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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.


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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 Cadbury Secret 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.”


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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 Vulfpeck are 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.”


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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.”


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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.


We know Christmas is six months away, but we can’t help but feel the tiniest bit excited about this upcoming Netflix movie.

Last Christmas, we were completely obsessed with the popular and incredibly cheesy Netflix film A Christmas Prince. We must admit we tuned into the film more than once over the festive period.

We’re sure you’re going to adore this year’s Netflix original Christmas flick The Princess Switch, starring High School Musical alum Vanessa Hudgens and Nashville star Sam Palladio.

The romantic comedy is all about a Duchess and a commoner who trade places when they realise the uncanny resemblance between them. It sounds like The Parent Trap sprinkled with Christmas cheer and set somewhere a lot more glamorous than a campsite.

However, things get complicated when they both fall in love with men who have no idea who they really are.

Vanessa treated fans to a glimpse of the movie on her Instagram account. She shared a photo with co-star Sam Palladio in full costume.


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She captioned the photo: “Did someone say a royal wedding? That’s a wrap on THE CHRISTMAS SWITCH. coming to you this holiday season on Netflix.”

The Spring Breakers actress added: “I’m so excited for you guys to see this one.”

Vanessa may have mixed up the title of the movie, but we cannot wait to see her in the Netflix festive flick.

The film may not be released for a couple of months but we’re already daydreaming of cosying up in front of the fire and tuning into The Princess Switch.


America is a country made up of some truly amazing cities, from New York to Los Angeles, there is something for everyone. 

However, I'm a massive believer in thinking sliiightly outside the box, because the USA is more than just Times Square and Hollywood. 

Last year, I visited Nashville, a vibrant and electric city in North Tennessee, and it was bloody unreal. 

From adventure to mass amounts of drinking, and everything in between, Nashville is a destination that you need to see. 

1. Honky Tonk Central

Honky Tonk Central is Nashville's latest and greatest honky tonk on world famous 'Lower Broadway' Downtown.  with 3 full stories of live music, great food and great times, Honky Tonk Central is the destination stop when in Nashville. Honestly, I misspent an embarrassing amount of my trip in this place, I even bought the tshirt (true story!) 

If you want to go out and live your best life, this is the place for you! 

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2. Country Music Hall of Fame

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville is one of the world’s largest museums and research centres dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of American vernacular music. Chartered in 1964, the museum has amassed one of the world’s most extensive musical collections.

Visitors are immersed in the history and sounds of country music, its origins and traditions, and the stories and voices of many of its architects.You'll see everything from Johnny Cash's suits to Garth Brooks' guitars! Keep it country, kids. 

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3. Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art 

Cheekwood is a privately funded 55-acre estate on the western edge of Nashville, Tennessee that houses the Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art. Formerly the residence of Nashville's Cheek family, the 30,000-square-foot Georgian-style mansion was opened as a museum in 1960.

Each year, Cheekwood welcomes over 250,000 annual visitors, making it one of Nashville's top cultural attractions. Visitors enjoy year-round festivals celebrating the four seasons. From 150,000 blooming bulbs in the spring to one million holiday lights in the winter, there’s always something to see at Cheekwood.

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4. The Grand Ole Opry

Okay so I had the BEST night here! The Grand Ole Opry is a weekly country-music stage concert in Nashville, which was founded on November 28, 1925, by George D. Hay as a one-hour radio "barn dance". 

Dedicated to honouring country music and its history, the Opry showcases a mix of famous singers and contemporary chart-toppers performing country, bluegrass, folk, gospel, and comedic performances and skits. You'll laugh, you'll dance and you'll leave grinning ear to ear (and a little drunk tbh).

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5. The Johnny Cash Museum 

Am I a massive Johnny Cash fan? Yes. Did I have a little cry to myself walking around this museum? Yes.

Officially authorised by the Estate of Johnny Cash, the museum features the largest and most comprehensive collection of Johnny Cash artefacts and memorabilia in the world. State of the art exhibits, a museum gift store, coffee shop, cafe and special events make this THE Cash venue to visit. Its open every day in the heart of downtown Nashville.

The Johnny Cash Museum takes you on an in-depth journey through the Man In Black's amazing life. 

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Oh, Kanye…

The feud between Kanye West and Taylor Swift has been ongoing for a while now, but it seems that the rapper still isn't going to let things sit down.

While performing in Nashville this week, Kanye sang the controversial song, Famous, and then made the crowd chant, "F**k Taylor Swift." OUCH.

And not only that, he sang Famous THREE times just to make his point clear.

He later said to the concert-goers, "I need to hear that loud in Nashville. I need to head that SO loud in Nashville.

"So many people told me, 'You've got to take that line out of the song," he said during the concert. 

"You got to play it safe, but this is what rap music is. This is what art is. Saying how you feel. And this song is how I feel."

Is this celeb fight ever going to end?


Pop star Kesha may not be able to perform any new music while she battles to be released from her current record contract, but the star has managed to find a way to keep working in the mean time. 

Yep, the savvy singer has landed a role on the television show Nashville and will be appearing as herself on the hit ABC show. 

The show, which focuses on country musicians in the music business, will see Kesha make a cameo appearance in one episode later in fourth season which is currently airing in the States. 

​Kesha is currently embroiled in a bitter legal battle against record label Sony after allegations that she was drugged and raped by their top record producer, Dr. Luke. 

Seeing as the label have Kesha contracted to do another six albums with the company, she is technically not able to release any new music. 

But that is not stopping her from working. 

Kesha appeared in the last season of Jane the Virgin playing her noisy neighbour and the upcoming appearance on Nashville will allow her to perform as herself. 

Keep on trucking on, Kesha! 


Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose!

Friday Night Lights is getting the musical treatment. Yes, really, the beloved series is finally making the comeback everyone wanted. Except, this is probably not how they envisioned. 

However, FNL: The Musical is happening.

"Every day counts. One night matters," the FNL: The Musical account tweeted on Tuesday. "The Unauthorized #FNLMusical is coming to LA in 2016!"

Go on, feel all of the emotions and practice your best Tami Taylor hair flips while you listen to Explosions in the Sky on repeat. We have already started. 

The masterminds behind the summer's one-night-only hit production of The Unauthorized O.C. Musical comes The Unauthorized Friday Night Lights Musical. According to E News it will premiere in late spring or early summer0 the exact date is said to be announced shortly.

This story gets even better (if you can handle more good news): Scott Porter AKA Jason Street (!) is set to take on the role of Coach Taylor. The role made somewhat iconic by Kyle Chandler on the beloved series. The original series began on NBC in 2006 and ran for five perfect seasons before ending in 2011, we have only just recovered recently, tbh. 

Scott recorded a Dubsmash to go along with the announcement. Further proving he is the perfect person to take on the role of Coach Taylor. Kyle recently reprised his Emmy-winning role for a hilarious "Don't Talk" PSA for the Alamo Drafthouse. 

The Unauthorized Friday Night Lights Musical is the brainchild of Jordan Ross and Lindsey Rosin, who previously gifted the world with musical versions of The O.C. and Cruel Intentions. 

Earlier this month, the pair, along with original movie writer-director Roger Kumble, had a Cruel Intentions sequel TV series ordered at NBC. Which all very exciting, BUT, let us now put all of our efforts into campaigning for Connie Britton to make an appearance in the FNL musical.

It’s not like she’s a stranger to singing, she does star on Nashville after all… 


Actress Clare Bowen has had many a Nashville fan absolutely lusting after her mermaid style blonde locks for years now.

The star recently took to social media, and left her fans absolutely stunned when she debuted her new much shorter style. Those long luscious locks that would make Ariel well jealous are gone! 

Clare took to Facebook to explain the reason behind her transformation, and it is very inspiring.

She wrote that she was inspired by two important things: a young fan who said she couldn’t be princess if she had short hair, and the actress’s own cancer diagnosis. 

Wanna know why I cut it all off?When I was four years old, I asked my mother; "Are there heaters in Heaven?" I had…

Posted by Clare Bowen on Wednesday, 11 November 2015

“I got to grow up surrounded by children just like me. We were mostly bald, all tubed, taped, bandaged up and stitched back together.”

At the time, a four year old Clare had been diagnosed with end stage nephroblastoma. She recalls her only hope of survival being an experimental treatment. 

“I got really lucky. I survived, my hair grew back and I got strong again. I look relatively normal on the outside.” 

She wrote that she doesn’t understand why people are judged so harshly for the way they look, and described it as being “completely incomprehensible.”

“[Hair is] not what makes a princess, or a warrior, or a superhero. It’s not what makes you beautiful either. It’s your insides that count… even if you happen to be missing half of them.” 

If you weren’t already feeling a bit emotional, then the reaction from her fans will definitely hit you in the feels. 

Many of Clare's fans are sharing their own stories on social media: 




It doesn’t get any more high profile than this!

The First Lady Michelle Obama is to make a guest appearance in TV drama Nashville.

She will star as herself alongside American Idol’s Kellie Pickler in an episode named All or Nothing With Me, set to air in the U.S on the ABC network channel on May 7th.

In the episode, Rayna James (Connie Britton) asks the First Lady and Kelly to help host a charity concert at Fort Campbell for Luke Wheeler (Will Chase) after learning that Luke was injured in Afghanistan.

The episode will be the second-to-last of the season.

The Nashville episode will be the First Lady’s second big TV cameo this spring.

On April 24th, she’ll star alongside Amy Poehler’s Leslie Knope in the season finale of NBC’s Parks and Recreation.

Is there anything this woman can’t do?




Bring It On: All or Nothing actress Hayden Panettiere, who is currently starring in ABC’s Nashville, has dished on her recent engagement.

Speaking to wedding magazine, Brides, Hayden reveals that the proposal was “simple, genuine and very sweet”.

The actress met her fiance, boxer Wladimir Klitschko, at a charity event, and describes their first interaction in the interview: “I said ‘your huge’ and he said ‘you’re tiny’! And that was that.”

While she’s being coy about the details, Hayden can’t wait to get hitched and settle into family life: “I’ve always wanted a family. You search and search and search for it, and when it actually happens, I feel like it will give me a sense of calm.”

Congrats to the two of them!