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Interview: 2018 Must-Know - Dermot Kennedy

Interview: 2018 Must-Know - Dermot Kennedy

Having already amassed 1.9 million monthly listeners on Spotify, Dermot Kennedy isn’t going to be a best kept secret for much longer. Endorsed via Taylor Swift’s Spotify playlist of last year, and having been long-supported by his fellow Irishman Glen Hansard, Kennedy has created a unique combination of folk, infused with production leaning more towards a hip-hop world.

Having just announced an Australian tour, which sold out almost instantly - let’s hope New Zealand gets to see Dermot Kennedy live soon.

MUST-LISTEN: ‘Moments Passed’, ‘Glory’, ‘After Rain’.
YOU WILL LIKE, IF YOU LIKE: James Blake, Bon Iver, Glen Hansard, James Vincent McMorrow, SOHN, Nick Murphy (Chet Faker), Rhye, Jack Garratt… and that feeling you get going for a walk right after a storm has cleared.

COUP DE MAIN: Moments Passed’ is a really beautiful song - what was running through your mind while writing that song?
DERMOT KENNEDY: While I was writing that song, I was thinking of a certain amount of loss I’ve experienced in my life. And more importantly, I was thinking about the love in my life, and how that will always outweigh the loss. So while it might seem like a sad song, and I’m not saying it’s devoid of that stuff, but the overriding message of that song is hopefulness and love.

CDM: What do you have planned for 2018 so far?
DERMOT: Lots and lots of shows!! We’re on tour right now, having started in early January, and I’m going to be on tour until the middle of April pretty much! And then we’ll hit some festivals over the Summer too! I have a debut album to make too, which is really exciting. It’s going to be a busy year, but I’m excited!
CDM: How does your songwriting process work?
DERMOT: There isn’t really one single way that I like to make music. One of my favourite things is just to be sitting with a guitar, or sitting at a piano, and figuring it out, lyrically and musically. Just working through different melodies, and then seeing what kind of words show up, and what feels right. I don’t have one set way.
CDM: Do you write your lyrics specifically for the songs, or do you write poems or prose and then evolve them into song-form?
DERMOT: Usually I’ll write the lyrics specifically for each song. There are definitely times when I just write some lyrics separately, and then somewhere down the line I might try to fit them into a new piece of music, but usually I write lyrics specifically for each song.
CDM: What do you think is the strongest human emotion?
DERMOT: It’s obviously really hard to choose, but I’m gonna say hope. I’ve always had so much admiration for people who have a strong sense of hope and optimism about them, especially when it’s not easy. That’s when it counts.
CDM: What do you think is the difference between a good song and a great song?
DERMOT: Honesty. And just being your total true self. We live in a world now where art can seem so formulaic and predictable, so if you are yourself completely, and that comes through in your song, there’s very little chance someone else will have done something similar.
CDM: What do you hope people to take away from listening to your music?
DERMOT: I think it’s always a good goal to try and take somebody away from everything else they’ve got going on, just for a brief period of time. Especially at my shows. I want people to be able to tell that I am being completely truthful in every song and that I’m giving my all every time. And if they’re moved by it, and can feel something from it, then that’s more than enough for me.
CDM: What was it like working with Nabil on the music video for ‘Moments Passed’?
DERMOT: It was so great. From the first time he called me, he nailed the idea behind the song, and it was such an honour to be able to work with somebody like that, especially for my first official video!
CDM: You’re one of our 'must-know’ artist picks for 2018… who are yours?
DERMOT: Thank you!! My favourite up and coming artist right now is an Irish singer songwriter called David Keenan. He’s the real deal, and I’m very excited to see what the future holds for him.

Watch the Moments Passed’ music video below…

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