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Hot Press - - Music World -

Keith Plun­kett

is a young song­writer who cites some of the best artists from Ire­land and abroad as his in­spi­ra­tion. “Damien Rice is a big one for me,” he says, “and Hozier as well. I’m also a big Pas­sen­ger fan. I saw Pas­sen­ger at Vicar Street, and

I’ll go see him ev­ery year if he keeps com­ing back.”

Plun­kett has been gig­ging since his teenage years, and he’s got more than a few sto­ries about wild gigs. “One night when I was about 16,” he re­calls, “our other gui­tarist was wear­ing a Liver­pool jersey, and one guy in the au­di­ence just came at him. There were a lot of rowdy drunks who would come up like that, and I was just a kid. It was a great ex­pe­ri­ence though – it tough­ened me up. I know how to deal with the crowds now.”

Keith will be head­ing out on an

Ir­ish tour soon, though hope­fully he won’t have to deal with as many rowdy crowds. “My lit­tle Ire­land tour is start­ing around the re­lease date for my new sin­gle, ‘100 Cracks’,” he ex­plains. “There’ll be a re­lease party at the Work­man’s Club on Fe­bru­ary 15. Do­ing the tour and the sin­gle at the same time kind of keeps the hype go­ing. Right af­ter that, I’ll be back in the stu­dio record­ing an­other five tracks for this short al­bum we’re putting out around May.

"I’m study­ing mu­sic pro­duc­tion in school, so for this one I get to do a lot more hands-on work with the pro­ducer. I’m pulling a band to­gether as well, and I’m re­ally ex­cited to hear what this stuff will sound like with a band be­hind it – it re­ally brings a whole new di­men­sion to your mu­sic.” Hear: His new sin­gle ‘100 Cracks’ on kei­th­plun­kettmu­sic.com

See: Him play live at the Work­man’s Club, Dublin on

Amanda St. John

hails from North­ern Ire­land, and mu­sic is some­thing that’s been a part of her life since the be­gin­ning. “I’ve al­ways been singing and writ­ing, be­fore I even knew I was writ­ing songs,” she says. “I was just com­ing up with melodies and rewrit­ing the lyrics to tunes – it’s al­ways been such a part of me.”

Be­cause mu­sic is such a part of

St. John's iden­tity, it’s no sur­prise that it was a source of strength for her when she sur­vived a se­ri­ous car ac­ci­dent. “It was like 300 feet down a moun­tain," she re­calls. "I had no pulse, I was un­con­scious with a head in­jury. I don’t know how spir­i­tual you are, but I feel like I could have left. I re­ally was fight­ing to stay. I asked my­self, what do I need to do to get out of this? And as clear as day, it was like, sing. I was go­ing, all I have to do is sing? Well, if I get out of this, I can do that!”

And she did. Her sin­gle ‘Grow’ has been used in ad cam­paigns in­ter­na­tion­ally and played on ra­dio sta­tions through­out Ire­land and the UK. “With that song es­pe­cially, a big thing for me is the hon­esty of the lyrics,” she says. “It’s about over­com­ing our own neg­a­tiv­ity, which is some­thing I think a lot of peo­ple can re­late to.”

“I’m a wee bit older," she says. "My mu­sic is a bit more ma­ture – I don’t al­ways fit with what’s new and cool. But I would say that my mu­sic is very hon­est and raw. It’s even got a bit of that Mo­town sound.

I’m a coun­try girl from Ire­land, so ev­ery­one’s like, how could she come up with a Mo­town sound? It sur­prises peo­ple, be­cause there’s not too many Ir­ish mu­si­cians do­ing that.”

See: Her play Whe­lan’s with sup­port from Run­abay on Fe­bru­ary 12.

Hear: Her de­but al­bum, Grow, avail­able now.

Amanda St. John

Keith Plun­kett

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