Genre: Country, Country Pop, Pop
Pete Kennedy…Using His“Fighting Irish” Attitude
to Build a Life In Music
Pete Kennedy is the real deal: the walking, talking, singing embodiment of how the world sees the people of Ireland—repeatedly bouncing back from tragedy and finding inspiration in music.
Born in late March of 1977, Pete is the second oldest of a family of five brothers from a small town called Birr in County Offaly, and Carrig in County Tipperary. The Kennedy family lived in a small, two-bedroom house in the countryside until the mid-80’s when Pete’s father purchased a bar in town.
Adversity makes the man…
In 1988, tragedy struck on a sunny Sunday morning. While Pete was staying with his grandparents, the second floor Kennedy’s bar caught fire as the family slept on the third and fourth floors. Escape by the stairwell was impossible. Pete’s father broke a third floor window so his wife and Pete’s two youngest brothers could make it out to the window ledge, then crawled through choking black smoke only to find two more of Pete’s brothers unconscious on a landing. He managed to drag the boys to the window. Rescuers arrived on scene and helped mother and children to safety, performing CPR and reviving the two who were overcome by smoke. Unfortunately, the family patriarch was overcome by smoke and could not escape. He died saving his family. He died a hero, but leaving a 36-year old widow to raise five children, ages two to twelve, on her own.
Life changed that day. Working to help support the family became the priority. School took a back seat, and music? Well, Pete had to wait for a year to replace the guitar that had been destroyed in the fire, but the music of the Eagles and Don Henley gave him a release and a way of dealing with a life without a father.
Making music became a reality for a young Pete Kennedy in 1994, when he started a band called Charade with some classmates form school. Charade played small shows in the area until the band members started pursuing their individual careers. That’s when Pete joined Saddletramp and played functions and events for a couple of years.
In January of 1999, tragedy struck the Kennedy family once again. Pete returned from a vacation and was greeted with the news that his uncle Louis had been diagnosed with Leukemia and had been given a week to live.; a huge blow to the family since Uncle Louis had stepped in to fulfill the “father” role for the five young boys. This added to the grief of losing two grandparents, and then three aunts to cancer—all between 1988 and 1998.
Love, hope…and finding the music
The new millennium saw life looking brighter for Pete Kennedy. In 2002, he married girlfriend Audrey and the couple was blessed with two beautiful daughters, Aoibhe and Caitlin. Pete was working hard to support his family, gaining strength from a past full of heartache.
As the world economy took a massive downturn in 2008, Pete found himself unemployed. That’s when he looked to music to support his young family. Starting as a solo act playing bars and pubs, he began to gain some notoriety. Before long, Pete was playing gigs in Germany and the UK—developing confidence as a performer, writing songs and experimenting with different styles to find his own “voice.” The shows in Ireland, Germany and the UK continued, keeping Pete busy—busy enough to realize that he could make a pretty good living.
In 2010, a confident Pete Kennedy started his own label, KEMC Records and started work, with cousin/engineer Mark McCormack producing and arranging, on an eight-song EP, called “This Time”. The cd was made available for download on iTunes, and copies of the cd were sold at gigs and used for promotions. Copies of the cd were also sent to radio stations, and caught the attention of Lee Williams of CMR Nashville, who contacted Pete and offered him a chance to travel to Nashville to play the famed Cadillac Ranch and represent Ireland as a part of the International Artist Showcase prior to the 2011 CMA awards.
The best is yet to come…
The single, Yellow, from the EP reached number-25 on the International Hot-disc chart and landed in the top-10 on the British and Irish Independent Hot-disc charts during Christmas 2011. The video for Yellow was filmed in London, England and is available for viewing on You Tube. Robert Reynolds of The Mavericks said that Pete Kennedy is “fearless in his songwriting.” Pete has appeared on the Nashville Broadcasting Network’s Video Jukebox playing Time Of Your Life, and was interviewed on Inside Music Row TV.
All of that is a great start but, for Pete Kennedy, a life of adversity has instilled a strong sense of values and a desire to leave people smiling, and be thought of as a real and heartfelt songwriter.