- 25 Sep 19
Project Without Fear is underway. Fresh from a triumphant homecoming set at Electric Picnic, Ireland’s newest global superstar Dermot Kennedy opens up, talking frankly about hip-hop, religion, sneaking into festivals, the importance of Michael D Higgins and his stunning debut album.
The story of a Dublin busker’s rise to fame has been heard before – but it’s rarely happened with the kind of velocity that’s propelled Dermot Kennedy to international stardom. From uploading independent releases on Spotify and belting out Ed Sheeran covers on Grafton Street just a few years ago, the Rathcoole native – armed with a voice like golden gravel and some of the most viciously honest lyrics in contemporary pop – has fast become a mainstay on headline slots around the world.
From a first glance at the fresh-faced young man sitting in a quiet corner of Aungier Street’s Lucky Duck, you wouldn’t suspect any of that at all. Well-mannered, articulate and sipping on a herbal tea, he appears to be taking the skyrocketing trajectory of the past few years well in his stride. Either that, or he’s still in a serious state of shock.
“I actually felt strangely calm at Electric Picnic, and I don’t know why,” he smiles, recalling his stunning homecoming set, which attracted one of the biggest crowds of the weekend. “Last year was different, because I didn’t know what to expect. I was real nervous, and I was kind of pissed off when I got off the stage – because I was thinking, ‘That was good, but I didn’t live it’. We had the Dublin Gospel Choir come on and everything, and I didn’t even look at them because I was just trying to pull through it.