deep beyond merely its production, the EP showcases Kennedy as a writer in monomania of a sophistication well beyond his 25 years. He pens lyrics with a poet ‘s eye and a knocker ‘s preciseness, conjuring intense imagination and transfixing audiences with the alone cycle and hang of his soulful delivery .
“ I think reading poetry and listening to hip hop offer a lot of the lapp rewards, ” reflects Kennedy. “ The estimable rappers are then honest, and in my opinion they deserve to be viewed as poets. Regardless of the form, though, I good feed off of anyone who ‘s expressing themselves and sharing their feelings. ”
Reading: Dermot Kennedy
That ‘s precisely what drew Kennedy to the music of colleague Irish artist Glen Hansard, who he met by prospect on the streets of Dublin .
“ A few years late, when I was making my first recordings, I invited him to the studio, ” remembers Kennedy. “ He could n’t make it, but he called back and offered me ten minutes onstage at his sold-out Christmas indicate. He said, ‘You can use the guys in the band, you can do it acoustic, the stage is yours for ten minutes. ‘ ”
Kennedy made the most of his prison term in the spotlight, performing a stunning rendition of his 2016 individual “ After rain. ” Praised by the BBC and hailed by The Irish Times as “ arboraceous romantic folk music pop, ” the track would go on to rack up a stagger 19 million streams on Spotify, where Kennedy averages about 2 million monthly listeners these days .
The massive hearing brought on by his streaming success has enabled Kennedy to sell out his own shows in Dublin and London immediately, but when it came time to record ‘Doves & Ravens, ‘ he eschewed any enticement to repeat the same melodious convention that had brought him by popularity, rather pushing himself further artistically and personally than he ‘d ever gone earlier .
“ I did the acoustic thing for so long, and I still love it, but what I chiefly listen to is hep hop, and I think that was bound to come through in the output, ” he explains. “ The first time we tried putting a rhythm over the verse of a song, I got thus excited by how the acoustic element of the guitar was working with the program sound of the drums. I realized that if I ignored that feeling the music gave me and did n’t chase that slope of things, I ‘d be letting myself down. ”
The EP opens with “ Glory, ” an emotional, infectious tour-de-force that solidifies Kennedy ‘s status as a vocal powerhouse with adequate parts grit and seemliness. densely stacked harmonies meet minimalist implemental production on the track, which is propelled forward by hypnotically off-kilter percussion loops. “ I ‘ve learned that doves and ravens fly the lapp, ” he sings in a insidious nod to the two life-altering events that underlie each of the EP ‘s four songs : falling in sexual love and facing the death of person close to him .
“ You reassess your values after experiencing something like that, ” says Kennedy. “ In my songs, verse to verse, line to line can jump back and forth between those two subjects. They ‘re both always in my mind, and I think that goes a long way toward explaining the idea behind ‘Doves & Ravens. ‘ The songs all have a mix of light and shade, precisely like liveliness. ”
On the fingerpicked “ A Closeness, ” Kennedy reconciles the pain of loss with gratitude for having experienced something so special at all, while the rolling piano of “ To All My Friends ” honors the strong women in his life who have led by example, and the dreamy “ Boston ” harkens back to a summer in America when life was elementary .
Kennedy ‘s exist shows are intense and mighty experiences, something he ‘s again promptly to citation to the influence of poetry, in particular the african-american writers Black Ice and Amir Sulaiman .
“ Watching those guys perform serves as a reminder to give everything you have with every wrinkle, ” says Kennedy. “ They do n’t have music to back them up, so they have to be convincing with every news.
Convincing listeners has never been something Kennedy ‘s struggled with. He sings with a burn in his person and writes with bare-assed, unfiltered honesty reflective of both his emotional and musical maturity. It ‘s a rare combination that enables both his recordings and performances to cover such a wide and potent spectrum. Celebratory and earnest. Playful and serious. Analog and electronic. Dermot Kennedy has constantly been fascinated by extremes .
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