“At one point, it was getting the same amount of play as ‘We Can’t Stop’ by Miley [Cyrus],” says Finlay, who was born and raised in Mill Woods.
Finlay’s first single is nearly indistinguishable lyrically and production-wise from an international hit. He studies popular tracks at a formulaic level in order to produce something that is simple and familiar, while still being colourful and expressive.
His first big break came in 2010, when he won a radio competition put on by The Bounce. That win sent the then 16-year-old to Vancouver to work with producers Mike James (Hedley, Kreesha Turner, Nike, Fantastic Mr. Fox) and Troy Samson (Kelly Rowland, Trevor Guthrie, Calvin Klein, Nikon).
Finlay’s played large Albertan festivals like K-Days and Boonstock, and this year he performed at Edmonton’s Pride Festival and Canadian Music Week in Toronto. And, although he started out playing in local coffee shops, once his music started being played on the radio, things changed.
“When I won the Bounce showdown, I went into a coffee shop to play, and they kind of kicked me out. They said ‘your song’s on the radio; we don’t want you here,’” he says. “I guess they didn’t want to support anyone who had even a little success.”
But that didn’t stop this singer/songwriter from continuing to succeed. This summer saw the radio release of his second single, “Good Times.”
“We first recorded that song three years ago, and it’s just been sitting, waiting for the right day.” Finlay and his team decided the “right day” was somewhere around the middle of June, giving the song time to build enough hype to become a summer anthem.
The song will be featured on an episode of Degrassi (formerly Degrassi: The Next Generation), making it the second time one of Finlay’s tracks will appear on the show. He also filmed and released a music video for “Good Times” this summer.
Finlay’s first video release party was at Knoxville’s Tavern in April and, while the experience was amazing, he says that clubs aren’t really his scene. “It’s kind of funny that I write these dance-y songs. I don’t really like clubbing. I prefer watching Netflix at home with friends.”