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Finley Quaye (born 25 March 1974, Edinburgh, Scotland)[1] is a Scottish musician. He won the 1997 Mobo Award for best reggae act, and the 1998 BRIT Award for Best Male Solo Artist.

Finley Quaye
Born (1974-03-25) 25 March 1974 (age 45)
Edinburgh, Scotland
Years active1993–present



Finley Quaye is a grandson of vaudeville pianist Caleb Quaye. He is the youngest son of jazz musician Cab Kaye, the half-brother of guitarist Caleb Quaye, and half-brother of jazz musician and ethno-musicologist Terri Quaye. He is the father of Theodore Turgoose and of the bassist Caleb Quaye.

Born in Edinburgh, Quaye went to school in London, Manchester and Edinburgh. However, he left school with no qualifications. Before making records he took employment spraying cars, smoking fish, making futons and as a stage-rigger and scaffolder.

His father was born in London, but considered himself as African. Although known as Cab Kaye, his full name was Nii Lante Augustus Kwamlah Quaye and he was a Chief of the Ga tribe centralized in Jamestown, Accra, Ghana. Kaye was the son of the pianist Caleb Jonas Quaye a.k.a. Mope Desmond, who was born in Accra, Ghana. Finley did not grow up with his father and only found out, in his twenties, about his father's history as a musician. Mope Desmond, Cab Kaye and Finley Quaye have all played Glasgow's Barrowlands, Wolverhampton's Wulfrun Hall and London's Cafe de Paris. Finley was on tour with his band when he met his father for the first time in Amsterdam.

Finley Quaye was inspired early on in his childhood by jazz musicians Pete King, Ronnie Scott, who started his musical career making tea and running errands in Finley's father's band, and Lionel Hampton. Quaye heard jazz as a child, living in London with his mother, who would take him with her to Ronnie Scott's jazz club to catch performances of American jazz musicians touring Europe such as Buddy Rich, who recorded his live album there in 1980. Quaye's mother had long term relationships with musician Pete King, who hosted and performed at Ronnie Scott's club in Frith Street, London, as well as Dodi Fayed, a film producer who produced Breaking Glass with Hazel O'Connor.

In April 2012, Quaye was charged with aggravated assault in Edinburgh.[2][3] He was subsequently found guilty and sentenced to 225 hours of unpaid work.[4] In November of the same year, he was declared bankrupt with a tax debt of £383,000 after HMRC applied to the courts to recover the money. Official documents stated that Quaye had "zero assets".[3] Quaye also admitted possession of cannabis in 2003.[5]


Quaye made a solo recording contract with Polydor Records and moved to New York City. He began working with Epic/Sony when Polydor let him out of contract, and in late 1997 he reached the UK Top 20 twice, with "Sunday Shining" and "Even After All".[6] His reputation was established by Maverick A Strike, released in September 1997. It went gold less than three weeks later, and led directly to the BRIT Award victory. The album is now certified multi platinum. In 1998, Quaye performed George Gershwin's "It Ain't Necessarily So" for the Red Hot Organization's compilation album Red Hot + Rhapsody, a tribute to George Gershwin, which raised money for various charities devoted to increasing AIDS awareness and fighting the disease.

Two more albums were released on Epic, Vanguard (2000) and Much More Than Much Love (2004). "Spiritualized" became his last single to score a top 40 landing in the UK chart when it was released in September 2000, reaching number 26. In 2004 the single "Dice" was released in collaboration with William Orbit and featuring Beth Orton. The song featured in Fox Network's The OC and on the season 1 soundtrack, becoming a minor hit.

He released the EP "Pound for Pound" with Intune Records in 2008, with Norman Grant of the Twinkle Brothers featuring Sly Dunbar and Lloyd Parks. He recorded in 1998 with Buju Banton and Sly Dunbar in Kingston, Jamaica at Penthouse Studios and also recorded with Tricky and Iggy Pop at Sony Music Studios, in Manhattan, New York City.

Quaye performed with his band at the Roxy in LA and at SOB's in NYC, as an introductory tour in 1998. They played alongside Ben Harper and Eagle Eye Cherry, they also played San Francisco. He recorded most of Maverick A Strike at Fire House Studios in NYC in 1994 whilst signed to Polydor. Over the past 20 years he has based himself in NYC, Miami and in Los Angeles. He has played at Rio Free Jazz Festival alongside The Roots in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. He has also performed as the first UK band to headline a festival in Hong Kong at Rockit Festival. Quaye was the first UK act to play a festival in Serbia at EXIT festival and performed live at Vancouver Folk Festival and Star Belly Jam in 2010. He also performed in France at L'Elysée Montmartre, La Grand Halle De La Villette, Le Bataclan and La Cigale, and in Germany at Columbia Halle in Berlin and E Werks in Köln. Quaye has also performed at Music Box in Lisbon and supported Julian Marley in Cascais and toured South Africa twice, performing in Limpopo, Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg.

At Madness' 1998 outdoor event, Madstock IV (billed as a pre-1998 World Cup "friendly"), Quaye was due to perform for around 40 minutes but, after making derisory statements concerning the England football squad's likely performance in the competition, he was jeered off-stage by the partisan crowd after only 20 minutes and did not return.

In July 2015 he was forced off stage mid-performance by the owner of a music club in Gloucestershire who criticised Quaye for lacking professionalism.[7]

Television performancesEdit


Quaye's videos were shot in Africa, the United Kingdom and in Trinidad.


Studio albumsEdit

  • Maverick A Strike (1997)[6] #3 UK
  • Vanguard (2000) #35 UK
  • Much More Than Much Love (2004) #56 UK
  • 28th February Rd. (2012)
  • Royal Rasses (2014)
  • Straight from the Country (2017)


  • The Best of the Epic Years 1995-2003 (2008)

Extended playsEdit

  • Oranges and Lemons (2005)
  • Pound For Pound (2008)

Singles and other contributionsEdit

  • "Finley's Rainbow" - White Label (1993)
  • "Finley's Rainbow" on A Guy Called Gerald's Black Secret Technology (1995)
  • "Sunday Shining" (1997) #16 UK
  • "Even after All" (1997) #10 UK
  • "It's Great When We're Together" (1997) #29 UK
  • "Your Love Gets Sweeter" (1998) #16 UK
  • "Ultra Stimulation" (1998) #51 UK
  • "It Ain't Necessarily So" album Red Hot + Rhapsody (1998)
  • "Spiritualized" (2000) #26 UK
  • "Caravan" on Timo Maas' album Loud (2002)
  • "Dice" (2004)
  • "Stranges Changes" on A Guy Called Gerald's To All Things What They Need (2005)
  • "For My Children's Love" (2006)
  • "We Are Dreamers" on Cathy Claret's album Gypsy Flower (2007)
  • "After Tonight" on Ava Leigh's La La La (2007)
  • "Shine" on 28 February Rd (2012)



  1. ^ Music Scotland - The Vault - Biogs. BBC (1974-03-25). Retrieved on 2014-04-19.
  2. ^ "Reggae star Finley Quaye in Leith assault charge". BBC. 11 April 2012. Retrieved 6 March 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Shamed Capital reggae musician Finley Quaye is broke".
  4. ^ "Reggae star Finley Quaye sentenced to 225 hours of unpaid work". BBC. 23 October 2012. Retrieved 6 March 2013.
  5. ^ Desk, NME News (14 July 2015). "Promoter kicks Finley Quaye offstage during gig: 'I won't pollute my venue with bullshit' - watch". NME. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  6. ^ a b c Strong, Martin C. (2000). The Great Rock Discography (5th ed.). Edinburgh: Mojo Books. p. 786. ISBN 1-84195-017-3.
  7. ^ "Promoter kicks Finley Quaye offstage during gig: 'I won't pollute my venue with bullshit' - watch". NME. 14 July 2015.

External linksEdit