(SXSW 2018 flavoured!) Bands to Watch #407: Dermot Kennedy

By on Thursday, 8th March 2018 at 12:00 pm
 

Irish singer/songwriter Dermot Kennedy is on the verge of reaching 2 million monthly listeners on Spotify, largely on the strength of a string of single releases dating back to 2015. His most recent single ‘Moments Passed’, which came out last December, has already garnered over 6 million streams in its original form, and its Mike Dean remix is over 100,000 plays since its mid-February release.

Kennedy’s singing voice is soft and rough by turns, with a husky timbre in its most emotional moments that conjures images of a heavy metal singer rather than a pop balladeer. Yet, his vocal prowess is among his most prominent sonic trademarks and certainly one of his more endearing traits. Also characteristic of Kennedy’s songs are rapidly shifting soundscapes, which typically alternate between soulful acoustic balladry and crisp electro-pop.

In 2017, Kennedy released an EP titled ‘Doves & Ravens’, which featured 4 tracks including one called ‘A Closeness’, which shifts midstream from introspective guitar ballad to dark electro-pop, and the gospel-laced ‘Glory’. On the purely acoustic end of the spectrum is ‘After Rain’, which attracted attention after Kennedy was given a chance to perform it at Glen Hansard’s sold out Christmas show in December 2014. The live performance video of ‘After Rain’ playing just below was filmed at Dublin’s Whelan’s in 2016, courtesy of Sunday Sessions.

Kennedy’s earliest single, ‘An Evening I Will Not Forget’ from 2015, revealed promise both in his singing voice and in occasionally brilliant lyrics like “confessions should be better planned / alone, that night, I’m surely damned / run away, I’ll understand”. The video below is an early version of the song from Kennedy’s own YouTube page in late 2014.

YouTube and Spotify have quickly rocketed Dermot Kennedy to minor fame. He has just embarked on a North American tour, planned around his upcoming appearance at SXSW 2018, and as of this writing, most of his headline dates have completely sold out, including shows in Boston, Chicago, Nashville, Denver, Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle. A complete listing of Kennedy’s upcoming live dates and festival appearances can be found on his official Web site.

As with all of the SXSW 2018 showcasing artists we feature here at TGTF, Dermot Kennedy’s appearance in Austin is subject to change. We recommend that you consult the official SXSW Music Festival schedule for the latest information and updates.

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