You’ll find the albums of singer-songwriter Damien Rice in the folk section of your local record store—assuming you have a local record store. Of course, folk music doesn’t begin to describe his rich, captivating sound.
Rice uses his smoky voice to deliver haunting and mesmerizing melodies. His songs are sparse but packed with emotion. Rice won’t get you up on your feet dancing but he will get you thinking and feeling.
If you have the opportunity to procure Damien Rice tickets make sure you take it. Rice is fiercely independent and tries to eschew the machinations of the music industry whenever possible. To that end, Rice has taken long breaks (we’re talking years) away from his music career and might very well do so in the future.
Rice was born on Dec. 7, 1973 in Kildare, Ireland. In 1991, he formed a rock band called Juniper. Juniper released an EP and a couple of well-received singles but never an album. The band broke up in 1998 leaving Rice to peruse a solo career and a few of the other members to form the alternative rock band Bell X1. During his time with Juniper, Rice did not enjoy the experience of working with a record company. He was particularly frustrated with the musical compromises he was forced to make.
Farming & Busking
Soured by the music industry, Rice bolted to Italy where he became a farmer. He also busked around Europe for a while. After returning to Ireland, he scraped up enough money to record a demo which he sent to a relative in the music business. His second-cousin like what he heard and sent Rice a mobile studio to record an album.
Rice released his first album, O, in 2002 and his second, 9, in 2006. Rice didn’t want to release 9 but did so at the behest of his record company. He publically said that half the songs on 9 aren’t his best work.
From 2008 to early 2014, Rice released no music and performed nary a concert. He returned to the music business with the album My Favourite Faded Fantasy. The opus, produced by Rick Rubin, dropped on Nov. 3, 2014 and peaked at #15 on the Billboard 200.
Damien Rice’s Activism
>>Contributed “Making Noise” to Songs for Tibet: The Art of Peace
>>Contributed “Lonely Soldier” to the Enough Project
>>Contributed “Crosseyed Bear” to Help: A Day In The Life (War Child)
>>Participated in the Freedom Campaign
>>Participated in both the U.S. and U.K. Burma Campaigns