Derek Dempsey

About Derek A brief Biography

Derek Dempsey, like Rockstar Phil Lynott, novelists Brendan Behan and Christy Brown and Hollywood actor, Gabriel Byrne, was born and raised in Crumlin, Dublin Ireland. Derek is a singer, songwriter, musician, producer, entertainer, talkshow host, and soon to be published novelist. His debut novel "Anthony's Aria" - The Story of A Working Class Opera God is forthcoming from Boann books and media NYC.

You can see Derek performing in New York City in The Financial District, The Upper East Side, Queens, Log Island, and Time Square.

With countless performances in Las Vegas and Washington DC. and 21 years consisting of over 250 performances a year. Derek also composes and records original songs.

The albums, Finally, and What’s the Color Of Poverty? are both available on iTunes and other downloadable sites and in hard copy CD on

Raised in Crumlin, Dublin, as an eight year old, Derek was asked by his uncle at a young age what he wanted to be when he grew up. Derek responded; "I'm going to be a singer." His uncle insisted that he needed a trade job. Derek again responded; "I don't need a trade. I’m going to be a singer, like Tom Jones in Las Vegas."

After receiving his first guitar at the age of fourteen, Derek began to play with other musicians, eventually forming a rock band called The Elite. With this band, he appeared on Irish national television several times, toured around the country, and released two EPs.

Soon after opening for popular Irish rock group Thin Lizzy's drummer, Brian Downey pronounced Derek, "The best R n B singer in Ireland at the time". The Elite started to perform Thin Lizzy's Legendary 'Live and Dangerous' album, whilst in Spain, Joe Elliot of Def Leppard took a interest in their sound. Derek and Joe briefly became friends and still keep in contact.

The Elite brought their well honed act back to Dublin to great acclaim. For two years The Elite performed Live and Dangerous at the renowned bar, Slattery's of Capel Street where they broke records previously set by Thin Lizzy, Horselips, Christy Moore, and U2.

In 1995 Derek Warfield of the Irish ballad band, The Wolfetones took The Elite under his wing and brought them to America. With a new name and sound, mixing rock instruments and traditional Irish songs. Hedgeschool was born.

Their debut album was released on the Celtic Collections alongside highly respected Irish acts, The Wolftones, The Pogues, Clannad, The Chieftains, The Dubliners, and The Furey's.

After touring with Hedgeschool up and down America's east coast, Derek left the band to pursue a solo career and returned to Ireland.

Back in Dublin, he recorded and released his first solo EP Music For Chameleons under the name jesus fever at Cathedral Studio with Robbie Dunne.

Although acclaimed by many as a great recording, Jim Lockhart of Horselips called it "A recording with really great pop-songs that should make Derek a name here in Ireland."

Larry Gogan played it on his RTE radio show several times and pronounced the lead track, Show Me "Wow, what a song there, what a sound."

Sadly - Music for Chameleons was a commercial failure but became the catalyst that pushed Derek to pack his bags and move to America.

Derek committed one last act of art before leaving Ireland to realize his dreams. That act was his debut acting performance in the Arthur Deeney play The Mot and The Magician, which ran for seven straight days in The Ha'penny Bridge Bar in Dublin.

Derek peformed three separate roles in the play. One part was a homeless man who entered from the back of the room just as the curtain rose. An audience member, who was a friend of Derek's, stood up, and asked him to leave, as he would ruin the entrance for the players.

He left his parents home at 5.00 am on a typical dark wet Irish morning with $200 in his pocket given to him by his Father.

With holes in all his clothing and his shoes, a burning ambition, and a well packed 'life suitcase' full of experience and hard earned lessons, Derek arrived in America on October of 1999 just in time for the coldest winter he ever lived through.

Once settling in New York, Derek formed the Cray and Dempsey Experience in 2000 with a former Hedgeschool member, uniquely blending comedy and numerous genres of music.



Within a year, the duo were mainstays on the Irish American scene. They played bars and festivals as well appearing on radio and television.

Derek also used his music to organize and participate in many charitable causes. He organized a fundraiser to raise money for the family of the local 9/11 fallen firefighter Paul Tegtmeier.

Soon after this, Derek arranged another benefit, raising thousands of dollars to defray the legal cost for Malachy McAllister's battle, successfully preventing his deportation back to Ireland.

In 2005 when the I.L.I.R. assembled to secure green cards for undocumented Irish workers, the duo traveled with their fans to Washington, DC to perform at the rally which was also attended by Ted Kennedy, John McCain, and many other notable members of Congress. They composed the theme song for the ILIR called "We're Irish and We're Rockin."

While enjoying success with the duo including regular residencies at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas, Derek's wanderlust for his original music drove him to to focus more on his solo career.

From 2008 to 2010, Derek composed and recorded his first full length album Finally.

While Finally is a work of great passion, his follow up album What's the Color of Poverty? is lyrically a more socially conscious effort.

What's The Color Of Poverty? broaches modern day issues like the global economic collapse and domino effect still reverberating across the globe.

The housing crisis, homophobia, continued racism, misogyny, and poverty are all examined in Derek's lyrics. Three of the songs from What's The Color OF Poverty? were composed with Derek's long time co-producer, engineer and collaborator, Al Hemberger.

The song Breathing Like An Alien from the forthcoming album The People Always Pay, was released on Youtube on October 30th 2017 at midnight to Derek's world wide base of fans and supporters. The video for Breathing Like An Alien was shot exclusively in Dublin, Ireland.

The song and video for Breathing Like An Alien are a true transatlantic production.

The guitar solos and backing vocals were recorded in Ireland by Derek's old friend's and musical partners, Mick McDonald and Robbie Bray.

The rest of the track was recorded in New York with Al Hemberger, Eric Starr and Nicole Lynch as the main musicians and collaborators.

After music, art, and family, Derek's greatest passion is for human rights. He is an open and unashamed supporter of complete human equality. Derek regularly blogs about current events concerning human rights violations on his social media website and other social media platforms while speaking out publicly on these subjects no matter what the setting.

Last September Derek performed two songs outside the United Nations in protest of the treatment of women in Iran under the dictatorship curently in power there. The performance was included in a documentary seen by ten million people in the Middle East, and the United States.

Derek's spoken monologue, Love Letter to the World, written by Derek, and narrated by Wesley Mann, from the album What's the Color of Poverty addresses most of these issues in an unabashed and unapologetic manner:

Derek is working on his second novel, Perfidious Albert (The Story of A Saxon Psychopath). He continues the twenty one year tradition of 250 performances a year on stage as well as producing and co-producing singles, albums, and videos.

In July of 2020 Derek and Celtic Soul guitarist Jessica Klee began the internet video l-podcast interview show "What is America to You?"

As the shows host, Derek interviews music legends such as Don Maclean, Ron Sexsmith, Derek Warfield, Phil Coulter, Johnny Logan, Larry Kirwan of Black 47, Founding member of Thin Lizzy, drummer Brian Downey, David Bowie sideman Gerry Leonard, Billy Vera, and Mari Wilson. Derek also interview the Popaganda artist Ron English. In a special and personal moment for Derek, he interviewed musician Spencer Chaplin (the grandson of Charlie Chaplin). Charlie Chaplin is an artist Derek holds in the highest regard along side Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughan, and David Bowie. Season two will be announced later this year

Link to season one.


Derek is performing a showcase of his original songs at the cell theatre in Chelsea NYC on November 17th. Tickets are on sale at

You can see him perform regularly at residencies on Thursdays at Iggy’s on The Upper East Side, and Broadstone Bar and Kitchen in the Financial District on Saturdays and Sundays.

Derek currently resides in the New York hamlet of Stormville with his wife Lisa and their three dog’s Layla, Harper, and Lilly.

"If you would treat the tramp in the street as you would treat the king in the castle, you would have few problems in the understanding of people and life"