Mustard had the pleasure of speaking with Daniel Finlay. Together we discussed their relationship with music, potentially being related to professional wrestlers, performing, and so much more!

1. Mustard is grateful to have you join them at Music Shelf. How are you doing today?

We take every day as it comes, but as of late I’m great, thanks Mustard!

2. Mustard wonders what your relationship with music was growing up?

Music was strange growing up, as I was definitely shown a lot more different music than I would listen to now. I grew up surrounded by Reggae and the classic hits by my Dad, and more R’n’B by my Mum, so not stuff you’d hear me making! But I think it helped me appreciate music in a different sense than I did at the time and learn to appreciate all the boundaries that music can push. I’m happy I grew up with the music I did, as it really did help me realise what I really wanted to do as I grew up.

3. According to your Instagram profile you are a Sadboi. What makes you sad?

I am a Sadboi haha! It first started in reference to a favourite artist of mine who goes by the name Raleigh Ritchie, but I think it helps not just define me to a person or artist, but also myself. Like many, unfortunately, I suffer from mental health issues, and some days are good, some are rough. But Sadboi doesn’t mean I’m always sad! I just am who I am 🙂

4. Is there a song or album that had a significant impact on you?

Definitely. I remember being away on a school trip at roughly 16. My best friend tapped me on the shoulder and went “Hey, have you heard this guy?” and proceeded to show me Frank Turner’s ‘Tape Deck Heart’. That album hit me like a ton of bricks and, although it wasn’t immediate, that album was definitely the biggest inspiration for me starting my music career. There’s also the aforementioned Raleigh Ritchie, whose album ‘Andy’ makes up 9 out of 10 of my most listened songs on Spotify, so take that how you will (I will love him forever).

5. Who (or what) influences you?

I know it seems a bit cliche, but bar the answers of artists and songs, it really is my personal experiences that inspire me the most. I think my most powerful and possibly favourite songs are the ones that are taken from real life. Whether sad or happy or somewhere in-between, if I’ve experienced it, I’ll most likely write about it. That won’t always become a fully fledged song, but it’s its own form of therapy, and definitely helps me the most!

6. Do you share any relation with professional wrestlers Fit or David Finlay?

Well the Finlay name is one I don’t see often, so possibly. I’ll run a DNA test with them ASAP and let you know the answers. You better not have got my hopes up..

7. Your YouTube channel features various covers. How do you decide on a cover?

I always make sure to include covers not just online but in my personal live sets too, I think they’re such a great way of showing off who inspires you at any given time! When I’m deciding which song to cover, a lot of it is honestly down to ‘I am heavily addicted to this song at the moment and I wish to sing it’, but more recently I do take into consideration how my voice sounds best with them rather than just doing them haha! Let’s just say there’s a folder on my laptop with a lot of old Panic! At The Disco covers that will never be seeing the light of day…

8. On your channel is a Roundhouse Highlight video featuring your original song “Her Song.” Could you share more about this show?

Ah, The Roundhouse show! This was such a special show for me, it was the first one where I had proper family and friends present and was put together by my college at the time, SoundSkool (massive shoutout to them for helping shape me into the artist I am today!). I performed an original and two covers and the set went fantastic. It really paved the way for me in the live music realm as the high I had coming off that stage was insane, it’s made me push so hard to make every live show a genuine experience for all my audiences and give them even a small part of how I feel on stage.

9. Did the human you dedicated “Her Song” to receive it? Is it still her song? Have you fully transferred over the rights?

On a real note, when I saw this question my heart sort of took a hit (I’m alive don’t worry, we gucci). That song, at the time, meant a huge deal to me, as it was about my girlfriend at the time who happened to live in the US, so the relationship was long-distance. It was really hard but it was the first ‘love’ song I wrote and had showed to someone. That relationship ended horribly unfortunately, and really messed me up for a long time. I’m at a place of comfort with it now, but it’s a song I tend not to sing anymore sadly. It’s gone from ‘Her Song’ to ‘A Song’.

As for the rights, f*ck ’em, they’re mine. 🙂

10. “Time in a Tree” holds a lot of meaning for you. Can you recall your first experience with this song? What does it mean to you?

Time In A Tree is another song by the previously spoken about Raleigh Ritchie (can you tell I like him). It’s a song about trying to recapture the youth you had and it always makes me nostalgic for a childhood I never really had. I didn’t have a lot growing up, not that it was extreme and I was homeless or starved, but in the more emotional sense. I was kind of my own best friend and my mum was the only person I ever really got on with and cared about. But hearing that song for the first time was just bliss, and it makes me happy reliving even the small moments I had when I was younger. I plan to cover it live eventually but as I said before, another song will end up on repeat soon enough and I’ll cover it without a second thought.

11. You’re a seasoned performer. Do you have a pre-show routine?

Compared to me almost 4 years ago, it does take me by surprise by how many gigs and opportunities I’ve had! I don’t actually have a ritual to be fair (although maybe I should start one…) but I don’t tend to get nerves either. People get a bit shocked when I tell them that, but I think it’s just cause live music is my absolute favourite thing. If I could perform to 20,000 at the 02 tomorrow I’d do it in a heartbeat (although the set may be a bit sloppy, soz audience).

12. What was it like to open for Toploader? When did you first learn about opening for them?

Opening for Toploader was a CRAZY ride! A promoter had offered me gigs prior to this and I took a small one at The Beehive. That set always makes me laugh cause it didn’t go as great as planned, but it got me the opportunity to play at 02 Islington for the first time, which led to the second time opening for Toploader. It was SUCH a great night, possibly my best overall gig experience. The set, the crowd, everything was 10/10 (bar my voice, screw you cold). One night I’ll never forget!

13. Mustard is a big supporter of Katzpace. How was your most recent show there?

. I adore Katzpace! Finding new acts, small or big, always makes me so happy and Bebe, the runner of the event, was kind enough to offer me a slot! Funny enough, although it may have been a smaller night or venue to the 02 Islington, this gig excited me more at the time as I was playing my entire set with keys (with my talented keys player, Rob Brao), which isn’t something I ever get the chance to do! It was so much fun and gave me a great space to try new material and meet great people 🙂

14. What is next for Daniel Finlay?

The next thing I’m planning is working on finishing up some tracks I’ve already worked with producers on and look at building a plan for release at the last quarter of this year. I’ve been meaning to release for the longest time and life has gotten in the way, but I’m so excited with the material I have now and cannot wait to get releasing some tunes!

15. Where can readers listen to your music?

There’s no music available for streaming JUUUUST yet, however, if you wish to catch up with me all things life and music, my Instagram is @iam.finlay and will always be up to date! 🙂


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