Where Are They Now? From Battle of the Bands to Worldwide Sensation: Kodaline’s Rock Star Story

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Kodaline launched its trajectory as an up-and-coming Irish band, receiving well-placed comparisons to bands like Muse and Coldplay. Today, the Dublin-based quartet now sits alongside those once far-off acts, with indie rock bands today likely to earn comparisons to Kodaline. The band’s melancholic yet soaring, radio-ready rock clearly struck a chord with audiences around the world, as the band is one of the most internationally streamed acts, racking up over five-million monthly listeners. Yet, that wasn’t always the case. Kodaline is a band with beyond humble origins. A true rock and roll story. This is the tale of how Kodaline went from playing numerous battle of the bands competitions in their Irish hometown to becoming a worldwide sensation.

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Kodaline, in their earliest form, was launched in 2005 – although in its earliest days, Kodaline lacked the worldwide recognition, went by the name 21 Demands, and traveled around in a broken down tour bus. Originally consisting of childhood friends Steven Garrigan and Mark Prendergast, the duo played a number of battle of the bands in their hometown before being joined by Vinny May who also resided in their native Swords, Dublin. The band’s current lineup wouldn’t be completed until some odd seven years later, with Jason Boland joining the band in early 2012.

Yet, that’s not to say those seven years in between the formation of 21 Demands and Boland joining the band were without their own triumphs. 2006 saw 21 Demands finishing as the runner-up in the fifth talented show hosted by RTÉ, the national public service broadcaster and television company of Ireland. Shortly thereafter, the band would go on to make history. The following year saw the release of the single “Give Me a Minute,” which made chart history by becoming the first independently released track to top the Irish Singles Chart. 21 Demands would also make a rare videoed performance on Ireland’s Balcony TV.  

Cut to 2012, Boland has officially joined the band, and Kodaline is now the official namesake of this new, rising group of Irish talent. It didn’t take long for word to catch on either. The band’s self-titled debut EP was selected as a BBC Record of the week, in addition to earning them a spot in BBC’s the Sound of 2013 poll, an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, and as the background music for Google’s 2012: Year in Review video. Not too bad for a first outing.

Clearly not a band content to rest too long on any singular achievement, the band quickly followed this up with their full-length debut album, In a Perfect World. The full-length debut would predictably go on to receive similar major placement in a range of mediums as its predecessor – The Vampire Diaries, The Fault in Our Stars, Horns, just to name a few. More than anything, In a Perfect World demonstrated the first glimpses that Kodaline was indeed a global threat, having gone platinum twice in their native Ireland and going gold in the UK.

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It was also around this time that Kodaline caught the eyes of a few Los Angeles-based bloggers, as we witnessed what was to be a historic Kodaline set at The Masonic Lodge at The Hollywood Forever Cemetery. To say the catching Kodaline live made us fans would be just an ever-so-slight understatement. Shortly following the show, we would come back with a show announcement of our own: a Ones To Watch presented Kodaline headline tour in the Spring of 2015. With it also came the release of their seminal sophomore album, the stunning Comping Up For Air, which peaked at number 4 on the UK charts and contained two singles that reached the Top 40 in the UK singles chart.

The years following Kodaline’s Ones To Watch tour and widespread commercial and critical success of their sophomore album saw them become a household name and one of the most streamed acts on Spotify. However, the years following the release of 2015’s Coming Up for Air up until now have been relatively quiet for Kodaline and for good reason. The band has been busy in the studio working on their third album, Politics of Living, which is due out August 10. The band has teased the forthcoming album with two anthemic singles, the explosive “Follow Your Fire” and the chant-inducing “Shed a Tear.”

We’re personally preparing for the release of Politics of Living by putting In a Perfect World and Coming Up for Air on repeat and reminiscing about the time we found out Kodaline frontman Steve Garrigan could do a front flip. And as we count down to the days till August 10, we will always fondly remember the days before Kodaline was a worldwide sensation; the days when we were chatting up the band in their rehearsal space. 

But now, Kodaline has graduated from being a Ones To Watch act to having the world’s eyes focused on them, as they prepare to take yet another massive leap forward with what is bound to be a landmark third album coinciding with an international tour through December. 

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