It only takes one live concert to convince you BRIAN KENNEDY
is the ultimate performer. You know it the moment he bursts
onto stage, grabs his guitar and belts out his first note.
You feel the extraordinary energy levels of the man, as
the atmosphere changes from dynamic action to a hushed
stillness, within seconds, and gut reaction tells you
this is going to be one roller coaster of a ride.
Its easy to see why hes been selected as one
of the four coaches on the upcoming series in Ireland
- The Voice the hottest talent show ever to hit
T.V. screens worldwide. Quite simply, he has all
A multi-talented artist, Brian is now reaping the rewards
of his phenomenal twenty-year career in the music industry.
Its been a steady ascent towards deserved recognition
and the past two years have been especially significant.
Marking the end of a remarkable era, 2010 took off
at formidable speed with a quick flight to New York,
as guest singer at a Liam Neeson fundraiser for The
Lyric Theatre, Belfast, where he joined Meryl Streep
to sing Raglan Road. On his return, with
hardly time for a breath, came the news hed received
the prestigious Meteor Ireland Lifetime Achievement
Music Award for his outstanding contribution to the
Irish music industry. A day or so later, he was off
again for his latest national tour of Australia and
within a week or so, back in the UK for Glastonbury,
along with performances at both Dublin Concert Hall
and Belfast Waterfront Hall. By mid-year, his
latest album, The Very Best of Brian Kennedy,
a representation of his journey so far, was released,
and instantly became Radio 2s Album
of the Week.
2011 has continued in the same vein with a stream of
major events to start off a new decade: The Belfast
National Songwriters Festival, the London Feis, and
a trip to Denver, USA, as guest singer at the Annual
Green Tie Ball. The list goes on throughout the
year with personal appearances as special guest at the
National Concert Hall, Dublin, for the Celebration
of Fiachra Trench, guest on Katherine Lynchs
Wagons Den, and an up-coming Irish
tour with his Swing Christmas Show at the Ulster Hall
with the Ulster Orchestra selling out months in advance.
Brian is first and foremost a live performer.
His own words, Music is my lifeblood, are
reflected in his relentless schedule, from his first
gig in the 90s, to present time. His constant
touring from Ireland and UK to Australia and the USA,
including the major global festivals, has paid off,
resulting in a thriving international fanbase.
It hasnt been an easy ride. His journey
began in Belfast in the late 60s, where he spent
his childhood learning to survive the challenges of
the troubles. By the age of eighteen,
he was ready to discover what the rest of the world
was about, and prepared to take on the tough London
music scene. His exceptional vocal talent was his main
asset but other talents emerged quickly and by 1990
hed released his first self-penned album, The
Great War of Words, containing the hit signature
Now recognised as a creditable singer-songwriter, he
was chosen as featured lead singer on legendary Van
Morrisons Blues & Soul Revue.
During that six-year tour, he shared the global stage
with Van and other all-time greats: Joni Mitchell, Bob
Dylan, Ray Charles, John Lee Hooker, amongst many. He
also accompanied Van on five of his major albums.
Brian is well practised in making personal appearances
and receiving awards. There have been plenty
along the way. 2000 found him in New York, as
lead singer in a specially commissioned version of Riverdance
on Broadway, for which Bill Whelan wrote new songs especially
for Brian. End of 2005 he was singing at George Bests
funeral at Stormont, Belfast, and a few months later
he was in Athens, representing Ireland at the 2006 Eurovision
Throughout the continuous touring, Brian managed to
maintain a stream of a dozen or so mostly self-penned,
chart-making albums. A Better Man (1996)
and Now That I Know What I Want (1999),
both went platinum at No.1. and earned him the awards
of Irish Best Male Artist and Irish Best Male Album.
His single, You Raise Me Up, from the 2005
Tribute album to George Best entered
the charts (at No.4) immediately, as did the highly
acclaimed Homebird (2006) and cover
album Interpretations (2008).
A born communicator, it s natural that Brians
talents have carried him into other aspects of Arts
& Entertainment. His abilities as a Radio/TV presenter
are proven, exemplified in the successful TV two-part
series Brian Kennedy On Song(2003), covering
traditional Irish songs, in which he was both presenter
and performer. At the same time, hes managed
to weave into a staggering workload, several short stories,
and two best selling novels: The Arrival of Fergal
Flynn (2004), and Roman Song (2005).
Both books entered the Best Seller list and resulted
in the award of an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters,
from Ulster University for his contribution to the Arts.