Damien Dempsey began his musical career in the Ballyfermot ‘Rock School’ where he studied both musical performance and the practical side of the music business. The school had its own small record label where exceptional students were given an opportunity to release on the label. In 1995 Damien was chosen for this honor and released his first EP, ‘The Contender’.
In 1997 "Dublin Town", Damien's first commercial single, reached No. 18 in the Irish charts. Ireland's HOT PRESS remarked that it was "…an underground anthem for disaffected youth and closet balladeer alike". A re-recorded version of the song appeared on Damien's first album; They Don't Teach This Shit In School released in 2000.
His next release, the Negative Vibes EP (2002), featured Sinéad O'Connor on the title track and led to an invitation to support Sinéad on her 2002/2003 Irish, UK and European tour.
Damien's second album, Seize the Day, was released May 2003 in Ireland and entered the charts first week of release at No. 5. It has since achieved double-platinum sales. Released in May 2004 in the UK on IRL, the album was awarded "CD of the Week" in the Sunday Times and received enthusiastic reviews in the National and music press.
Nominated in 4 categories in the 2004 Irish Meteor Awards, Damien walked away with two awards, the only 2004 double winner.
A documentary, "It's All Good: The Damien Dempsey Story" by independent filmmaker Dara McCluskey, followed Damien's career progression up to the release of "Seize the Day" and was broadcast on RTE and shown at film festivals in both Ireland and New York.
His third album, Shots, simultaneously released in Ireland and the UK in March 2005, entered the Irish album charts at Number 1 and achieved platinum status in December 2005. The album was also released in the U.S. on the United for Opportunity label in June 2006 as Damien undertook his first coast-to-coast headline tour.
In February 2006 Damien won another Meteor Awards in the Best Irish Male category.
Recorded in December 2005 at Dublin's Olympia Theatre and released in June 2006, Damien's first live album, Live at The Olympia, entered the Irish album chart at Number 10.
The first half of 2007 has been a busy year for Damien, for the second year in a row he won Best Irish Male at the Meteor Awards and he continued to tour extensively in Ireland, USA and Australia. He performed to a packed venue at SXSW – and went on to play further gigs across America. He then traveled to Australia to complete his first ever tour there. His performances there garnered him praise from both critics and punters alike.
His 4th studio album To Hell Or Barbados takes it’s title from the Sean O’Callaghan book of the same name which refers to Oliver Cromwell banishing 50,000 Irish as slaves to Barbados in the 17th century.
This album shows development and incredible maturity from this exceptional artist, who returns with a new and very contemporary sounding album. A variety of musical styles from rock, folk, reggae, and even electronica combine to make this Dempsey's most accomplished album yet.
To Hell Or Barbados was released July 3rd on United For Opportunity (UFO) in the states, which was followed shortly thereafter by a national tour supporting Sinéad O'Connor.