Jack L for Vicar Street

JACK L credit Marc O'Sullivan

Jack L headed off to Amsterdam one summer at the age of 18, living in a tent on campsites for nearly six months whilst busking and working in fish factories.

“At one stage I ended up losing the tent and sleeping in ditches,” he laughs. Jack, now 40, came back from Europe to busk on our Dublin streets. He became a familiar face and started to play in clubs, eventually landing a slot in the Olympia. The singer/songwriter has come a long way since then, winning the Spotlight Award for Best Musical Performance in Edinburgh two years ago.

Jack knows the hard work that is involved as a musician to make it as a paid working original artist and laughs about the nights he slept in ditches but wouldn’t change it for the world. “Music was the only thing I was ever interested in and I was lucky enough to be born with the gift of a voice and the desire to write songs. When I think of myself working in a factory gutting fish, there’s no comparison.”

Jack first came to prominence in 1995 with his interpretation of Jacques Brel. He introduced a whole generation of people to Brel’s music. In 2012 he did the same with the release of another album called The 27 Club. Jack performed the songs of legendary artists such as Brian Jones, Alan Wilson, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Amy Winehouse who all died at 27.

Jack got his inspiration to do this album because of a radio show he presents called High Fidelity alongside Julie Feeney on RTÉ Radio 1. “I knew it was a precarious thing to do as it can be seen as disrespectful, but it’s a celebration of their music and their lives, rather than a celebration of their deaths.” Jack covered Love is a Losing Game by Amy Winehouse but was reluctant to do so because she only died in 2011. “It’s a perfectly, crafted, classic tune and is up there with the Sinatra classics so that’s what pushed me to do it.”
Jack L’s reputation is growing throughout Britain, Europe and the US.

He recently finished touring with renowned musician Jools Holland and released an EP called The Great Wall of China. If you want to see Jack L live, he will be performing Songs for Lovers in Vicar Street on Valentine’s night which is “also suitable for single people,” he laughs.

For more information see his website: www.jacklukeman.com

Photo by Marc O’Sullivan.

By Donna Dunne