“Legend” is not a title John McDermott would readily embrace, but his accomplishments have become legendary in recording industry lore. He calls Toronto and Boston home, but he has also found a home as an international recording star and household name known as much for his successful musical career as for his commitment to veterans’ causes. He is a long way from the man for whom singing was a hobby less than ten years ago. John was discovered quite by chance, when working as a circulation sales representative for the Toronto Sun, he belted out an impromptu rendition of “Danny Boy” at a company party.
John’s first album, Danny Boy, was originally recorded as a very private and personal 50th anniversary tribute for his parents. Its quality could not be ignored and it eventually found its way into the hands of EMI Music Canada. Danny Boy subsequently garnered strong sales for a debut release in the U.S. and Canada; it even reached number one on New Zealand’s album charts, and was certified double platinum in that country. This success, in addition to a fast growing North American fan base, won through a tireless touring schedule, led to his participation in the PBS phenomenon, The Irish Tenors. John’s presence helped generate a US gold record, three US tours, and a high-profile media schedule, which included appearances on ‘Good Morning America’ and ‘The Today Show.’ In November 2001, John taped “John McDermott – A Time to Remember” at the Living Arts Centre outside Toronto. This, his first solo television special, began airing in March 2002 on PBS affiliates across North America.
The outcome of that fateful performance has catapulted him into a musical career that includes three Canadian platinum records, five Juno nominations , a solid international touring schedule, and many more albums including Songs of the Isles – Ireland and Songs of the Isles – Scotland, Images of Christmas with John McDermott and Friends, Great Is Thy Faithfulness, Stories of Love, Just Plain Folk and On A Whim.
His success has allowed him to express his commitment to veteran’s causes, which have always been integral to John and an important theme in his music. He is a recipient of one the United State’s highest honours – the Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s “Bob Hope Award”.
Recently in 2010 John received a commendation from the Minister of Veteran’s Affairs for his work with veterans including his foundation McDermott House Canada, which is committed to creating an improved quality of care in the final stages of a terminal illness, coupled with a warm, welcoming place to stay in Canada for veterans, military, first responders and their families.
It is with this ‘spirit’ he recorded his current CD entitled Journeys, which tells the story of our Canadian heroes. This extremely moving album has songs such as “The Dreamer” and “The Gift of Years” written by renowned songwriter Eric Bogle and the emotional ‘Bringing Buddy Home” which has been played on radio in the US and Canada in tribute to the fallen. The track “The Dreamer” is dedicated to longtime friend Sen. Edward Kennedy at whose memorial service John was honoured to perform at the request of the family in 2009. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of Journeys are donated to support McDermott House Canada.
John McDermott is an artist whose sense of respect for tradition and understanding of the sentiment behind the music resonates worldwide.