was time to really focus on songwriting and performing so he formed a band to record and release his début album, These Words Aren’t Meant For Me, through his label Written Records.
Rob Finlay is now playing solo open mic nights around the country and showcase gigs with the band.
Rob Finlay’s thoughts…
“I’m often at odds with the intention of writing a song. It’s impossible to hold up a mirror to the world and expect everyone to see the same thing. To me words, like dreams flow in strange, vivid and sometimes elusive ways. I try to write and sing what I feel when I look into the mirror, different though it may be each time. It’s been said that my songs convey a feeling of the epic but actually they are more about the small moments, the cracks in time around big events, a look from a lover, the feeling of an empty room. A lot of it boils down to what I feel personally is the strongest emotion of all – nostalgia. In its various forms it can hold lives to ransom, or offer hope that can push you on. Life is full of so many bitter sweet freeze frames, snap shots in time that should be savoured whether they hurt or heal” Rob
Rob Finlay’s influences…
Tori Amos, Goo Goo Dolls, Bob Dylan, Miles Davis, Rush & Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, Eagles, Nirvana, Manic Street Preachers, Nick Drake, Miles Davis, Neil Young, Soundgarden, Sylvia Plath, Dylan Thomas, T.S. Eliot and traditional music played raw in the pubs of Ireland.