VIDEO: Tenor of optimism

Please enable Javascript to watch this videoBRIAN Kennedy has sung for as long as he can remember.
Nanjing Night Net

‘‘I was one of those really annoying little kids who used to hum and sing along with everything,’’ Kennedy recalls to Weekender from his home in Dublin.

‘‘I couldn’t stop humming and people would tell me to shut up [laughs]. I was very, very, very young when I discovered music.’’

When he reached puberty, Kennedy’s voice changed and he realised that his big tenor voice could take him places.

Now 46, Kennedy is regarded as one of Ireland’s favourite vocalists.

In 2010 he picked up a Lifetime Achievement award at the Ireland Music Awards, which honoured a 20-year music career that began after he left his family’s council house on the notorious Falls Road in Belfast to make a better life for himself.

As one of six children, Kennedy grew up at the height of The Troubles during which he witnessed people killed in the street as the Catholics and Protestants waged war against each other.

It was music that encouraged him to chase his dreams.

Not long after celebrating his 18th birthday, Kennedy traded Belfast for the bright lights of London where he started from the bottom as a pub singer and busking in the London Underground.

His break came after he met manager Simon Fuller – best known for creating the Spice Girls – who landed Kennedy a recording contract.

With two albums under his belt, Kennedy had begun building a name for himself when Van Morrison invited him to perform vocals in his band, touring the world and sharing the stage with Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan.

‘‘Working alongside someone of that stature, I learnt to take risks – and not to be afraid to take risks – and to just keep doing my own thing.’’

He was the first to record the much-covered ballad You Lift Me Up – made famous by US singer Josh Groban – and has represented Ireland at Eurovision.

Since releasing his debut album in 1990, Kennedy has produced 11 solo albums including his latest, Voice.

On the album (which entered the Irish charts at No.3), Kennedy addresses Ireland’s struggle with recession on the uplifting track, Best Days.

He says he wanted to write a song from a positive perspective.

‘‘It really is my reaction to the recession, to difficult times, all those things,’’ Kennedy says.

‘‘It’s a song that looks forward to the future and says our best days are yet to come, don’t give up, I know things are tough at the moment.

‘‘I just thought it was strange that, artistically, I wasn’t hearing a reaction to the recession. When I turn on the radio I’m just hearing songs that aren’t really about that, so I just wanted a song of mine to address it in a really positive, fun, uplifting way and that’s how Best Days was born.’’

The singer – who tours Australia next month for the first time since 2010 – says he can only get better with age as a singer.

‘‘Men’s voices change a lot as they get older – especially if you look after it and so on – so I should actually be peaking.

‘‘I’m in my 40s now and that’s when the male tenor voice really reaches its peak.’’

Brian Kennedy performs at Lizotte’s Newcastle on September 10. Bookings online at lizottes南京夜网.au.

Brian Kennedy discovered music when he was very young.

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