13 Questions with Jenni Finlay
Jenni Finlay has been around music her whole life. Her father, Kent Finlay, owns Cheatham Street Warehouse and Jenni grew up watching greats like Stevie Ray Vaugh and George Strait play her father’s stage. Though she performed in her early years, Jenni realized her passion was to be behind-the-scenes. With a degree in Music Business from Belmont University, Jenni started her own promotions company in 2006 as Jenni Finlay Promotions. As the seventh anniversary of the start of her business rolls around, Jenni is gearing up for the party to end all parties. At Cheatham Street Warehouse on Aug. 8 starting at 8 p.m., a long lineup of musicians, including Jenni’s sister HalleyAnna, will celebrate Jenni.
1. What got you started in the music industry?
I was born into it, I guess, and have been in the industry for over a quarter century now (I'm 34). My parents owned Cheatham Street Warehouse when I was growing up, and I spent my childhood watching Stevie Ray Vaughn, George Strait, Billy Joe Shaver, and others. I began to perform professionally as a fiddler/vocalist alongside my dad when I was eight years old, playing everything from fairs and festivals throughout the Southwest to the Democratic National Convention to dance halls and bars across Texas.
At Belmont University (where I got my Music Business degree), I interned at Virgin Records and Major Bob Publishing, and co-produced several artist showcases at the Ryman Auditorium (where I discovered my love for helping artists on their road to success). After earning my degree, I returned to Texas where I began a career in music promotion and preservation. I was the Program Director for the Center for Texas Music History at Texas State University in San Marcos; Events Coordinator for Documentary Arts, Inc. in Dallas; and Director of Label Promotions for Compadre Records in Houston.
I started my own business, Jenni Finlay Promotions in 2006, and it's been going strong for seven years now - my roster includes James McMurtry, Gurf Morlix, Ray Wylie Hubbard, HalleyAnna, Ben Kweller, Kinky Friedman, Matt The Electrician, Slaid Cleaves, Kris Kristofferson, Shinyribs and many more.