Whisked away midway through his teens as a star for the future, Declan McKenna spent most of 2015 learning the ropes. Last year’s Glastonbury Emerging Talent competition winner came to prominence with ‘Brazil’, a song that’s partly based around football corruption and happened to land at the time of FIFA arrests. Everything was in his favour, but the past twelve months have been a case of putting in the hard work.
Early gigs saw Declan playing on his own, fumbling about with loop pedals and being about as awkward as you’d expect a suddenly-hyped 16-year-old to be. Now he’s joined by an equally fresh-faced full band, who he confidently introduces between songs at Latitude.
His knack for tackling tough topics is the big draw. ‘Bethlehem’ mixes religion with a tarnished relationship. ‘Paracetamol’ is a gruesome portrait of youth. His songwriting has been ballsy from the beginning, only now he’s beginning to replicate this kind of gutso on stage. There’s still a lot of work to do - he’s nowhere near the finished article. But he’s come on leaps and bounds in the last year. He finishes Sunday’s Lake Stage set by jumping towards the crowd, giving high fives, fully giving the impression that confidence is finally by his side.
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