US singer and guitarist Robert Finley (L) performs during the Cognac Blues Passions music festival
Source: YOHAN BONNET/AFP via Getty Images

Five Things You Need to Know About Legally Blind Blues Singer Robert Finley

Any fan of the blues has probably heard of Robert Finley — but here are some details that you may not have known about the 'AGT' star!


Nov. 2 2023, Published 4:17 p.m. ET

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Every artist has their signature sound — but perhaps what sets America's Got Talent singer Robert Finley apart from your regular contemporary blues artist is the gritty, raw authenticity he brings to every track.

Read on to discover everything we know about the bluegrass singer and his musical journey leading up to this point!

'AGT' Blues Singer Robert Finley is from Louisiana.

 (L-R) Josh Cornoyer, Robert Finley and Aaron Goodrich perform on stage at the Bluesheaven Festival.
Source: Per Ole Hagen/Redferns

Robert Finley's roots lie in the small town of Bernice, La., where he was born and raised. Growing up in the Jim Crow era of the South greatly impacted him, and like most artists, his background had quite an influence on his music.

“Once again, I have to give credit where it’s due to God, because who knew that anyone had ever heard of me or what I was doing in Louisiana,” Robert told the Bluegrass Situation in an interview.

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The Blues singer bought his first guitar at age 11.

At the tender age of 11, Robert's fascination with music was piqued after he bought a guitar at a thrift store. He is in his 60s now and performing at various festivals, but that single action ignited a chain reaction for what was to come decades later.

Robert Finley got his start in gospel music.

American Blues musician Robert Finley plays guitar as he performs with the Music Maker Blues Revue during the 2016 GlobalFest on at Webster Hall's Studio stage
Source: Getty Images

As a child, Robert was inspired by gospel music and even performed in the choir.

His keen observation of the skillful singers and musicians in the church helped him to cement his own technique, which went a long way for him. At one point, he was even the lead singer of a band called "Brother Finley and the Gospel Sisters."

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Robert Finley previously served in the Army.

A major part of Robert's story is the time he spent serving in the military.

The singer joined the military in 1970 to become a helicopter technician and was stationed in Germany. He found a way to get his musical groove on even, securing a spot in a band. That goes to show you — when there's a will, there's a way!

Robert Finley was diagnosed with glaucoma.

After his stint in the Army, Robert went on to pursue a career in carpentry. But music was still calling his name.

As fate and divine intervention would have it, he was diagnosed as legally blind not long after he started losing his sight in 2014. This abrupt life change forced him to retire. On the bright side, he rediscovered his true passion — singing the blues!

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Robert Finley released his debut studio album in his early 60s.

Robert's debut album, Age Don't Mean a Thing, was released in 2016. At the time, he was in his early 60s.

Although many would consider Robert a "late bloomer," especially as far as superstardom is concerned, he has defied the odds and proved that that is not always the case!

The album did an amazing job of highlighting his soulful voice and the rawness of his talent while telling fans his story authentically. Listeners could definitely tell that the album drew inspiration from the greats like B.B. King and James Brown!

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Robert Finley still lives in his hometown.

Despite his fame, Robert has never wandered too far from home!

“Yes, I still live in Bernice,” he told BGS. “Why would I go anywhere else? I know these people and know this area. Both the places where I was born and grew up in now have Robert Finley Days and they gave me keys to the town."

"You really can’t beat that. I’ve lived long enough to be able to do what I love and make a good living," Robert said of his reported $ 3 million-dollar fortune. "That’s the best of the many blessings I’ve gotten from the good Lord, along with meeting Dan and being able to tell the world my story.”

The author’s content and opinions have not been pre-reviewed, approved or endorsed by Discover.

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