Damien Dempsey is from Donaghmede on Dublin's Northside.
His earliest musical influences were the post-pub singsongs that his parents
used to have at their home when he was a toddler. Good, bad or indifferent,
everyone had to sing. Today his unique sound reflects the influence of
traditional Sean-Nós as well as his musical heroes: Bob Marley and Elvis
After completing his secondary education Damien went on to the Ballyfermot "Rock
School" for 2 years where he studied musical performance as well as the
practical side of the music industry. The school had its own small record label
and star students were awarded a release on the label. Damien was chosen for
that honour and the EP, "The Contender", was released in 1995.
In 1997 "Dublin Town", Damien's first commercial single, reached No. 18 in the
Irish charts. Ireland's HOT PRESS remarked that it was "..an underground
anthem for disaffected youth and closet balladeer alike". A re-recorded
version of the song appeared on Damien's first album; "They Don't Teach This
Shit In School" released in 2000.
His next release, the "Negative Vibes EP", (2002) featured Sinéad O'Connor on
the title track and led to an invitation to support Sinéad on her 2002/2003
Irish, UK and European tour.
Damien's second album, "Seize the Day", was released May 2003 in Ireland on
Clear Records via Sony and entered the charts first week of release at No. 5. It
has since achieved double-platinum sales. Released in May 2004 in the UK on IRL,
the album was awarded "CD of the Week" in the Sunday Times and received
enthusiastic reviews in the National and music press.
Nominated in 4 categories in the 2004 Irish Meteor Awards, Damien walked away
with two, the only 2004 double winner.
A documentary, "It's All Good: The Damien Dempsey Story" by independent
filmmaker Dara McCluskey, that followed Damien's career progression up to the
release of "Seize the Day", was broadcast on Ireland's national TV station RTE
and shown at film festivals in Ireland and New York.
During 2004 Damien toured extensively headlining his own shows as well as
supporting Bob Dylan during the Irish leg of his European tour and making his
debut appearances at The Fleadh and Womad.
Damien has earned the passionate support of his peers, one of whom is Morrissey
who invited Damien to support him on various UK and Irish dates as well as his
autumn 2004 US tour. Morrissey went on to sign Damien to his Attack label, and
"Seize the Day" had its U.S. release in October 2004.
His third album, "Shots", simultaneously released in Ireland and the UK in March
2005, entered the Irish album charts at Number 1 and achieved platinum status in
December 2005. The album was also released in the U.S. on United for Opportunity
Records in June 2006 and Damien undertook a coast to coast tour.
In February 2006 Damien increased his Meteor Awards by winning in The Best Irish
Recorded in December 2005 at Dublin's Olympia Theatre and released in June 2006
in both Ireland and the UK, Damien's first live album, "Live at The Olympia",
entered the Irish album chart at Number 10.
For the second year in a row Damien won Best Irish Male at the 2007 Meteor
His fourth studio album, "To Hell or Barbados",released world-wide in June 2007
entered the Irish album chart at Number 2.
Once again, Damien was nominated in two categories of the Irish Meteor Awards
2008 and walked away as the winner of Best Folk/Traditional.
In June 2008 Damien released "The Rocky Road" a collection of traditional Irish
songs which featured contributions from Barney McKenna and John Sheahan of the
In October 2008 his first DVD,"Live at Vicar Street", was released. It entered
the Irish DVD charts at Number 1 the first week of release.
Damien won the 2009 Hot Press Readers Poll in two categories: Best Irish
Folk/Trad and Best Irish Music DVD (for Live at Vicar Street). He has also been
nominated in two categories for the Irish Meteor Awards: Best Irish Male and