- 07 Mar 21
Ahead of his appearance as part of JAMESON CONNECTS JESSIE REYEZ AND FRIENDS this St. Patrick's Day, we sat down with hotly tipped spoken word artist Unorthodox Coolock.
This St Patrick's Day, March 17, Jameson Connects is bringing together some of the most thrilling names in R&B, hip-hop and spoken word – including Unorthodox Coolock, who appears alongside fellow Irish artists Denise Chaila and Kojaque, as well as Canadian acts Jessie Reyez, Junia-T and Savannah Ré. The unique global celebration will feature a series of immersive performances, on the most untraditional traditional day there is. So join in, wherever you are...
Connection is at the heart of the JAMESON CONNECTS JESSIE REYEZ AND FRIENDS project – connecting you to your favourite artists, and connecting local scenes to global communities. While we can't all celebrate and connect in person right now, this global event aims to bring the local live, straight to your sitting room screens.
As a celebration of "hometowns and communities", you'll be brought to the streets of Toronto, Canada – home to Grammy-nominated artist Jessie Reyez – as well as to the local Dublin scene of Unorthodox Coolock.
Fearlessly flying the flag for his city, Unorthodox Coolock, also known as Craig Doyle, has built up a formidable reputation as a spoken word performer, writer and actor. He tells us that there's a fascinating overlap between the art forms of spoken word and hip-hop, particularly in an Irish context.
"The basis of songs and lyrics is poetry – rhyme, wordplay, and creating imagery," he muses. "I've seen the likes of Mango and For Those I Love utilising spoken word a lot. There's such great storytellers in Ireland, so it just goes hand-in-hand."
Craig describes his upcoming performance for Jameson Connects as "different from anything else I've done before" – and he's thrilled to be appearing on a line-up alongside fellow Irish legends-in-the-making Denise Chaila and Kojaque.
"They don’t shy away from who they are," he says of the two artists. "I’m really inspired by how they go about their work. Denise's introduction to the world was amazing – 'This is how you say my name!’ I got to meet Kojaque on one of the days, and it was interesting to share ideas with him, and learn about how he approaches his work – not being afraid to be vulnerable, and representing where he's from. That’s what it’s all about. It’s incredible to see them doing their thing – I can only aspire to be on some level like theirs."
Like Kojaque and Denise Chaila, representing his community is at the heart of Unorthodox Coolock's work.
"It’s cool to be bringing Coolock to the world," he grins. "Despite being from a slightly disadvantaged area, with perceptions of that area not necessarily being positive, there are good people everywhere – and that translates across the world. You just try to be a shining light, and guide people into seeing that there is an alternative – if you’re willing to take a chance, step out of where you’re from, and allow the world to see who you are. And let them know that it’s not all doom and gloom! To take that to a global level now is crazy for me. It’s just surreal."
The multi-talented artist brought his captivatingly unique storytelling skills to new heights while joining The Murder Capital on their UK and Ireland tour – which included a sold-out homecoming show at Vicar Street in early 2020. With this live aspect being so crucial to Craig's work, he notes that lockdown has brought plenty of challenges.
"It’s definitely been crazy," he nods. "It's like there's this weird yearning in me – an empty void that needs to be filled. Around this time last year, I had just come off the tour with The Murder Capital. And then, two weeks later, we went into lockdown."
Before lockdown, he had been gearing up for a series of high profile festival appearances.
"Things were looking pretty solid," he reflects. "I was on a good trajectory. Not being able to do that has been difficult. But I'm inspired to see so many new things being done online. To know that we can still get out there, and create things, is great. This online aspect is something that can bring us all into each other's homes."
Craig is also set to release a book later this year, and is currently in the process of editing a self-made documentary filmed during the tour – all while facilitating an online creative workshop for disadvantaged youths. His central goal, he tells me, is to "try and be a positive influence for everybody." Without a doubt, the future looks dazzlingly bright for Unorthodox Coolock.
• Jameson is about connection. Connecting you to your favourite artists. Local scenes to global communities. And everything in between. Join in wherever you are this St. Patrick's Day at Jameson Connects.
• Register to Join In for this Global Live Stream of Jameson Connects Jessie Reyez and Friends on March 17 2021 at 8 PM GMT at Jameson Connects.
Please enjoy Jameson responsibly. Visit drinkaware.ie
- Film & TV
- 23 Mar 23