Ruth Finlay was born and raised in Birchcliff Village in Toronto. At the age of six she began her music studies on piano at the Royal Conservatory of Music of Toronto. Coming from a musical family there was always music in the home. Ruth's father H.C. Hughes was musical and taught Ruth, her sister and her brother to sing in three part harmony at very young ages. Together the children formed "The Hughes Trio", which sang in churches, at conferences and at festivals for several years.
Growing up, Ruth studied flute, music theory, and guitar. She sang in a number of folk groups as a teenager and continued to perform as lead singer in each combo. Singing, writing music and playing flute introduced her to a number of opportunities to travel to various countries of the world with Shekinah, a Christian performing arts company headed by Merv and Merla Watson. She toured England, Holland, and traveled with the group to various destinations in North America before joining them for almost a year in Israel, where she performed with the troupe throughout the country. While in Israel she studied flute with the first-chair flautist of the Jerusalem Symphony - Hanoch Tel Oren.
Ruth produced her first Album of original songs at age 22. Awake North Wind was created at Master's Workshop with co-producer Doug McKenzie. Awake North Wind received considerable airplay in Canada and the U.S. It is now available for download at: https://ruthfinlay.bandcamp.com/album/awake-north-wind and also available as CD's.
Working as a singer/dancer/actress in the repertory theatre troupe The Inner Stage from the age of 23 to the age of 25, Ruth wrote songs for the company and led workshops with children, teenagers and adults in the performing arts.
Ruth played flute, sang, played keyboards and wrote music for the reggae band Skyless and the Clouds. She formed a new band with lead singer Miki C. (of Tuned in Radio) called Soul Food and produced, with Miki, an EP of groove music called Soul Food Spectacular.
When The Blues Brothers band came to Ottawa, (with Dan Aykroyd and James Belushi) in 1994, Ruth was invited to sing as one of their three back-up singers. The three backup singers were called The Natural Queens.
Inspired by inner reflections and hopes for humanity, Ruth’s debut CD, The Borderlands , was released on her own record label, Jesse Records in 1999. The songs from The Borderlands are all original (music and lyrics) with songs inspired by A Course in Miracles and The Bible. The music on the CD is enhanced by the performances of flautist Ron Korb, guitarist Ray Hickey Jr., bassist Steve Lucas, drummer Larry Crowe, cellist Daniel Domb, (from the Toronto Symphony) keyboardist John Cleveland Hughes, (Ruth's brother) and blues guitarist Buzz Upshaw. Ruth co-produced the CD with Paul LaChapelle at Quest Recording Studio in Oshawa, Ontario. Ruth sang all lead and back-up vocals on The Borderlands as well as playing classical and twelve-string acoustic guitars, grand piano and keyboards. In 2002 The Borderlands made the top 10 in New Age Radio around the world, coming in at number 4. The Borderlands still receives airplay today. Tune into Stingray TV and The Spa Channel. Ruth's instrumental from The Borderlands CD in on the playlist today. Listen for "The Mysterious Man". The Borderlands CD is available for download at: https://ruthfinlay.bandcamp.com/album/the-borderlands
In February, March and April of 2002 Ruth wrote and directed her first film "Talking Again" for the Toronto Online Film Festival which won a Digital Gun Award. "Talking Again" is a music video taken from track #3 of The Borderlands.
Ruth obtained an Honours Music and Drama Degree from the University of Toronto graduating with Highest Distinction. She continued her studies receiving a Bachelor of Education . Ruth taught with the Scarborough Board of Education for 4 years before becoming a group piano teacher with the CBAM.
Ruth taught music with the Canadian Bureau for the Advancement of Music (C.B.A.M.) for 22 years. She was a supervisor and examiner for 13 years. While with the CBAM she served 5 years as Vice-President of the Piano Class Teachers Association: three years on the Board of Directors of The Davenport Festival of Music, promoting excellence in music performance among young musicians of Toronto and Southern Ontario and she served two terms as Vice President of the Board of Directors (of the CBAM ). In June of 2020 Ruth achieved 30 years of teaching piano to children and adults of all ages. Ruth is also a vocal instructor helping people to sing their soul songs.
Kriya Yoga Baghans and Hymns CD was created for the practice of Kriya Yoga with Yogi Satyam from India. Ruth practiced Kriya Yoga for many months with Yogi Satyam and created songs for him compiling this CD for his devotees. Steve Minns was the producer and recording engineer.
Song Dreamer CD was created by Ruth's while she was directing her nine-piece band of the same name - Song Dreamer. The band formed a music community in Mississauga Unity Church. The songs are entirely original. Song Dreamer explores our commitment to spirituality and devotion to God.
You are my Brother John CD was created in memory of her brother who took his own life in 2009. This CD is a mixture of music; some of John's; some of Ruth's and some of their music combined. John Cleveland Hughes was a brilliant musician who played with some of North America's most talented musicians. He was one of the founders of the Toronto Beaches Jazz Festival. He used his many connections to draw big ticket acts to the Festival in its early years.
Sing Your Soul Song CD was created as a support CD to the Sing Your Soul Song Workshop. In order to develop the singing voice the singer needs to practice. The CD supports that vocal practice.
Vocal Exercises CD was created to support all singing and voice students with their skill development. Vocal Exercises is available for download here: https://ruthfinlay.bandcamp.com/album/vocal-exercises-instructional
Ruth holds certificates in Sacred Meditation, The Personal Growth Center Courses and Clear Mind (A Course in Miracles); has taken a number of courses with Landmark Education including their Advanced Course. Ruth has also received training in Theraputic Touch. She is a certified EFT -- Emotional Freedom Technique Practitioner receiving certificates of training from the International Metaphysical University in West Virginia and has been accepted into the AEFTP as a professional EFT coach.
Feb. 14, 2013 Ruth performed in the Nggaali Love Raising Valentine's Day Party at Daniels Spectrum in Toronto. Ruth played keyboards and sang vocals in Cynthia Long's band with Kathleen Gillis, Michael Moon, Chris Gartner, Amadou Kienou. Other performers included, COBA (Collective of Black Artists) Amai Kuda, Sani Ijovudu Dance, The Inner TruthTaiko Dojo Drummers, Changu Changezi, Sabrina Wang of the Little Pear Garden Collective, and Karusia Wroblewski. Here's Cynthia's website: www.nggaali.org
Govfest's 2015 "Battle of the Bands". This is a fund raiser for United Way: Ryan's Well. Ruth was a guest performer with the long-time Toronto Band Evolution, soloing a song from Hairspray -- You Can't Stop the Beat!
Ruth facilitated Sing Your Soul Song Meditations at Kimbourne Park United Church in Toronto for two years from September 2017 to January 2019. The singing meditations brought singers from all over the GTA and surrounding cities. Ruth created and facilitated the first Sing Your Soul Song Retreat in the summer of 2018 at Nature's Retreat in Terra Cotta Ontario. In the setting of nature the participants explored singing their soul song, meditation, EFT, yoga, wholesome foods, nature walks and wonderful fellowship.
CBC's hit show Kim's Convenience has contracted with Ruth to play her song "Let it Go". It was scheduled for show #312 in 2019.
Listen to "Let it Go" here: https://ruthfinlay.bandcamp.com/track/let-it-go . It is found on her Inspirational Soul Songs EP. Watch You tube Video of Let it Go. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUfqaZN-1PQ
Ruth had the honour of being the music director of Unity Church of Newmarket in the summer of 2019. (Unity York Region, Ontario, Canada)
She is so grateful to meet so many new and lovely friends.
In the Fall of 2019 Ruth joined the all girl band All Spiced to help raise money in Govfest's Battle of the Bands. All Spiced won the first round! The band had only been together for only a few months. All the money raised went to the project Ryan's Well.
During the Covid 19 lock-down in 2020 Ruth transferred all her teaching to online piano and voice lessons. Some of the students didn't miss a lesson!
Native Flutes & Nature Sounds is Ruth's new release on December 20, 2020. This album of nine native flute songs with nature sounds is peacefully beautiful inspiring the listener to relax, unwind and feel like they are walking in a forest, floating on the ocean's waves, or maybe resting peacefully in a summery meadow surrounded by the cicadas and the singing birds.
During this difficult time of social distancing and lockdown which began in March 2020, Ruth worked in the senior's community online with Anne James' meditation for world peace. Ruth played flute and sang songs to compliment and enrich Anne's beautiful guided meditation. Ruth and Anne continue to work to enrich the lives of seniors today.
Ruth is currently recording her new gospel song: Believe. It expresses the good news of the saving grace of Jesus Christ for all who believe in him and follow him as the way, the truth and the life.
And lastly but very importantly Ruth is the happy and proud mother of two wonderful young men-- Jesse and Simeon Finlay and the joyful grandmother of two angel-girls Zoey and Aria Finlay.