Damien Rice - "b. 7 December 1973, Celbridge, County Kildare, Eire. This talented artist and singer-songwriter produced one of 2002's most unexpected commercial successes, the enchanting O. Growing up in rural Celbridge in County Kildare, Rice found his early calling in painting and music. He set out to break into the pop charts with the indie rock outfit Juniper, that were signed to PolyGram Records in 1997. The band enjoyed moderate success with a couple of single releases, but a projected album foundered because of record company politics. Rice left the band in 1999 to tour Europe and refocus. He returned to Ireland and recorded a basic demo in the hope of attracting some backing to launch a solo career. Soundtrack composer and second cousin David Arnold proved to be Rice's saviour, funding the artist to produce his debut album, which was recorded with the help of Lisa Hannigan (vocals) and Vyvienne Long (cello). The magical, melodic first single, "The Blower's Daughter", broke into the Irish Top 20, providing the ideal promotion for the release of O in summer 2002. The album, which was issued in a hardback cover featuring Rice's artwork and photos, became a sleeper hit throughout Europe and was awarded the Shortlist Prize in America. The basic folk melodies and lush orchestral backings struck a chord with an audience that had pushed the similarly styled David Gray to stardom." Encyclopedia of Popular Music.