MARIA DOYLE KENNEDY
Maria Doyle Kennedy is an Irish singer-songwriter and actress. With a singing career that has spanned nearly thirty years and an acting career that has spanned twenty seven, she has established herself as one of Ireland’s most prolific artists and entertainers. As an actress, she is best known for her extensive television roles as Patsy on Father Ted (1998), Catherine of Aragon on The Tudors (2007–2010), Vera Bates on Downton Abbey (2011), and Siobhán Sadler on Orphan Black (2013–2017). As a musician, she is well known for her worldwide hit folk albums Mütter and Sing. Her new self-titled album was released in 2017. Maria has just collaborated with Feist & Jarvis Cocker on a video for the song *Century*. The project was a crazy mashup of Westside story and Thriller and featured Maria & Feist as dance-off gang leaders. Maria writes and performs with husband Kieran Kennedy and along with the new album they have also completed their first short film *A Different Kind Of Day*
Irish music magazine Hot Press called her “truly one of Ireland’s greatest vocalists” and one of their “best kept secrets,” Upon its release, Nicole Byrne of Shout4Music called Sing “one of the best Irish albums of the year – if not the best” and referred to Doyle Kennedy as a “Celtic angel.” Her voice has been credited as one of Ireland’s national treasures.
Her sixth album project, the folk-infused Sing, was released in September 2012 with Warner Music Group holding distribution rights to the album within the UK. In 2014 and 2015 Maria released two more albums: Maria Live, an album of songs performed live at Vicar Street and Pepper Canister Church with her husband Kieran providing the instrumentation and production; and Mütter’s Daughter, an album containing unreleased and re-released tracks from the album Mütter. In 2011, Maria and her husband Kieran released a collaboration album entitled The Storms Are on the Ocean. The album features a collection of Appalachian folk and country songs.
Maria then released the alternative folk album Mütter in 2007 along with accompanying singles “Fuckability” and “Forty Days”. After the release of “Fuckability”, Hot Press praised the single and stated that Doyle Kennedy “is one of the finest voices this country has ever produced.” She was subsequently nominated in the Best Irish Female category at the 2008 Meteor Awards. An accompanying DVD album for this record was also released in the same year. Entitled The Band of Maria’s, it included exclusive live material from some of Maria’s European tour.
She released the album Skullcover in 2005. The album contained her covers of songs such as “Lovesong”, “Video Killed the Radio Star” and “Still in Love with you”. She coordinated Sirens which is a compilation album of female artists and was released in 2003. In the same year, she performed on the first series of Other Voices. In 2001, Doyle Kennedy released music on Mermaid Records, a label she founded herself in 2000. Her debut solo album Charm was released in 2001 following the release of the two lead singles, “Stars Above” and “Babes”.
She produced a documentary, Golden Boy, based on the life and work of Irish artist Patrick Scott, for which she specifically created the production company Mermaid Films. The Lady Sings the Blues, a compilation album featuring Maria alongside Aretha Franklin, Billie Holiday and Annie Lennox followed and proved to be a best-selling album in 1994. It also established Doyle Kennedy in new markets throughout Europe, the U.S., and Japan. Touring Europe for the first time, she got rave reviews from The Guardian and The Times.
In 1988 Maria joined The Black Velvet Band with her future husband, Kieran Kennedy. The band released their first album, When Justice Came, in 1989. Recorded in Los Angeles in 1989, it reached number 4 on the Irish charts, and is ranked among the best Irish albums of the late 1980s. She then united with producers Clive Langer and Allen Winstanley to record her second Black Velvet Band album, King of Myself, in 1992. She has appeared as a broadcaster on Irish television filling in for John Kelly on his Mystery Train show and for Tom Dunne on Pet Sounds. Maria also hosted an RTÉ musical series Borderline in the late 1980s. Maria joined a band while still in college, performing with Hothouse Flowers during the band’s early years in the mid-80s. She appeared on their 1987 single “Love Don’t Work This Way”.