Robert Finley’s Lightbulb is Shining Bright in NYC!
inThe Artistson May 24, 2018
Tim and Denise Duffy founded Music Maker because the musicians we partner with, who our society has cast away, are actually rockstars. Pictures of Guitar Gabriel, Precious Bryant, Ironing Board Sam and many other partner artists hang on the walls of our office like posters of Jimi Hendrix or Bob Marley in a college dorm room. Through Music Maker’s helping hand, an artist like Ironing Board Sam can rise from the brink of obscurity and homelessness to play not one, but three shows at Jazzfest and release five albums during his “golden years” — that’s rock n’ roll.
Music Maker’s most recent success is the partnership with soul singer Robert Finley, whose rise has been nothing short of meteoric. When Music Maker founder Tim Duffy happened upon Mr. Finley playing through a beat up karaoke machine on the streets of Helena, AR in 2015, no one could’ve imagined how high his star would rise. In three years, Robert released an album with Big Legal Mess, toured Europe and, most impressively, released an album with platinum-selling rocker Dan Auerbach (The Black Keys) that was followed up with a cross country tour to support the album.
Robert Finley says that he’s, “Like a light bulb. It doesn’t matter how many watts it is, if you don’t put no electricity to it, it’s not going to shine.”
Robert is exactly right: his talent was always there, formed by his long musical history in the thick swamps of Louisiana and as an Army bandleader. Our Musical Development program seeks out artists like Robert and goes where most folks in the music industry won’t. Shortly after meeting Robert, the Music Maker team went down to Bernice, where Robert lives and more than 30% of the population survives below the poverty line. Visiting Robert you quickly see how the veil of poverty does a remarkable job at concealing even the greatest talents.
Last night Robert played the Mercury Lounge in New York City and garnered notice from both the NY Times and the NY Daily News and tore down the house.
A few professionally done music videos, photographs, and recordings created by Music Maker put Robert on the map and led to the success he is seeing today at the age of 64. All Robert needed was for someone to notice him and to recognize what’s true about all the artists Music Maker partners with…that they’re rockstars.