“I’ve always wanted to develop from the acoustic side of things,” Dermot Kennedy tells Clash over the phone. The Irish singer-songwriter has swooned the crowd, with the honest and organic songwriting of single ‘After Rain’ receiving more than 20 million plays on Spotify. Stepping things up on his new EP, Dermot proves himself as more than just another guy with a guitar.
After seeing his cousin performing at a party, the curious newcomer soon picked up the acoustic himself. “I just basically wanted to be him for a really long period of my life,” he admits.
His most recent EP, ‘Doves And Ravens’, saw the singer venturing into different soundscapes than his previous releases. “It’s a sort of play on light versus darkness”, he tells Clash. “The sound is different from what I’ve done in the past, but it feels really good. It feels like a natural step for me to have taken and it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve been doing the acoustic thing for quite a while but I was looking forward to take a step away from that.”
With his live shows selling out by the minute and hype descending on both social media and streaming services, it’s an understatement to say that the newcomer hit something special. What is it with his music that creates such a reaction?
“Probably lyrically. I guess people can relate to what I’m saying. That’s the main thing, and then it’s on me to make sure that people who aren’t necessarily ‘lyrics people’, people who just sort of search for great music and really nice production, and like actual arrangements that can be moving, it’s on me to do something for them too.”
With such eloquent lyricism, it’s clear that Dermot draws on particular influences. Though he uses personal experiences, that art of balancing storytelling with realness makes his songs so evoking. “It’s not necessarily always the catchiest thing or the thing with the best kind of lyrical flow. Sometimes it can just be someone who’s brutally honest.”
Though singing to a bigger audience, the Irish artist is very real about where he comes from. “I’m still young enough to be developing as a songwriter,” he ponders. “There’s things I’ve written in the past that I nearly cringe at because at the time I thought they were really good, and now I just think they’re really bad.”
Speaking of hype, we often measure it in Spotify plays and social media likes, yet converting this to concert tickets is a difficult task. “Thankfully, whatever is happening on Spotify and any part of my online thing that’s busy, it feels as if it translate. It can be situations where someone get’s a ton of plays on Spotify and it’s just passive listens and it’s not people that buys tickets to shows, but thankfully that hasn’t happened,” Dermot reflects.
Seeming at ease with what’s going on and where he is, Dermot Kennedy is very open about the future. “You see the beautiful thing is that everything is happening naturally and nothing’s forced so I’m just gonna keep doing what I’m doing.”
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Words: Aurora Henni Krogh
For tickets to the latest Dermot Kennedy shows click HERE.