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The Finesse Prepare For "Juneteenth: The Movement" And An Album Release

The Des Moines band The Finesse are gearing up for "Juneteenth: The Movement," a live concert presented by Iowa Public Radio, xBk and Iowa PBS, happening on June 19 from 7 to 9 p.m. The Finesse are also our Artist of the Month for June. Lead vocalist Madison Ray, who is co-hosting "Juneteenth: the Movement" spoke to IPR’s Tony Dehner about all of that and more.

There's a renaissance on the way for art in Iowa. Just ask Madison Ray of The Finesse.

Madison Ray of The Finesse, accompanied by Ames musician King Wylde at xBk in Des Moines.
Cheshire Omnimedia
Madison Ray of The Finesse, accompanied by Ames musician King Wylde at xBk in Des Moines.

“This is the time to focus on the craft, because I have no other distractions," said Ray. "I started writing again, and telling stories, and processing a lot of loss and trauma, like so many others. We’re in this very productive, prolific period, because there’s so much life happening.”

“The world still needs music!” said Ray. “Even though we’re alone or separated, we’re still able to come together in really unique and fascinating ways to figure out how to make stuff.”

The Finesse have been together for a few years now and are at work on a new record. They have released a Christmas album and also filmed an entry for the 2019 NPR Tiny Desk Contest, performing the song “Roulette.”

“We have a healthy diet of hip-hop, jazz, blues, and rock, but I think it’s also the artistry that’s in the room,” said Ray about the band’s unique sound. “I think part of it is ‘who comes to the table, and what do they bring that adds to our recipe?’”


Madison Ray will host“Juneteenth: The Movement” on June 19th, along with IPR’s Cece Mitchell. The show will take place at xBk in Des Moines from 7-9 p.m., and will be broadcast on Iowa Public Radio and Iowa PBS. The Finesse will be premiering a new song at the event. Ray sees “Juneteenth: The Movement” as an opportunity to “meet the moment.”

The Finesse, performing at xBk in Des Moines.
Katie Light Vance
The Finesse, performing at xBk in Des Moines.

“Here in Des Moines, they’re finally recognizing Junetheenth as a legit holiday, so we thought ‘let’s kick up that real holiday spirit for our entire community,” said Ray. “We can reach people in safe, progressive, innovative ways. In my mind, it’s like Rockin' New Year’s Eve, or something you have on in the background. The concert’s going, but also we’re grilling out and playing cards, and we’re doing all this stuff like a regular holiday. We’re just a part of that experience.”

The Finesse are IPR’s Artist Of The Month, in collaboration with the Des Moines Music Coalition and Good Morning Iowa. Learn more about “Juneteenth: The Movement” at the event’s Facebook page.