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Gavin James relishing return to Marquee

May 24th, 2024 6:00 PM

By Kieran O'Mahony

Gavin James relishing return to Marquee Image
Gavin James performs at Live At The Marquee gig on Saturday May 25th.

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MARQUEE-bound singer Gavin James stands by his decision to turn down an invite to play the famed South X South West in Austin, Texas because the festival is sponsored by military firms.

James, along with numerous Irish artists such as Kneecap, Soda Blonde and Mick Flannery, opted to reject the invite to play due to the fact that the festival is sponsored by arms companies and the US army.

‘What a beautiful thing that all the Irish artists refused to play there and while it is a huge showcase for some of the newer artists I was glad I refused to play there, despite it being my first invite,’ he said.

While attendees at South X South West missed out on hearing James, the pupils of Scoil Ísogáin in Farranree in Cork city got the surprise of their lives when he turned up at their school for a surprise mini gig, much to their delight.

As well as playing to them in the school gym, some of the pupils also got to jam with him afterwards.

The singer of such hit songs like ‘Nervous’ , ‘Heart’s on Fire’ and ‘Always’ made his presence felt while visiting Cork to promote his Live At The Marquee gig on Saturday May 25th.

With a new single ‘Heavy’ already receiving plaudits since its release, its gospel and soul influences are undeniable.

The Dublin singer, who plays the Marquee next month for the third time in his career, has seen him release some memorable singles and albums, as well as touring all over the world.

He recently completed a sold out European tour with just his acoustic guitar as well as playing gigs in Sao Paulo in Brazil, a country that has fully embraced him since his song ‘Always’ featured in the popular TV drama Pega Pega.

He even made an appearance on the show before and had a small speaking part before he played that track.

Speaking to The Southern Star from the penthouse suite of the Clayton Hotel in Cork city, Gavin said he is eagerly awaiting to play the Marquee again as it’s been almost six years since he and his band last played there.

‘It’s such a buzz to play there and the Cork crowds are just massive and loud and it’s fantastic to play there,’ said Gavin.

He is really pleased with the feedback to his new single ‘Heavy’ and its gospel influence is down to his sister who is a gospel singer.

‘Heavy is a song about reflecting on how you were when you were younger. It’s about a time when you didn’t really stress about much and life felt a little lighter on your shoulders.

It kind of dwells on some of my past mistakes as a person and how I wish I could go back and fix them as the person I feel I am today.’

Gavin is also currently finishing his new album, which is due for release later this year.

‘There is a lot of different styles on the album and it’s pretty much done now with just a few bits to finish in June. I’m producing most of it with my friend Dan and my other mate Ollie Green (who produced his single ‘Always’). It’s very hard not to produce stuff as I was always at it at home and got to learn a lot more during lockdown.’

His festival touring season has already started, having recently played the Paaspop Festival in Holland with more planned for Portugal and Switzerland as well as numerous Irish dates.

‘It was my first solo tour in almost seven years and it was very different when the band wasn’t with me but they were great gigs and it’s fantastic to chat a bit more at these gigs.’

He also got involved in Three City Stages while touring Europe, where Irish  buskers are invited to play support to big name artists.

‘These are all Irish musicians and it was a great buzz especially the gigs in Amsterdam with Gemma Cox. They are incredible singers too.’

One market that Gavin has succeeded where others have failed is Brazil and he played a few gigs there in Sao Paulo.

‘I’ve only played Sao Paulo and Rio but we would definitely like to tour to other cities there and it’s fantastic playing gigs there.’

As well as the European dates, Gavin will be playing several Irish dates this summer in Galway, Dublin and Donegal.

• Gavin James plays Live At The Marquee on Saturday May 25th. See for ticket details.

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