(born 7 December 1973) is an Irish singer-songwriter, musician and record producer who plays guitar, piano, clarinet and percussion.Rice was raised in Celbridge, County Kildare, Ireland, and began his musical career as a member of the 1990s rock group Juniper. After leaving the band he worked as a farmer in Tuscany and busked throughout Europe before returning to Ireland in 2001 and beginning a solo musical career.In 2002 his debut album O
reached No. 8 on the UK albums chart, won the Shortlist music prize and generated three top-30 singles in the UK. Rice released his second album 9
in 2006 and his songs have appeared in numerous films and television episodes.Rice's personal activities include musical contributions to charitable projects such as the Songs for Tibet, Freedom Campaign and the Enough Project.
Early life and Juniper
Rice was born to George and Maureen Rice, and raised in Celbridge, County Kildare, Ireland.Rice began his music career using the stage name Dodi Ma and formed the rock band Juniper along with Paul Noonan, Dominic Philips, David Geraghty and Brian Crosby in 1991. The band met whilst they were attending Salesian College secondary school in Celbridge, Co. Kildare as students. After touring throughout Ireland the band released their debut EP Manna
in 1995.Based in Straffan, Kildare the band continued touring and signed a six album record deal with Polygram. Their recording projects generated the singles "Weatherman" and "Single of the Fortnight" which received favourable reviews.After achieving his musical goals with Juniper, Rice became frustrated with the artistic compromises required by the record label, and he left the band in 1998. Rice moved to Tuscany in Italy and took up farming for some time, then returned to Ireland before busking around Europe. After returning to Ireland a second time, Rice gave a demo recording to his second cousin, music producer David Arnold who then gave Rice a mobile studio.
In 2001, Rice's song "The Blower's Daughter" made a top 40 chart. Over the next year he continued to record his album with guitarist Mark Kelly, New York drummer Tom Osander aka Tomo, Paris pianist Jean Meunier, London producer David Arnold, County Meath vocalist Lisa Hannigan and cellist Vyvienne Long. Rice then embarked on a tour of Ireland with Hannigan, Tomo, Vyvienne, Mark, and Dublin bassist Shane Fitzsimons.In 2002, Rice’s debut album O
was released in Ireland, the UK and the United States. The album peaked at No. 8 on the UK albums chart and remained on the chart for 97 weeks, selling 650,000 copies in the US. The album won the Shortlist music prize and the songs "Cannonball" and "Volcano" became top 30 hits in the UK.In 2006 Rice released his second album 9
which was recorded during the two years prior. That year he also recorded at Abbey Road Studios for the program Live from Abbey Road
.2007 was a year of heavy touring with Rice appearing at England's Glastonbury Festival and the Rock Werchter festival in Belgium. That same year he performed with David Gray at the UK leg at Wembley Stadium, London and played at the T in the Park music event in Scotland. Rice also performed at the Latitude Festival in Suffolk, the V Festival in Stafford, Staffordshire, Hylands Park in Chelmsford, Essex and the Osheaga Festival in Montreal. He made additional appearances in Ireland and North America.In 2010, Damien played at the Iceland Inspires concert held in Hljómskálagarðurinn near Reykjavík centrum.Rice recorded a cover of the Juniper track, "Crosseyed Bear" for the compilation, Help: A Day in the Life
. Rice's albums are published under his record label Heffa (originally named DRM) in Ireland and Vector Records in North American. Records released in the UK, Europe and other countries are published by 14th Floor Records via Warner Music.In spring 2011, Rice featured on the debut album by French actress and singer Melanie Laurent. He appears on two tracks on her debut album En t'attendant
while collaborating on a total of five tracks which feature on the album.In November 2011, the compilation album AHK-toong BAY-bi Covered
was released to celebrate the 20-year anniversary of U2's Achtung Baby
album. AHK-toong BAY-bi Covered
features Damien Rice in a cover of "One," a stripped-down, piano-driven interpretation of one of the most popular U2 songs.In December 2011, his song "Cannonball" was used as the winner's single on The X Factor (UK series 8). Little Mix, the winners released the song.In May 2013, Rice told the audience at the South Korea Seoul Jazz Festival 2013 that he is working on a new album.On 22 June 2013, Rice played at the Best Kept Secret Festival in Holland and played a new song entitled "The Box".
In December 2009, in a Hot Press Interview, Rice had stated to have been in an on-again, off-again relationship with muse and bandmate Lisa Hannigan during her period in his band up until her departure to pursue a solo career.Rice participated in the Freedom Campaign, the Burma Campaign UK and the U.S. Campaign for Burma to free Burmese democracy movement leader Aung San Suu Kyi. He campaigned for her release by writing and performing the song "Unplayed Piano" at the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo.In 2008 he contributed the song "Making Noise" for the album Songs for Tibet: The Art of Peace
in support of the 14th Dalai Lama and Tibet.In 2010, he contributed the song "Lonely Soldier" to the Enough Project which supported women's rights in the Congo.Rice dueted with Maria Doyle Kennedy on her album Sing'
s title-track, released 20 August 2012.