Biography (Courtesy of the Artist’s site, 2005)
Brian Edward Patrick Kennedy, is one of Ireland’s most successful ambassadors of music. He is not only a prolific songwriter but also a master interpreter of lyrics and audiences around the world continue to praise his exceptional vocal talent.
Series II of Brian's BBC TV Programme - 'Brian Kennedy On Song', the jewel in the Kennedy crown so far, returned to the TV screens mid-February 2004. This six part music series, shot at breathtaking locations throughout Ireland reveals the history behind a variety of Irish classic songs. From old ballads to more contemporary tunes, Brian was joined by an array of celebrity guests to perform memorable duets, including Lulu and Barry McGuigan.
Brian signed to Curb Records in 2002 for an outstanding six album worldwide record deal. This has resulted in the release of 'Brian Kennedy On Song' & 'Get On With Your Short Life' and now for 2004 – ‘Brian Kennedy Live In Belfast’, available on CD & DVD.
This double CD set features Brian in concert recorded over two sell-out nights at the Belfast Waterfront Hall, in November 2003. It is a superb collection and pitches his matchless vocal skills across 22 tracks, mixing material from all stages of his absorbing 15 year recording career.
Brian explains “I wanted my first-ever live recording to be as special as possible and to reflect my musical journey from the very beginning to this moment. It was important to make sure the audience came with me and that each era, each segment of my musical progress was there”.
'On Song' a 17 track album proves he is the most prodigiously-gifted Irish male vocalist of recent years as he tackles ballads like the ‘Mountains of Mourne’ alongside the swaggering Dirty Old Town. On several tracks he is joined by guests: on the bracing, up-tempo ‘Curragh of Kildare’ he duets with Irish actor Adrian Dunbar, the gritty ‘Homes of Donegal’ finds Kennedy and Paul Brady trading lines, while a haunting ‘I Dreamt I Dwelt in Marble Halls’ is beautifully rendered as a duet with Sinead O'Connor.
‘Get On With Your Short Life’ comprises 17 intimate and personal tracks, co-produced by the incredible Kevin Killen whose credits include Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel. Many of the songs were written and recorded in New York while Brian was appearing in Riverdance On Broadway. Brian was joined in the venture by such luminaries as Calum MacColl, Boo Hewerdine and Curtis Stigers.
Born on 12th October 1966, one of six children in the Kennedy clan, and brought up in the Falls Road in Belfast, Brian discovered his voice when he found he could repeat a note pitch perfect in music class at school, and could harmonise along with the radio. Some years later he found himself in the enviable position of having three albums in the Top 30 of the Irish album charts simultaneously.
Performing live has always been at the very core of Brian’s success as a singer and musician, a fact not overlooked by Van Morrison who, on hearing Brian’s voice, immediately approached him to perform as part of his Blues and Soul revue which travelled the globe to critical acclaim. Brian features on the album 'One Night In San Francisco' and his association with Van Morrison continued for a further five years, with Brian contributing to Van’s regular live shows as well as participating in the recording of Van’s 'Days Like This', 'No Prima Donna,' 'The Healing Game' and 'Back On Top' albums. Van personally asked Brian to record the version of 'Crazy Love' for the Hollywood film 'When A Man Loves A Woman.' In 1996, Brian joined Van in Belfast to duet with him for President Clinton; an event that was televised worldwide to an estimated audience of one billion.
In addition to Van Morrison, Brian has also toured with The Corrs and Tina Turner among others and played to capacity crowds with his solo show in Ireland, England, Europe, Middle East, Australia and New Zealand. On March 16th 2001 he made his debut at the famed Radio City Music Hall in New York performing again with The Corrs.
Since the release of his first album, 'The Great War of Words' in 1990, Brian Kennedy has repeatedly confirmed his remarkable and unique talent. Songs like 'Captured' and 'Town' became immediate favorites with Brian’s live audiences and continue to receive a rapturous reaction during his live shows today. With 'A Better Man' in 1996, Brian consolidated his reputation as a critically acclaimed singer/songwriter. The success of the singles 'A Better Man', 'Life, Love and Happiness' and 'Put The Message In The Box' helped to propel the album to Number 1 for many weeks and onto quadruple platinum sales status in Ireland. 'A Better Man,' led to an IRMA (Irish Music Industry Award) for 'Best Irish Male Album' and a Hot Press/2TV Award for 'Best Irish Male Artist
Brian’s album, 'Now That I Know What I Want' (Sony Music Ireland) was released in October, 1999. The single from that CD, 'These Days', a duet featuring Ronan Keating - lead singer with the internationally successful 'Boyzone' - reached number three in the national Irish singles chart. The single achieved platinum status. Another track on the CD, 'The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face' sees Brian reunited with his longtime friend and collaborator Calum MacColl recording a beautiful version of this song, which was written by Calum’s father – Ewan MacColl.
A double CD 'Won’t You Take Me Home…The RCA Years' was released on December 1, 2000. The CD includes 28 of Brian’s most popular and requested songs plus some previously unreleased recordings.
Brian Kennedy then undertook a whole new step in his career. He was invited to play a part in a major and long term production 'Riverdance On Broadway' and on March 16, 2000 he made his Broadway debut at the Gershwin Theatre, singing new songs written especially for him by Grammy Award-winning Riverdance composer Bill Whelan. He went on to play 290 performances in the Broadway production. He can also be heard on the new Riverdance On Broadway CD released by Decca Broadway.
While in New York on his Monday nights off from Riverdance, Brian performed his solo concert to packed houses at the popular downtown music club Arlene’s Grocery. Audiences continued to return to the tiny, crowded venue to experience his exceptional vocal talents and many of the songs he performed at that time were the seeds of what was to be 'Get On With Your Short Life'. He entertained President Bill Clinton at a New York Democratic Fundraising Dinner performing the duet ‘Lift The Wings’, from Riverdance, with the shows female soloist, Sara Clancy, and also sang the Irish ballad, Carrickfergus accompanied by the President, who was word perfect!.
Brian is a firm believer in versatility and exploring different paths along the artistic road. He refuses to be constrained or pigeonholed. He refuses to stand still & likes to continuously strive for new challenges. Brian has continued to go from strength to strength not only in the area of his astounding musical talent, but in radio and television presenting, and with the publication of two of his short stories in an anthology of Irish stories 'Breaking The Skin'. He was particularly thrilled to find out the stories were selected on merit as the editor of the book was not aware of who he was.
During his time touring with Van and other musical dignitaries, Brian made time to branch out briefly into film, and in 1997 made his debut in a cameo role as a singer in 'This Is The Sea' in the company of Gabriel Byrne and the great Richard Harris.
He was invited to host the Gerry Anderson Show on Radio Foyle for a week which proved extremely popular with the listeners, judging by the volume of calls and messages to the show.
Here is a musician whose personal charisma and musical magic have the power to beguile fans of all ages, from all walks of life, and from all over the world. A glance at the guest book on the Brian Kennedy website (www.briankennedy.co.uk) will show messages from not just Ireland and the UK but also from Spain, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Australia, USA, Canada and more.
Described by Q Magazine as having “a voice to charm the angels,” it is clear that Brian will only continue to strengthen his reputation as a unique artist with a distinctive and extraordinary musical talent. We can look forward to even more success for the man who has already 'captured' so many hearts.