Damien Rice - Biography

Damien RiceDamien Rice (born December 7, 1970) is an Irish musician, born in Celbridge, County Kildare, some 22 kilometres/13 miles from Dublin, whose album O was successful.

Rice was originally the singer for Juniper, a rock band which released the singles "The World Is Dead" and "Weatherman". On the eve of recording their first full album for Polygram in 1999, Rice became disenchanted with the commercial direction he felt pushed into by the label, and quit. His Juniper bandmates became Bell X1. He moved to rural Italy where he played acoustic guitar, wrote songs, and busked around Europe until he was able to form a band and get coffeeshop gigs in the Dublin area. Exploiting a lucky connection to David Arnold, his second cousin, Rice was able to record O, for which he won the Shortlist Music Prize in 2003. The other members of the band are Lisa Hannigan who sings and occasionally plays guitar and bass; cellist Vyvienne Long; percussionist Tom Osander (aka: Tomo) a member of the groundbreaking 90's jam band God Street Wine; and bassist Shane Fitzsimons.

"The Blower's Daughter" and "Cold Water" were featured on the 2004 Mike Nichols film Closer. "Cold Water" was also featured in the TV drama ER , in the movies Stay, The Girl in the Café , and I Am David. "Delicate" was featured in the movie Dear Frankie as well as on the TV dramas Lost, House, Alias and CSI: Miami and "Cannonball" was featured in the movie In Good Company, in the TV series The L Word and the dramedy The O.C.

In 2004, 'Cannonball' was re-mixed for UK radio to make it more radio-friendly. Rice later was reported to be very unhappy with it, saying to Tom Dunne on PetSounds (Today FM) that he did not "...really like it". He stated that he had allowed the remix to go through only if he signed a contract that would forbid anyone from ever remixing one of his songs ever again.

Damien recorded an old Juniper track, "Cross-eyed Bear" (originally titled "Jewellery Box"), for the new War Child album.

Damien spent 2004 and 2005 recording the follow-up to O. During a recent concert in Toronto, he confirmed that the recording is done and a release is expected in late 2006. According to Damien's record label, 14th Floor Records, the new album, 9, was released on November 6, 2006.

Rice has often become annoyed with audience members who speak through his set. At an Australian gig, he reportedly shouted to an audience member who was speaking that he'd give him his ticket money, plus parking fare if he left the arena. At a Los Angeles show, he was displeased that Britney Spears and her date Colin Farrell talked during his set. "She's a pain in the arse," he told The Guardian.

Damien Rice ‘9

The gradual success of Rice’s 2002 debut, "O", took him from cult status to over-exposure. Fortunately, it hasn’t blunted his songwriting. "9" is a delicate and sometimes bleak record, verging at times on the melodramatic, with Rice apparently exploring the entrails of a terrible romantic hurt.

His debt to Leonard Cohen is evident and, while the music sometimes swells to gloomy thunder (even sounding like PJ Harvey on "Me, My Yoke And I"), Rice is at his best when he’s quiet. The vocal on "Elephant" is brave, staking a terrain right on the edge of embarrassment, and the single "9 Crimes" is a tender duet with regular foil Lisa Hannigan. "O" fans will appreciate the sweet simplicity of "Dogs", while the Nick Cave-like "Accidental Babies" is a grimly intimate exploration of jealousy.


Damien Rice is also involved in a human rights campaign to free Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who is presently being subjected to her third house arrest in Rangoon by the Burmese military - this time having been confined to her home since September 2003. Damien and Lisa recorded a charity song, campaigning for her being set free, called "Unplayed Piano".

Damien Rice Official Website

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