“He writes the sort of classic songs that people don’t write anymore, songs that sound like they’ve been around forever […] Listen to Galileo, which is possibly the greatest song written in the last 30 years.”
– Paul Weller, Mojo Magazine (Apr 2012)
“To me, Declan is not a songwriter within the ordinary definition of the word. He is a sorcerer of songs, with a Dickensian skill for finding the moment that details some aspect of our humanity.”
– Brendan Graham, Hot Press Magazine (Mar 2012)
Declan O’Rourke was a latecomer to the Dublin singer-songwriter scene.
But, in his mid-twenties, within months of discovering Dublin’s bustling songwriter open-mic circuit, O’Rourke found himself in the mix with the likes of Paddy Casey, Gemma Hayes, Damian Rice and many other Irish singer-songwriters.
In 2004, Declan released his debut album, Since Kyabram.
‘Galileo (Someone Like You),’ his debut single, has been covered by numerous artists including Josh Groban, and performed by Paul Weller and Chris Rea.
Declan performed ‘Galileo’ at the 25th Anniversary Gala Celebration of Ireland’s National Concert Hall before the President of Ireland, at the opening ceremony of the Solheim Cup 2011, and earlier this year at the BBC ‘Proms in the Park’ with the Ulster Orchestra in Belfast.
Such was the critical and commercial success of Since Kyabram in Ireland that it opened the doors for him internationally, earning him plaudits from the likes of Snow Patrol, Kate Rusby and DJs Jonathan Ross and Edith Bowman, each of whom were rapturous in their praise of Declan’s deep-honey voice and astute song writing abilities.
His follow-up album in 2007, Big Bad Beautiful World, easily consolidated his appeal in Ireland and also with his growing list of well-connected champions. Support slots followed in the UK and Europe to the likes of Paulo Nutini, Snow Patrol, Teddy Thompson, The Cardigans, Badly Drawn Boy, Divine Comedy and Paul Brady.
Earlier in 2011, O’Rourke joined a stellar line up of artists that included Alison Krauss, Jerry Douglas and Amos Lee for Transatlantic Sessions Series 5, broadcast on the BBC2, BBC4 and RTE1. Declan was also a featured artist at the Transatlantic Sessions Live Tour 2012, encompassing the Royal Festival Hall in London, Birmingham Symphony Hall and Glasgow Concert Hall, among other prestigious venues in the UK and Ireland.
O’Rourke released Mag Pai Zai, his third album, on his own Rimecoat label in April ’11. It managed to top the success of Declan’s first two albums, holding its own in Ireland’s Top 10 Album Chart for four consecutive weeks. ‘A Little Something,’ the album’s debut single climbed to the no. 2 spot in the Today FM Top 40.
Mag Pai Zai was Album of the Week on BBC Radio Scotland.
Both singles, ‘A Little Something,’ and ‘Time Machine’ were Today FM Single of the Week on Ian Dempsey’s Breakfast Show.
O’Rourke’s songs have been recorded by a host of highly-respected, successful artists. ‘Galileo (Someone Like You)’ was recorded by Josh Groban for his fifth studio album, Illuminations, produced by Rick Rubin.
It has also been recorded by Eddi Reader (MBE), the Scottish songstress widely known for her No. 1 UK hit ‘It’s Got To Be Perfect.’ Jacqui Dankworth, daughter of Jazz legends Cleo Laine and Sir John Dankworth, recorded the song for her second album Back to You. Brian Kennedy, The Celtic Tenors, Paul Byrom, amongst others, have all recorded ‘Galileo’.
O’Rourke’s song ‘A Little Something’ was recorded by Swedish pop sensation Peter Jöback, for his Scandinavian Top 5-selling album East-Side Stories in 2008.
Eddi Reader recorded his ‘Love is the Way’ as the title-track for his latest album. Reader’s recording of ‘Love is the Way’ was used in Disney’s Christmas commercial campaign on Disney Channel UK and Ireland.
In December 2011, O’Rourke appeared as a special guest on ‘For One Night Only,’ a TV special celebrating the 50th anniversary of legendary Irish band ‘The Dubliners.’
His recent Christmas tour encompassed a full-house performance at Dublin’s famed Olympia Theatre which was filmed for release as a limited-edition DVD in 2012.
April 2012’s edition of Mojo Magazine featured a compilation album of ‘Modfather’ Paul Weller’s favourite songs, which included Declan’s song ‘Sarah (Last Night in a Dream.)
In June 2012, Declan took part in Electric Burma, a gala concert celebrating Burmese humanitarian Aung San Suu Kyi, alongside Bono, Bob Geldof, Damian Rice and Vanessa Redgrave, amongst others.