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damien dempsey 'I can’t really pay the mortgage until I start gigging again...'


Damien has been writing songs

Damien has been writing songs

Damien has been writing songs

Damien Dempsey has long ago learned how to manage his depression, so he's been well equipped with the skills needed to get through this year's dark days of Covid-19.

However, Ireland's much-loved folk singer and songwriter wasn't prepared for the devastating financial blow he's suffered.

Like all entertainers, Damien (45) hasn't worked since March, and admits that he's been unable to meet his mortgage repayments in recent months.

"During the first lockdown the bank gave me a six-month moratorium on the mortgage," Damien tells the Sunday World in an exclusive interview.

"That's now ended and I can't really pay the mortgage until I start gigging again. I'm trying to give them just a few hundred a month to let them know that I'm not blanking them.


Damien will be taking part in a virtual gig next week

Damien will be taking part in a virtual gig next week

Damien will be taking part in a virtual gig next week

"I am very grateful for the loan because I have a lovely house, so I want to pay them back, but I can't until I get work again."

The true blue Dub says he's been keeping his spirits up by taking walks in local woods "and getting into the sea, as I usually do."

He says: "I've tried not to get too disillusioned with it all, and definitely getting back to nature has been hugely beneficial. I've been doing simple things such as walking in the woods a lot.

"I've also been doing a bit of meditation and I've been practising gratitude a lot, just writing down things to be grateful for every night.

"If you're philosophical about it you can come back stronger, learn from it, get back into nature and slow the mind down. Stepping back from technology is important as well. I've become more dependent on the phone through a bit of isolation, but you have to realise that turning it off for a few hours a day would be great.


"I don't do social media. The amount of bullying going on kills me. My management look after my social media. I write a big long letter every six months and the fans love that. I write loads of what's been going on for the six months. Then I just walk away, I don't even look at the comments."

Having a creative outlet, Damien says, has also been good for his mental health - and out of lockdown has come a new batch of songs, plus the script for a one man show based on his own life.

He reveals: "Writing has been a big thing for me. I've been doing that as much as I could. I found that writing down stuff has been cathartic. Loads of new songs came out of it, but I'm not sure if they're any good because there's been nowhere to let people hear them.

"I've just let them flow. Even if it's a bad song, it could be a stepping stone to a better song."

Damien has also spent some of his time writing an autobiographical one man show with the working title, Sing All Your Cares Away, which will be eventually staged at The Abbey Theatre in Dublin.

He says: "The Abbey want me to do a one man show, so I've been writing for that. It's autobiographical and I'll be telling how I got into music and reflecting on my childhood, my school days, who my parents are and the various influences that have sort of shaped me.

"Going back and digging up the memories has been an interesting experience. I didn't realise I had so many little memories stored in a filing cabinet at the back of my mind until I started thinking about things and writing them down. There are some things I hadn't thought about in 20 or 30 years.

"It was a happy childhood for the most part. There are dark moments, but it's a happy story.

"It'll be me on the stage talking, and maybe playing a bit of piano and singing, but mostly talking. I was born in 1975 and I'll be talking about what Ireland was like back then. It was kind of the dark ages growing up."

Meanwhile, Damien will be one of the artists taking part in next week's virtual gigs, The Station Sessions, run by Iarnród Eireann in association with Focus Ireland to help fight homelessness.

The shows, which will go out on Focus Ireland social media, YouTube and Facebook, next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, features Dempsey singing at Dublin's Pearse Street station.

Check out Damien Dempsey's social media for his songwriting competition for school children around the country.

The winning entry will receive a visit from Damien and a singing session in the school.

"I want to get them off their phones and into songwriting," he adds.

"It might give them a bit of a boost and get them into artistry and creativity."

Online Editors