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04th May 2023

Dermot Kennedy’s ‘guilty pleasure’ musician has some underrated bangers

Patrick McCarry

Dermot Kennedy

“Doesn’t exist. If I like it, it’s not guilty!”

Dermot Kennedy took time out of a whistle-stop – as well as roof- and table-top – tour of Dublin to tell us about some of his favourite music, musicians and to identify an up-and-coming prospect we should all be aware of.

As part of the Guinness Live & Rising initiative, the Rathcoole singer-songwriter paid a visit to some of Dublin’s most loved bars – bringing down the house in each one. He became the first person to perform on the roof of the Guinness Storehouse then continued his performance at the nearby Gravity Bar.

Kennedy spoke with JOE during a break in his musical journey and provided a solid answer when asked about ‘guilty pleasure’ songs he often returns to.

“If I like it,” he reasoned, “it’s not guilty!

“When Justin Bieber had that patch, with songs like Sorry and Cold Water. All that. Yeah, a few of them songs.”

In fairness to Kennedy, he is 100% correct. Not only are those Bieber songs underrated gems, and solid pop songs, if you love a tune, there is nothing to feel guilty about.

Dermot KennedyDermot Kennedy pictured at London’s Natural History Museum in 2020. (Photo by SATELLITE414/Jennifer McCord via Getty Images)

Dermot Kennedy on his musical favourites

Quizzed on some of the best ever musical performers, Dermot Kennedy clarified, ‘In my opinion?’ before taking off on an Italian operatic legend.

“This is old-school, but if you really do watch videos of Luciano Pavarotti performing, it is just the craziest thing.

“As someone who sings, and who has a loud voice, that is just the most incredible thing to watch.”

Kennedy recalled meeting his musical inspiration, Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) a few years back and almost being unable to get a photo with the American ‘as my hands were shaking so much’.


Best Song Intro: ‘Starry, Starry Night’ (Vincent) by Don McLean

Favourite Album: Bon Iver, by Bon Iver

Next big Irish musician: Roe Byrne

Musical icon: Justin Vernon from Bon Iver

Favourite Irish actor, right now: Paul Mescal or Barry Keoghan. “It’s close,” he says.

As for where he is at, musically, at present, Kennedy says he is writing a lot more. “I’ve been around long enough that I know what I want to be. I don’t know – I feel like you sometimes have to go all the way to come back a bit. So, I’m excited for what happens next.”

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