Dermot Kennedy’s Debut Album ‘Without Fear’ Is All About Love, Loss And The Fragility Of Life

Singer-songwriter Dermot Kennedy may have co-signs from the biggest names in music, but he’s still solely focused on the art.

The 27-year-old Irish musician chatted exclusively with Access Hollywood about his upcoming debut album “Without Fear,” which drops Sept. 27, and why he doesn’t put too much weight on the praise.

“There’s so much where certain artists are at a certain level and there could be this culture of trying to attach yourself to someone else’s ascent and to try and just want to be part of someone else’s success,” he explained. “But all I care about is music, and if someone respects your music, and that’s all it comes down to.”

Dermot Kennedy
Dermot Kennedy visits Music Choice at Music Choice on July 11, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)

According to Dermot, “Without Fear” is a reminder to live courageously. “If I had to narrow it down to one theme, I guess I would say, it’s just about how fragile everything is, how you need to live a certain way because life is so short and you just need to make sure that you tell the people you care about and live spontaneously,” he said.

He added, “That is probably one thing that sort of dominates my thoughts more than anything is probably like the passing of time and how everything is super finite.” From playing on street corners to selling out venues, Dermot has steadily gained popularity and recognition in the music industry, thanks to his poetic lyrics on songs like “Outnumbered” and “Lost.”

Dermot Kennedy
Dermot Kennedy performs at Gobi Tent during the 2019 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival on April 21, 2019 in Indio, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Coachella)

But a public shout-out from Taylor Swift definitely didn’t hurt either. “Like he’ll include the word ‘reverie,'” she gushed to Entertainment Weekly in May. “I’ll be like, thank you Dermot Kennedy for saying reverie in a song in 2019. We need that.”

“It’s a funny one, isn’t it?” Dermot told Access Hollywood about Taylor’s compliment. “Anytime anybody like that says anything about your songs, you just see like interest spike, which is cool, and I really appreciate a co-sign from somebody that huge. But in a kind of cynical way, I don’t think there’s anything remarkable about using the word reverie. I hope people can strive to use words like that in songs.”

Dermot Kennedy performs onstage
Dermot Kennedy performs onstage at Brixton Academy on May 08, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Rob Ball/WireImage)

With his epically romantic songwriting skills and powerful, rich voice, Dermot has inevitably drawn comparisons to a certain red-headed musician, even being positioned as “Ireland’s answer to Ed Sheeran” by GQ. However, it’s not a reference he’s particularly fond of. “I play the guitar and write songs,” Dermot stated. “I think it’s a lazy comparison to make by anybody, but I get it.”

He actually met Ed once before in New York where he played two songs for him. “He was the loveliest guy in the world,” Dermot revealed. “It was one of the first trips I had to take for music and I got to play him some songs and it was a really strange, nerve-wracking thing, but it was really positive and he was a really nice guy.”

Watch for more from Dermot’s exclusive interview above. “Without Fear” is available Sept. 27.

— Gabi Duncan

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