Future Stars: Dermot Kennedy (Island)

Taken from this week’s Future Pop mailer. Click here to subscribe.

One of the most talked-about acts at SXSW this year was Dermot Kennedy, an Irish singer-songwriter. He has a memorable, rough vocal and a bluesy sound that could have the same crossover appeal as Rag ’n’ Bone Man and Hozier, though he lacks their distinctive looks (he couldn’t look much more “average bloke”). According to NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour (yes, like everyone else, I listen to podcasts now), word spread during SXSW and more people attended each of Dermot’s performances throughout the festival. I suspect he’ll attract a big industry crowd at next month’s Great Escape in Brighton, and he has a busy schedule of festivals ahead this summer – clearly his team see his live performance as the key to winning fans. He’s signed to Island in the UK and Interscope in the US, with expectations that he can break both markets at once. He doesn’t have a breakout hit yet, but he has a solid fanbase on Spotify, with over 2.5 million monthly listeners. I suspect he’ll be making an appearance in the Sound of 2019 lists, if he hasn’t already had a hit single or album by the time they come around.

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