Belfast born singer-songwriter and producer Gareth Dunlop has been recognised as an accomplished talent ever since the BBC tipped him as ‘one to watch in 2010 - when he was not long out of his teens.
Inspired by icons such as The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and Tom Waits, plus a soupçon of Pink Floyd, Dunlop picked up a guitar aged 14 and soon began performing covers and original songs in live venues around Northern Ireland, ROI and the rest of the UK. In 2011 he won a Young Songwriter of the Year award in Belfast that not only earned him an invite to collaborate with seasoned writers in Nashville, an experience he has repeated many times since, but it also enabled him to tour the US extensively.
In the decade since he has released several singles, a handful of EPs and one album - all have been musically eclectic yet have highlighted his highly soulful voice. Several songs have featured in the hit TV series Nashville, and in other TV shows Lucifer, This Is Us, Bones and Suits. Also in the movies The Best Of Me and Safe Haven and on recent Disney and Subaru commercials.
Prior to the 2020 lockdown, Dunlop was just as likely to be heard by live audiences as he forged a reputation as a magnetic and charismatic performer on frequent headlining tours and support slots to the likes of Van Morrison, and Jeff Beck, Snow Patrol and James Morrison.
In 2017, having spent so long away from Belfast following his initial breakthrough, Gareth decided to record and co-produce his debut album No. 79 - in a stripped-back fashion, at his home with Northern Irish compatriot Alastair McMillan, and Nashville based writer Bobby Hamrick. Alastair McMillan had also recorded Dunlop’s first studio sessions at Windmill Lane Dublin and has engineered for U2, The Rolling Stones and Van Morrison. A winning fusion of folk and soul, the album earned critical acclaim and was playlisted on several Irish and UK radio stations, while in ROI it earned an Album of the Week slot on the prestigious RTE1.
Dunlop subsequently established Sycamore Studios in Belfast, where he has recorded his forthcoming new album Animal, while also producing albums by friends and fellow Northern Irish singer-songwriters Foy Vance (Signs Of Life 2021) and Lee Rogers (GAMEBLOOD, out spring 2022). All three artists will be on tour together in 2022, with Dunlop also on additional duty as a member of the Foy Vance live band.
Animal consists of a diverse set of songs that include the soulful and anthemic Right about Ready and the first single Look Back Smiling - which evoke the ‘80s yet exude timeless quality. The highly atmospheric Sorrow and Prisoner of My Past both channel late-period Roxy Music and the laid-back ‘60s dream-pop vibe of Humans, plus a memorable title song, adds an electronic bounce to its subtle groove.
Today XS Noize is pleased to exclusively premiere an amazing live performance of the current single "Animal," by Gareth Dunlop. Filmed by BrokenFilmNI - Watch BELOW:
The Foy Vance tour begins with a set of US dates in May, followed by European dates in the autumn, including a date at The SSE Arena on Friday 9 September.