Artist Recommendation: Dermot Kennedy
Dermot Kennedy: one of the only artists I have fallen deeply in love with. He is not only an incredible musician, but his songwriting is somewhere close to perfection. Over the past year, he has been gaining deserved recognition in the UK, Australia, the United States and Canada with headline shows and sets at major festivals (i.e. Coachella, Lollapalooza, Osheaga, and Electric Forest - just to name a few). Dermot was recently featured on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, as well as performing several times on BBC Radio 1. Kennedy also landed a performance on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert Series. A fresh face to the music industry, Dermot Kennedy is bound for even more success.
Kennedy presents a modern mix of acoustic-based instrumentation and songwriting with a more hip-hop based production. He has cited artists from both genres as inspiration, ranging from Bon Iver and Ben Howard to Kanye West and Frank Ocean. He adores these artists so much that he has made covers some of their biggest hits, but completely transforms them to fit into his style. One of the most impressive of these covers is of Kanye West’s “Heartless”, which can found here. My personal favorite is Dermot’s cover of “Temptation” by Joey Bada$$, because he fully recreates the song to fit his own genre-bending production.
Now diving into his own music, for me, it can be summed up in one word: breathtaking. Dermot’s songwriting is vibrant and telling, true expression is felt through his words. The first time I heard Dermot Kennedy was about a year ago. I was in my kitchen and “Glory” came on as a suggested track. I stopped what I was doing and listened to the entire song. When it ended, I was blown away. I immediately saved the track, and listened to the rest of his discography in awe. His unbelievable voice has a raw, raspy quality to it that is subtle, but comes out in songs like “For Islands, Fires, and Families.”
Dermot does not have an album out yet, but his current collection of tracks on Spotify are definitely worth listening to. In addition to his Spotify discography, he has several more tracks that are only available as live versions on YouTube; these are also astounding tracks from Dermot. His recent singles, “For Islands, Fires and Families” and “Lost”, are reworked studio recordings of the original live versions.
Dermot Kennedy’s live shows are a whole different story. Unfortunately, I have not seen him live yet, but we are still waiting on more tour announcements! Testimonials for his concert attendees have compared his live sets to being in heaven, with goosebumps covering their entire bodies and tears running down their faces. His live setup is simple - Dermot up front, with his incredible band behind him, and all of them playing their hearts out. His passion and love for his art is visible on his face while performing, and his engaged demeanor is one of the many reasons he attracts numerous listeners with every gig.
Dermot’s full length debut album is expected this spring, and he will be touring around Canada and the northwest of the States in April. Please check out this extremely talented musician, especially if you love genre-bending creativity!