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Killea country star David poised to take meteoric rise to the next level

05 June 2017

David James will take to the Country Stage at this weekend’s Strabane Summer Jamm Festival on the crest of a wave after his first major show proved a resounding success last week.

The Killea man sold out the An Grianan Hotel in Burt for a special ‘Night with the Stars’ concert in aid of suicide awareness charity Pieta House.

Last year David was awarded the title of ‘Best Young Entertainer’ at the Music City Awards and his number one single ‘My Donegal Doll’ was one of the anthems of the summer.

But the 19 year-old admits his sold out show in his native Inishowen has been the highlight of his career to date.

“It’s been great to win the awards and have hit singles and I’ve had some great experiences like playing support to the Bay City Rollers at the Millennium Forum in Derry,” he recalled.

“My gig last week in Burt has been the highlight of my career so far though, to sell out a sit down concert of that size in my own area meant a lot and hopefully it’s the start of bigger things.

“It’s hard work, there’s a lot of travelling and a lot of strange sleep patterns but I’ve loved every minute of it and wouldn’t have it any other way.”

David was only two weeks out of school when ‘My Donegal Doll’ written by Strabane native David Oliver was released on iTunes but to his amazement it shot straight to Number One in the Irish download charts within hours.

“It was unbelievable,” he says. “I had only finished up St Columb’s College in Derry about two weeks before, I remember I was playing a gig and I got a text to tell me I was number one and I was just speechless.

“It was a great buzz and gave me a massive confidence boost to keep at it and get another single out.

“The publicity from it opened a lot of doors for me and got me on bills with bigger guests so it was a big moment.”

Growing up in Killea, David always had an interest in being on stage and, when his older brother Gerard guided him towards the thriving local live country music scene, it was a natural fit.

“I’d always been into Irish dancing since I was young so performing has always come easily to me,” he said. “I did a lot of musical theatre as well but my brother was a drummer in a country band and that’s what led me down that route.

“Once I decided on country music there was no turning back, I started off small in local pubs and clubs and it just grew from there.
“I have so much to look forward to now, the festival season has started now and I’m looking forward to doing bigger shows, I’m performing on a Cruise with Mike Denver in January too which should be a lot of fun.”

Looking ahead to his performance in Strabane this Sunday, where he shares the bill with Cliona Hagan and Johnny Brady, he encouraged the public to avail of the opportunity to see three high level acts for a fraction of the normal price.

“It’s going to be a great day out for all the family and the tickets are incredible value,” he said.

“Normally you’d be paying £15 or £20 to acts of this level so to see three of them for just £3 a ticket is great value.
“People can expect a bit of everything, there’ll be a bit of Joe Dolan in there, some American country and a bit of pop so there’s something to suit all tastes and ages.”

 The Strabane Summer Jamm Festival will run from Friday June 9th until Sunday June 11th with a mix of music, fun fair, arts, children’s activities and markets taking place in various locations in the town.

The Country Stage, headlined by Cliona Hagan, David James and Johnny Brady has live music from 3pm until 7pm on Sunday.
The event is suitable for all ages and tickets can be purchased now at www.derrystrabane.com/SummerJamm where tickets for all three days are also available. Tickets are also available from the Alley Theatre Box Office.