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Dermot Kennedy

2019 – the year of the chart-topping debut set singer-songwriters. Most definitely. The fact that Irishman Dermot furthermore broke into the austere US market was decidedly encouraging, and encouraging still was his rustic folk and passion-driven soul.
Born 13 December 1991, Rathcoole, Crumlin, County Dublin, KENNEDY went from gleaning a degree in pure music at the National University of Ireland in Maynooth County, Kildare, to performing his acoustic debut EP, `Dancing Under Red Skies’ (led by `Drop In Low’); featuring a full band, complete with violinist. After a few tweaks here and there, the lack of support to release it on the mainland led talented 19-year-old to form his own band, Shadows And Dust. And when this combo failed to transpire fully, the troubadour took to busking in the streets of Dublin and Boston, Massachusetts; his influences ranged from GLEN HANSARD, DAMIEN RICE and DAVID GRAY and he also won the South County Song contest, hosted by St. Finian’s GAA club.
Things began to get brighter when Spotify streamed his self-published material, thus giving him a step up when the majors came calling. Download EP’s, `Doves & Ravens’ and `Mike Dean Presents – Dermot Kennedy’, were pitched intermittently while touring the USA (tours between 2017-2019) that supplemented prestigious festival appearances at the Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, SXSW, Austin City Limits and Coachella Valley.
Still awaiting the right call from record companies, `Power Of Me’ gave Ireland’s most promising act a home soil hit by the turn of 2019. A self-financed eponymous download album, in which Dermot’s recent releases had been compiled, proved he’d the fanbase behind him when sales subsequently soared. Island Records (Interscope stateside) won the bidding war, and with a succession of singles in various formats (from the 12-inch `For Island Fires And Family’ to downloads `Lost’ and massive breakthrough hit, `Outnumbered’), the name of DERMOT KENNEDY was finally gaining the recognition he’d worked hard for over the previous several years.
Although ED SHEERAN, RAG’N’BONE MAN and BEN HOWARD had probably cornered their own niche in the global market, melding acoustic folk with electronica and hip hop was Dermot’s light-bulb ping moment when WITHOUT FEAR {*7} topped the charts in October 2019. Sure it would appeal to more than just fellow 20-somethings, however the polished passion and derivative drama on crescendo-enhanced nuggets, `An Evening I Will Not Forget’, `All My Friends’, `Power Over Me’, `Moments Passed’, `The Corner’ (depicting urban homelessness), and aforementioned big hitters, saw down-to-earth Dermot ready-made for the big arena.
(c) MC Strong/MCS Oct2019

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