The singer made the big announcement over Twitter, writing that the opportunity is "a dream come true" for the artist,
Despite the fact that Kennedy has yet to release an album, he has sold a whopping 75,000 tickets worldwide in the last year alone following the release of his EP, Doves and Ravens.
His latest track, Power Over Me, has generated over 300 million streams globally and the Dubliner has over 2.5 million monthly listeners on Spotify..
He is also part of YouTube's first ever Ones To Watch list, and his 2019 tour which kicks off in May has sold out four nights in the Olympia Theatre in Dublin, Brixton's O2 Academy and Manchester's Albert Hall.
Irish singer-songwriter Gavin James was the only Irish artist to make the Coachella 2018 list, which attracted 99,000 concert-goers to the festival.
Gavin James is known for his love of Whelan's, his stunning voice which produces banger after banger, and his ability to make friends with pretty much anyone.
The singer-songwriter, who has achieved massive chart success at home and abroad with tunes such as Always, Glow and Nervous, from his breakthrough album Bitter Pill back in 2015.
We sat down for a chat with the man himself, who is the new ambassador for the Cadbury Secret Santa campaign, to chat to him about his "f*cking hilarious" father, his home away from home and his favourite celebrities, among other (random) things.
James has been known for his love and support for charities, especially Down's Syndrome Ireland, so it's not surprising that he's choosing a generous movement like CadburySecret Santa to represent this Christmas.
A Dairy Milk gift can be sent anywhere in Ireland for free, either anonymously or personalised, to someone you love. Frankly, that's adorable. After posting the very first Secret Santa gift of the campaign, Gavin speaks about what drew him to Cadbury.
"I have always loved the Secret Santa ritual; the excitement of sending a gift in secret and the anticipation of receiving a gift anonymously – it’s so much fun! My dad is also essentially Santa." After pointing his dad out to me, I had to agree. He was merry with a white beard.
The artist brings his family and friends with him to gigs any chance he gets: “Its good to be able to bring them away with me. Every time I have a gig in Ireland my entire family goes, I brought my dad to a photoshoot today, which is f*cking hilarious.”
Asking him about his early days of gigging in tiny pubs, and dedicated to his then-rock band, he describes why he transitioned into acoustic songwriting, despite still having an intense love for his electric guitar.
"I started off with my mates in Temple Bar, my hair was huge. I was also trying to sing high but I couldn’t sing falsetto when I was younger, I had a raspy voice back then and couldn’t pronounce the letter 's'.I never try to transition, genres just kind of come on their own, I think."
We're glad he found his niche, his musical talent started for him at a very young age, surrounded by musical talent within his own family. His latest album, Only Ticket Home, hit number one in Ireland and has already surpassed a million streams.
He describes his latest offering as a dedication to the art of "simplicity", with most of the songs only having four chords.
"They're not trying to be smart. There was one song that didn’t make the album because I tried to record it and it just didn’t turn out right. It was the best song I’ve written in a long time, but it sounded too far away from the right sound of the album. I have it in my back pocket for next year though. I found loads of songs in the cloud, I was chuffed."
"There was like 40 but 33 of them were shit. I usually have 100 ideas but one works. The first idea is always the best song. It’s like a buffet, the first thing you look at is always what you want.”
James has toured with some absolutely huge names in music, among them are Ed Sheeran, Niall Horan, Sam Smith and Kodaline, to name a few. With all this talent around him, we have to ask which artists have impressed him the most.
"Bands like Vulfpeckare absolutely insane, they’re so good at playing stuff that I absolutely cannot understand. It’s insane, like Stevie Wonder-esque.”
“Foy Vance sang songs next to me, and his voice starts low and aggressively builds up and I don’t even know how he exists. He’s insane.”“When it comes to Secret Santa gifts, Gavin's already done his bit for fellow musicians… and their skin, apparently. "Sam Smith. I gave him aloe vera before, he loved that. He’s a really nice guy.”
We're sure Sam would say the same about Gavin, but is there anyone in the industry who he has been disillusioned by, who maybe brushed him off? It's a notoriously tough industry, which requires a thick skin for survival. IT seems James has a level-headed approach to the whole 'fame' thing.
"There are people I don’t want to meet purely because it would ruin how I feel about them, people I totally idolise, sometimes they’re just not in the mood and you don't want to annoy them. Everybody I’ve ever met has been really friendly to me though, but if someone isn’t being nice to me, I’ll tell them. I don’t mind saying that to people. It’s easier to be nice."
"I couldn't meet Ryan Adams because I love him so much, and Bruce Springsteen. He’s meant to be the nicest man in the world. I’d love to meet him but I’d be bricking it. I’d probably just say “thank you, Bruce, for all of these songs.”
"When it comes to growing Irish talent, I love David Keenan. He’s class. His lyrics are amazing. He has a song called Laurence of Arcadia with lyrics like;
“You're looking at the last know bar stool prophet to retire early from the trade, I'm going fishing for pearls of wisdom. I'll be dancing through the pissing rain. You're welcome to join me you annoyance, for I find you quite amusing all the same." It's amazing."
Irish artists have repeatedly found success abroad, yet the UK and US markets are infamously hard to break into. Why have some Irish artists such as U2, The Script, Hozier and now Dermot Kennedy made it big over there, and some slip through the cracks?
“The UK is a tough market. It’s a weird one, like the Netherlands kicked off for me because they love a sad song, and I'm good at those. I brought out a Live at Whelans track, and was told it would reach top of the Dutch charts by Christmas. I didn't believe it, because it was a live recording. Then it went number one in the Netherlands, but no one would think of a live recording doing that.”
His second album, Only Ticket Home, is still distinctly within the style of his debut, and James makes sure that his roots can come across in his lyrics. When he's in Dublin, he loves chilling with his friends in the pub, living out a normal life despite his new-found fame.
Where are his favourite parts of Dublin, and if he had to move, where would he find himself?
“Whelan’s, but I spend most of my time in Temple Bar, even though it’s seven euros a pint.” *shivers*
"Where Doran’s used to be, my mate Robbie owns a little snug next to it, an Irish pub. I always go there because it seems like a little secret spot where I’d just have a pint with my mates.”
“I’ve never been to Coppers. I tried to get in years ago, I think they were closing up. They must have a quota of guys named Gavin or gingers, so I couldn’t get in.” (Can you BELIEVE this Dubliner hasn't stepped foot in the notorious nightclub? We are shook)
“I went on one night out to Nashville to see Ron Pope, and ended up staying there a week.”
“I’d definitely move to Nashville. Very random, it’s musical but it reminds me of Dublin in a lot of ways. I have a lot of friends there, I made a lot of friends there very quickly. It’s cheap too, it’s not f*cking mad, it’s not like Los Angeles. I’m not into L.A. How the hell do people get around there?”
Sounds like this lad has his head screwed on right, that's for sure.
We got two hugs out of him and a Cadbury Secret Santa letter, so we are officially his number one fans.
Only Ticket Home is out now, grab your tickets to see him live in 2019 here.
Don't forget to become a Cadbury Secret Santa and give a little something extra this Christmas- visit www.cadbury.ie/secretsanta and follow all the action on the Cadbury Ireland Facebook and Twitter pages.
Halloween is offish over so we can now talk about Christmas and New Years without sounded crazy, right?
Now in its seventh year, New Years Festival Dublin [NYF Dublin] is back again to help us ring in 2019 with three unreal events – a dazzling lighting spectacle called Liffey Lights Midnight Moment and 3Countdown Concert with amazing music acts that will give you a New Years Eve night to remember.
We can officially reveal that the headlining act is none other than the fab Gavin James.
Supporting acts are Hudson Taylor, Inhaler and Wild Youth.
Harry admits that NYE is generally a "divisive" night but one that him and his brother love, mainly because they go out busking.
Plus "its good to do the cheesy countdown thing."
We couldn't agree more.
Fresh from supporting Hozier, the Hudson Taylor lads might be gearing up for their own headline tour in the new year. So what better time to see them then to close out 2018?
To make it even better, their younger sister Halli will join them on stage and she herself has just released her first single, "Fukc Fear" so she is one to watch – exciting stuff.
Also playing will be Dublin four-piece Inhaler, who might be fresh from their Leaving Cert but they are more than ready to put on an amazing show.
So what should you expect from them?
"A lot of new songs. We only have two songs on Spotify and they came out like two years ago and our music's changed since then."
Their influences include a lot of 1980 's references – think Depeche Mode. While they've been playing together since 2016, 2019 looks set to be the year where they are gonna be releasing new music and a brand new single.
With amazing artists like these playing at NYF, you know where you gotta be on the 31st of December – see you there.
Tickets for NYF Dublin are 29.90 including booking fee and will be on sale from Monday November 5th qt 9am from Ticketmaster outlets nationwide and www.ticketmaster.ie.
'I’m so happy to release Only Ticket Home to the world on October 26th. I have been on the road constantly since the release of my first record Bitter Pill and this new collection of songs are about the whole process of being away from home and the people you love (it’s also about how amazing it was to be on tour and travel around the world for the last 3 years),' James explained.
'The album was produced by my buddy Ollie Green, who also co-wrote a lot of the tunes on the album with me. The songs came very quickly after Always was written. Everything took shape when that song was finished, and we knew exactly what the sound was going to be for the record.'
'The record as a whole is very far away from Bitter Pill, I really wanted to step a bit away from the world of ballads with this one so the majority of the record is fairly upbeat. It’s very much a record of happy sad songs.'
If you want to get in on the action, you need to be around Friday, September 21.
Gavin will be performing at the National Museum of Ireland Collins Barracks, as part of Culture Night.
You'll bop along to two hours of tunes and will see some of Ireland's best artists, both established and emerging. – So who knows, you could discover a new fave song.
If you thought things couldn't get better, you're wrong.
There are no tickets (or hassle) for the concert, AND Dublin Bus are running free buses every 20 mins from Dublin City Centre (Aston Quay, USIT Office) to the National Museum of Ireland Collins Barracks (Route C) from 6 to 11 pm.
For more information about the travel freebies, click here.
If you're still on the fence about going, from 4 to 8 pm there will be a wide range of free ticketed live radio recordings, talks and performances.
This includes a section called Banter – Culture & Me, which will feature Jim Carroll along with three badass Irish women bosses.
Tropical Popical founder and co-host of Keep On Repealin' podcast, Andrea Horan will join Jim between 4.30 to 5 pm to chat all things culture.
Ivana Bacik will take the next slot and this one not to miss as Ivana has been a senator in Seanad Eireann for the University of Dublin since July 2007, and is also the Reid Professor of Criminal Law, Criminology and Penology at Trinity College Dublin.
Finally, Jim will be having the craic with Emilie Pine who is the best-selling author of Notes To Self (Tramp Press) and an Associate Professor in Modern Drama at UCD.
Is it just us or is everyone and their mother getting engaged this month?
As a wise Hugh Grant once said, Love actually is all around this festive season, and while the tiniest part of us is trying desperately hard not to be bitter, most of us are just loving all the cute proposal videos doing the rounds.
And this might just be our favourite yet…
Last week, Gavin James helped his friend Rob pull off one of the most romantic marriage proposals of the year.
The singer-songwriter took some time out from his busy to film himself singing a few bars of the festive classic Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas before informing the future bride that her partner had an important question he wanted to ask.
I'm delighted to say that @JoanHallinan said yes and will be my future wife!!
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