It’s not often that music success comes around later in life, but that’s exactly what happened for up-and-coming soul singer Robert Finley. While many performers sign to record labels in their teens and twenties, Finley didn’t release his debut album, Age Don’t Mean A Thing, until just last year after a stint in the army and working most of his life as a carpenter. In keeping with the unconventional provenance of his burgeoning musical fame, Finley plays an unlikely, streetwise Santa Claus, spreading holiday cheer throughout Los Angeles in the sunny, soulful video for “Merry Christmas, I Love You.”
Produced and written by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys, “Merry Christmas, I Love You” is a bluesy throwback holiday song in both message and execution. “The song itself is about everyone getting a little love for Christmas, and I enjoyed playing Santa,” says Finley, “There was the Santa spreading love, and then there’s the part where Santa Clause had to become a hero. It was to show that crime doesn’t pay, you won’t get away, and Santa Clause is here to save the day. Everybody’s supposed to have a beautiful Christmas.” Auerbach also plays on the song with musicians Gene “Bubba” Chrisman, Bobby Wood, Russ Pahl, and Dave Roe.
“Merry Christmas, I Love You” can be found on Amazon’s Christmas Soul playlist alongside holiday-themed songs from Blu & Exile, Open Mike Eagle, Dawn Richard, and Adrian Younge. Robert Finley’s Auerbach-produced sophomore album Goin’ Platinum! is available now on Easy Eye Sound.