Origin: Dublin, Ireland
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Glen Hansard (born 21 April 1970) is an Irish songwriter, actor, vocalist and guitarist for Irish group The Frames, and one half of folk rock duo, The Swell Season, as well as being a solo artist. He is known for his acting, having appeared in the BAFTA-winning film The Commitments, as well as starring in the film Once, which earned him a number of major awards and nominations, including winning a 2007 Oscar for Best Original song (“Falling Slowly”).
With a host of real-life songs, soul-baring, emotional delivery and lilting vocals that reflect a passion for his influences–he calls Van Morrison, Leonard Cohen, and Bob Dylan the “holy trinity,” Hansard was born to a working-class Dublin family and left school at age 13 in search of making music his career. He began busking in the streets of Dublin and, ironically, mimicking the plot line of Once, the movie that would later make him a star in multiple countries.
By his late teens, Hansard had recorded his first demo with the help of some money from his Mom. He made 50 copies and one landed in the hands of Island Records’ Denny Cordell, a former producer and A&R man (Tom Petty, Joe Cocker). At Cordell’s flat, the 17-year-old Hansard also met Ron Wood, Marianne Faithfull, and Stewart Copeland. The meeting left a lasting impression on Hansard, and in the end, Cordell signed him with the approval of Island founder Chris Blackwell.
In 2006, he released his first album without The Frames. The Swell Season (Overcoat Recordings) was a collaboration with Czech singer and multi-instrumentalist Markéta Irglová, Marja Tuhkanen from Finland on violin and viola, and Bertrand Galen from France on cello. He was also in front of the cameras for the music-infused Irish film, “Once,” in which Hansard plays a Dublin busker, and Irglová an immigrant street vendor who meet, and begin to make music together.The film had its American premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in 2007 and received the Festival’s World Cinema Audience Award.
He voiced a role on an episode (“In the Name of the Grandfather”) on The Simpsons as an Irish busker. A new album of original songs recorded as The Swell Season with Markéta Irglová and entitled Strict Joy was released in 2009 on the ANTI record label. Hansard sang the song “Take the Heartland” on the soundtrack for the 2012 film, The Hunger Games.
Hansard’s emotional high-wire act is once again the centerpiece of his third full-length solo effort, 2015’s Didn’t He Ramble, and the album’s polished yet rustic modern-folkie sensibility is the backdrop for Hansard’s compositions, ten songs that find rays of hope in bad situations. Hansard is touring worldwide in support.