JD Kelleher was born in Cork City and grew up in Millstreet Co. Cork, the nephew and godson of 1950’s GAA star, Denis “Toots” Kelleher. He moved to Cork City in the mid 80s to study English and after a period of work and training with Emelie Fitzgibbon and Graffiti, Eileen Nolan and Montforts became the stage and tv actor that we recognise today from programmes such as Ros na Run, Wrecking the Rising and 1916: The Forgotten Seven in which he played Willie Pearse. JD has graced the stages of Druid, the Abbey and The Opera House before he moved to London in the early 90s to perform in Same Old Moon by Geraldine Aaron on the West End Stage, followed by a six month stint at the Royal National Theatre. Theatre work in the UK continued in Bristol, Manchester, Brighton, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Liverpool, to mention but a few, with TV appearances in acclaimed shows such as Little Britain, and Murphy’s Law. Now he is a constant feature with his band on the London scene where he plays regularly at The Dublin Castle in Camden. He will be there again on July 29 to coincide with the release of his EP, The Ugly Tree.
As a gay man, JD decided to step forward as a singer shortly before the 2015 referendum on Marriage Equality. “I needed more than anything to stand up and be counted as a gay artist” he said, “..and to be a part of Irish lgbtq history, although I have lived in London for many years. It was illegal to be gay in fact, in Ireland, when I emigrated. The marriage equality result was great but we still have a long way to go to bring true equality to all of our citizens. Irish women are up next. Repeal the 8th amendment please. Irish women are strong enough and smart enough to make their own decisions about their own bodies. The state has no jurisdiction and neither does the church. I’m a feminist and this is the only feminist option if we want to proceed as a feminist state. Utopian talk…I know.”
JD released Love Will Tear Us Apart in May 2015 and it quickly rose to the top of the Irish rock chart becoming the best selling song of the referendum, despite the fact that it got no national radio airplay at the time. He followed this up with Imagery which reached number 2 in the same chart.
Blitzkrieg Bop was released to co-incide with the 2016 celebrations in Ireland but also to celebrate 40 years since the Ramones first release the tune. The interpretation is entirely Irish…”a rowdy pub song, Irish stylee!” according to JD.
JD’s EP, The Ugly Tree will be released on all platforms on July 28.