With so many huge acts in and out of our doors, it’s easy to forget those that are out there, tirelessly working their way up to the top who deserve your attention. This week, we’re putting the spotlight on Irish singer-songwriter, Dermot Kennedy.
For Fans Of: Ben Howard, James Blake, Damien Rice
Essential Listening: ‘Young & Free’, ‘Glory’, ‘Moments Passed’
You might think that the world doesn’t need any more singer-songwriters, but that’s where you’re wrong, because the world most definitely needs Dermot Kennedy.
Born in Dublin, he began his life as a singer playing stripped back and simple acoustic songs, but his love affair with hip-hop has seen his music go on a transformational journey over the years. After a chance meeting with Irish legend Glen Hansard led to a 10-minute slot at his Christmas show, Dermot’s career accelerated at an alarming speed. It was his debut EP, Doves & Ravens though, where things truly changed.
Containing the tracks, ‘Boston’, ‘All My Friends’ and ‘Glory’ it saw Dermot combine the acoustic melodies he wrote so well, with snappy drum patterns and intricate hip-hop inspired rhythms. Not only does each song on the EP showcase Dermot as an astonishing vocal talent, but also as a creator, as harmonies swirl around your mind and drum loops cut in when least expected. There are so many elements to his music, but all complement each other in the most magnificent way.
With the EP out in the world, Dermot began playing headline shows, picking up traction in both his homeland and in London, and all of them were selling out. Festival’s started adding him to their line-ups and even the US wanted a piece of him. Then again, once you see him live, you’ll understand. Despite the venue sizes growing substantially with each tour, Dermot never fails to make them feel intimate. The passion and emotion performed with each song will make your hairs stand on end and the power in his voice reaches beyond venue walls.
2018 has already been a career-defining year for the 25-year-old. Selling out a 60+ show headline tour months in advance, he then dropped a mixtape with Mike Dean, who’s famed for his work with The Weeknd, Travis Scott and Kanye West. Alongside a remix by Dean of Dermot’s impassioned track, ‘Moments Passed’, the release also saw a revamped version of ballad ‘An Evening I Will Not Forget’, which saw Dermot drop a Drake verse amongst the heartbreaking lyrics – but the triumph of it all, is single ‘Young & Free’.
Perhaps his finest work to date, ‘Young & Free’ captures everything that stood out in his previous offerings and wraps them into four dark and moody minutes. The hip-hop influences are as prominent as ever and there’s a poetic flair to the words he sings, yet at its core, it’s still an acoustic ballad by the guy from Ireland with a guitar. Already a favourite with his rapidly growing fanbase, it’s the song that’ll see him turn heads and have people asking why they hadn’t heard of him before.
If, having now listened to Dermot Kennedy, you’re begging to experience his voice live, then don’t worry because his calendar is jam-packed for the rest of the year. Festival performances this summer include TRNSMT, Citadel and Lollapalooza amongst many others, and he’ll be embarking on a full headline tour in October. However, with some dates already sold out, you need to grab your tickets sharpish, like today.
Wondering where you can see him? Take a look below:
O2 Academy Oxford: Sunday 14 October Buy Tickets
O2 Academy Liverpool: Sunday 21 October Buy Tickets
Want to keep up to date with all our features, interviews and more? Why not sign up to our newsletter?