Pavilion Arts Centre
1 Apr 2017
Brian Kennedy survived a childhood on the infamous Falls Road, West Belfast, at the height of its hellish history against all the odds to carve an extraordinary career in music. In his own words he says, "I shouldn't have become a singer really, given where and how my life started, but my voice had other plans and saved me in the end". That voice changed the course of his whole life forever.
From harmonizing with ambulances as a child to finally overcoming stage fright, his gradual ascent was nothing short of miraculous. He busked on the dangerous streets of his hometown whatever the political weather until a sudden escape to London, when only 18, saw him surviving in the only way he knew how. He sang unaccompanied in the underground stations and outside the Dominion Theatre, sometimes literally in order to eat and until he finally saved up enough money for a guitar. He lived in various illegal squats before eventually being discovered by Simon Fuller (Pop Idol, Annie Lennox, Spice Girls).
Kennedy is first and foremost a live performer and songwriter. His constant touring from Ireland and the UK to Australia, Germany and the US, including the major global festivals, has resulted in an ever-growing international fan base the old fashioned way over a phenomenal 25 year career in the rollercoaster ride that is the unpredictable music industry.
His work with Van Morrison has been well documented. The Belfast legend invited Kennedy to a rehearsal one day that resulted in him being featured as guest lead singer on the now unforgettable Blues & Soul Revue. Courtesy of Morrison’s continuing mentoring and generosity, Kennedy ended up sharing vocal duties on stages across the globe over a six-year period with Morrison and a breathtaking cast of some of the greatest artists in history: Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Ray Charles and John Lee Hooker to name but a few. Madison Square Gardens was a far cry from the Falls Road. That unique Irish voice can be heard harmonizing and answering Van on five of his major hit albums.
As if that wasn't impressive enough, you might be less familiar with Kennedy’s impromptu performances with Stevie Wonder at Ronnie Scotts in London. Incredibly and proudly he is one of only a few to have also sung with the late legendary Jeff Buckley at Sin É in New York.
Throughout the relentless touring with Van Morrison, Kennedy somehow managed to maintain a stream of chart-making albums. A Better Man (1996) and Now That I Know What I Want (1999) both went platinum at No.1 and earned him the awards of Irish Best Male Artist and Irish Best Male Album, as did the highly acclaimed Homebird (2006) and cover album Interpretations (2008). But it was Kennedy’s heart wrenching live performance of You Raise Me Up at the funeral of football legend George Best that earned him a spot in the top five of the UK charts.
Dates and Prices
Dates: Saturday 1 April 7.30pm
Discounts: Not available.