How 'AGT' Contestant Robert Finley Used Music to Overcome His Heartbreaking Past
BY KAYLA KEEGAN
Jul 9, 2019
The Vietnam War veteran, who is blind, inspired all the AGT judges.
“The bad things sometimes bring out the best in you. I began to play the music again. It made me reach inside to find myself," he said on the show.
America's Got Talent contestant Robert Finley has been through a lot over his lifetime. But through all the challenges, the 65-year-old Vietnam veteran has never stopped pursuing his dream of being a professional singer. His uplifting spirit and love for music clearly left a mark on judge Simon Cowell, who had nothing but wonderful things to say about the blues vocalist on Tuesday night.
"You’ve got this great soul about you," Simon told the Louisiana native after Robert auditioned with his own original bluesy song "Get It While You Can."
"The finest wines are the ones that stay in storage for a few years and then they become beautiful, and that’s how I feel about your voice." Fellow judges Julianne Hough, Howie Mandel, and Gabrielle Union agreed with Simon and tacked on several more compliments.
Despite his talent, fame never came to Robert at a young age. Still, he continued to perform wherever he could — nursing homes, prisons, and more. At 18, he joined the military and served in the Vietnam War. After the war ended, he got married, had kids, and took up carpentry.
Years later though, Robert got divorced and lost his house and trailer to a fire. Then, at 60 years old, he started going blind due to glaucoma, which resulted in him losing his job.
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