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On his way to becoming one of 2015’s international crossover-stories, Gavin James was born in Ashington, a suburb on the northside of Dublin. The 23-year-old son of a postman, music was arguably in James’ blood: his great grandparents were both famous Irish Opera singers and had their own albums released in the early 1900s (they had to turn down an invitation to perform in London owing to their families, and the political conditions of the time). Having started out playing Jimi Hendrix covers in the garden shed, Gavin then drew the short straw when he was chosen as the singer of his teenage band, and learnt his subsequent solo craft the hard way. Inspired by local heroes like Damien Rice and classic, grafting Soul artists such as Sam Cooke, he would play Dublin’s pubs virtually 7 nights a week during college, in a marathon of 3-hour shows.
Growing in confidence, Gavin James’ own material then began to draw an impassioned following: his first ever single won Ireland’s answer to the Mercury (the Choice Prize for ‘Song Of The Year’), stayed on the charts for over 6 months and culminated with 2014’s #1-charting, ‘Live at Whelans’ album: a venue he used to sneak inside when underage, but returned to as a rapturously-received headliner. That night, he happened to perform an impulsive cover of The Magnetic Fields’ ‘The Book Of Love’, accelerating Gavin’s word-of-mouth success story (the track has since become a platinum-selling hit around Europe, with upwards of 6 million plays on Spotify).
With his first piece of recorded material – ‘For You’ – reaching number 1 in Ireland and going top 10 on iTunes in the US, Canada and Holland, Gavin James has inched closer to the spotlight with an appearance on ‘The Late Late Show With James Corden’. Continuing with ‘22’, lifted from sessions for his forthcoming debut album, Gavin James looks poised to become the next great voice to shine a light back on the Dublin suburbs (and beyond).