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Posted on 16. May, 2003 by admin in Damien News, Interviews.


Rice imports ‘O’ from his native Ireland

By Will Jordan,

May 16, 2003

Damien Rice has been wowing audiences in his home country of Ireland for years now, and by touring for his debut album, O, he hopes to win the ears of U.S. listeners.

For someone who has never seen much of the country, besides New York and Los Angeles, Rice is certainly getting a crash course in American geography. His tour bounces him from Boston, Mass to Atlanta, Ga. all the way to Seattle, Wash.

“It’s been quite exciting actually,” said Rice in his native Irish lilt. “I had hardly been through the states at all before this.”

Rice was born on the outskirts of Dublin in the early 70’s and grew up in Celbridge, Co. Kildare. Rice wanted to create an album in a non-traditional, spontaneous fashion — in his bedroom, his kitchen, wherever and whenever it felt right.

He released his first single, “The Blower’s Daughter” in Sept. 2001. O debuted the following February in Ireland with huge success, rising to platinum status in his home country. The album is set to release June 3 on Vector Recordings in the U.S.

“Irish audiences have been very responsive, since the record has been out there for over a year,” Rice said. “Over here, it’s like I’m starting over again.”

According to the songwriter, O popped into his head while riding around in circles on his bike, but he has since come up with a more esoteric explanation for the CD title.

“You want to know the real reason for the title,” he laughed. “I guess it’s about the mistakes we keep making over and over again.”

Rice said he “writes because I have to write.”

“There’s [stuff] inside me that I vomit out through my songs,” he said. “They just hit me.”

One song on O that has gained a lot of attention is “Eskimo,” which Rice said he wrote at a time when he was suffering from severe writer’s block.

“I was thinking to myself, ‘I’m a songwriter, why can’t I write a song,’” Rice said. “I sat down for three days and tried to write songs for the album. On the third day I got pissed and threw the guitar across the room. It hit a radiator and I felt guilty. The rain started hitting the window and it came to me. I wrote about not being able to write. I’ve never bothered to try to write anymore. I just let it be.”

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