INTERVIEWS

Exclusive Interview with FINLAY

Lose your fear and you will gain everything

FINLAY is a young star with a bright spirit, a warm heart, and passion-filled talent. Paige Finlay Yim, the singer-songwriter originally from Houston, has come a long way. After surviving a horrific shark attack back in 2012, she did not let the near-death experience stop her from seeing her dreams flourish.

It was written in the stars for Finlay to be the pure-souled electronic pop singer she has become. Now, Finlay makes her official music industry debut as she talks with OneEDM about her story and love for all things beautiful.

OneEDM: Congratulations on your industry debut this year! How does it feel knowing that it’s finally here and happening?

FINLAY: Literally a dream come true. As cheesy as that sounds, it is legit. It feels like coming full circle without even having started yet. I feel like years ago I started an open loop with myself, which was this idea of becoming an artist. Being able to close that loop and start another one feels great!

You have a new single with NATIIVE titled “Memories”. Can you tell us about how you two came to collaborate?

NATIIVE and I connected and met each other through Instagram. He and I met through another producer who had done some work with me on “Tides”, which is the first single that came out last year. It took about an entire year of us having conversations and getting to know each other before we even decided to collaborate together.

The track was originally written by a group of writers here in Los Angeles, and I was initially going to top line on it. So with that expectation in mind, I flew out to L.A. for a session. When we were working, I started doing vocals on the track and we both looked at each other said: “this is cool, but how much better would it be if we break everything down and change the progression and rewrite the entire song?”

That is what made it feel very NATIIVE and FINLAY. To both of our surprise, we ended up flipping the track, rewriting it, and that is how it got to be what it is today.

What does FINLAY bring to the female electronic-pop artist community that we have not seen yet? What sets you apart from the rest?

I would like to think that I am somewhat on par with some of these other female artists. I love everything that they are doing and everything they have going on. It is hard to pick something that is unique to me, but this experience that I had in the ocean that gave me this crazy second chance at life is rare.

That, in a lot of ways, gives me this totally unique perspective. Number one on life, but then also on how I want to go about my career. How I want to connect with fans and even sonically incorporating that oceanic-chill sort of feel. It has totally rerouted my direction in a lot of ways and helped me focus on what I want to do in the industry. Having that experience and bringing it to the table is giving me something unique to bring to others.

What important message would you like to bring to the youth of today who always listen closely?

Music is and has been so healing for me as I pursue my career after almost losing my life. A message of hope was given to me and I want my fans to be able to hear that.

When they hear my vocals I want them to hear and feel healing. When I go to a festival I literally almost have this spiritual experience where there are lights and sound and production and art. I think art exposes the truth and I want people to hear what they are able to with my music.

How was it shooting your music video for “TIDES” in Hawaii? What was your favorite part?

It was the most fun in the whole world. I love Hawaii and have spent probably eight months over the course of my life there. I make pretty frequent trips there, and my favorite part would be this all-female videography group I sought. They shoot a lot of surf-lifestyle footage mostly for commercial brands in the surf community. I have been really inspired by the surf community in general.

There is so much music happening in the surf community and I want to bring that oceanic vibe into electronic pop music. “Tides” was really that for me, to be able to tell the story of what happened to me in that decision to break through fear. I wanted the visuals to really reflect that, so when it came time to do a video for it that was the basis of the concept. The footage honors Hawaii’s culture, as well as all of the beauty of the island while telling my story.

What is something that might surprise people about you that they do not know?

Well, I speak a little bit of French. This is my industry debut so I feel like it is all new and unknown to the audience. I also love dancing. My favorite dance move on the planet is the worm and I will do that worm anywhere I can. I will go to a wedding and seek out an opportunity to do the worm.

Where did you find the strength to not give up during your recovery after your near-death experience?

The drive was the music. In therapy, while I was healing my knee, the dream of being on stage to perform and to begin my musical journey pushed me. I knew I had to put in all the work that I could. I held the vision, kept it really close to my heart, which is what really helped me become healthy.

How did you heal your relationship with the ocean?

By going back into the ocean. I mean that was it, it was almost this intuitive thing. The last day I was in the hospital I had this experience where I was in the wheelchair being wheeled out and I had a knot in the pit of my stomach. I thought, “will I ever go back in the water? Can I face being on the sand? What if I have flashbacks?  What will that all mean? Am I ever gonna revisit this beach?”

I knew I loved it too much and I knew that I would almost be a slave to fear. If I did not go back in, I would be giving into fear. It was scary to think about pushing myself to do it, so every opportunity I had since the attack I make it a point to go and push myself to swim out farther than the last time. While shooting the video for “Tides”, I would have flashbacks. But the only way to heal the PTSD was to put myself in a position where I was able to respect the ocean and not give into that fear.

Would you say making close friendships in this industry is a must?

One hundred percent a must. I will chat about that all day long. Friendship is really important to me and I think we are seeing a lot of that right now, a lot of collaborations coming up out of friendship. Even this year I can name ten songs that have all been birthed out of genuine friendships with other artists who are supporting each other.

For me, this latest track “Memories” has happened organically through friendship. In any industry, we all need friendship for sure, but I think specifically in the music industry, having a genuine friendship is one of the most valuable things.

I love your whole leisure beach vibe that you have. Does nature and mother earth ever inspire you in your professional music career and in your personal life?

Oh yes. Any chance I can get to be outside or in the water, I am there. The sounds from the coast really inspire me. I feel the closest to the earth when I am in the middle of a vast ocean. And that is another thing, I did not want fear to get in the way of my relationship to the earth, to the ocean, or to nature. I am learning a lot as we progress as a society on how important it is to conserve this planet.

It is shocking to me how the planet is mistreated, but we can make changes. Just in my personal life, I can make changes. I am learning and growing with new information that makes me want to help. I want a healthy respect for nature and mother nature.

Can you please discuss your partnership with ROLI music brand?

Yes! ROLI all day! I love the brand and the marketing team. They have really innovative products. Our work together has just begun, but you can expect to see more collaborative media between me and the brand. I use the “Seaboard” on stage which suits me perfectly.

I had reached out to them about a year ago and we started our partnership. Their products are next level and really engage those five avenues of the way that sound can be bent. It is all catered around sound waves and the “Seaboard” really expands all the horizons to bending sound, pitch, and tone.

What are some future goals you have for yourself?

I have a few releases coming up over the course of the summer, such as the “Tides” music video with a radio edit of the original track. A couple of other singles thereafter, then the hope is to jump on stage and get involved with the festival community.

You are a Texas girl. Can you tell us what are some of your favorite things to eat at a BBQ?

I am super plant-based now. But before, I was a wing girl and anything ranch, chipotle sauce, or BBQ! Now it is seasoned sweet potato so I can still get that southern taste and not lose my Texas-girl culture.

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Steve Matos
the authorSteve Matos