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Rising acts you should be keeping an eye and ear on
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