It was by chance that I first stumbled upon the music of James Vincent McMorrow. I couldn't tell you what exactly lead me to him, but I was all alone in my flat while studying abroad in the U.K. in 2014. As expected in London, it was raining so I was content staying indoors for the day. "Cavalier" started playing on SoundCloud, and I was immediately moved by the soft-spoken voice of this man. McMorrow was a happy medium between Bon Iver and James Blake, but he was more under the radar and I liked it that way.
Raised in Malahide, Ireland, a small town outside of Dublin, McMorrow distinctly remembers riding around with his sister in his dad's car and sticking his head out of the sunroof while ELO's "Blue Sky" blasted from the stereo. "Music was always around, but that was the first moment where I was like, 'Oh wow, music can be something different... It can lift you," he says.
McMorrow was always the shy and quiet type, but that didn't stunt his interest in post-hardcore bands like At the Drive In and Brand New. Around the age of 16, he started playing drums with a bunch of his friends.
"Being from Dublin gave me a massive advantage because it's such a small town. There's a lot of artists and musicians that do really well, and labels tend to work if like something is really successful coming out of a town—they'll go over and go to shows and stuff," he says. "There was a really good music scene. It's not very industry based which is dope because it means that no one's looking at each other, going, 'What are you doing, I need to do that shit too.' In Dublin, it was just like people that liked you because of music you made and you liked them, and you would just play together and it would be very organic."