Though he spent most of his formative years in the grim surroundings of 1980's Belfast, singer/songwriter Foy Vance's musical vision is the product of an entirely different sort of nervous tension - the cross-racial friction, harmony, and disharmony that gave rise to jazz, blues,and soul in the American South, where Vance, the son of a traveling church minister, spent the pivotal first five years of his life. Drawn particularly to the spiritual aspect of those music forms, Vance took his cues from the likes of Otis Redding and Nina Simone, adjusting his own guttural singing style accordingly, and his distinctive Northern Irish lilt finds an obvious point of comparison in similarly styled compatriot Van Morrison. Musically, Vance draws as much from the British folk tradition as he does American music; this influence manifests itself in the rhythmic, invariably alternately tuned,acoustic guitar style that is almost as prominent a melodic voice on much of his work as piano or vocals.
Vance was born in Bangor, Northern Ireland, in 1974, but his preacher father packed the family up and moved to Oklahoma, deepin the U.S. Bible Belt, shortly after the birth of the family's youngest son. Traveling around the poor churches of the South, Vance developed a keen interest in music from a very early age; he observed soul, gospel, and blues up close, and this interest was facilitated by his musical father, who taught his son to play some basic acoustic guitar patterns. By age five, the family had returned to Northern Ireland, settling in Belfast, but Vance retained his interest in American music, and expanded his scope to include folk, rock, and pop styles.
In 1998, shortly after marrying his fianc�e Joanne (a noted visual artist), Foy was offered a residency in a bar on the Canary Island of Lanzarote. Barely two months later, he had an on-stage epiphany while during one of his regular lyrical improv sessions, resulting inthe line: "Jesus is coming like a thief in the night." The following morning, he found out that his father had suffered a sudden, fatal heart attack the previous night. From that point on, the songs flowed a lot more freely;within eight months he had assembled enough material for four albums. It would be another five years before he issued his debut commercial recording, by which point he had become a celebrated live performer all over the UK. Released in August 2005, the six-track EP Live Sessions & the Birth of the Toilet Tour was recorded in various lavatory stalls across the UK and Ireland; Foy found the studio a sterile environment in which to record, preferring instead the unique acoustics of the cubicle. In 2006, two of his demo recordings were picked up for use in the hit US medical drama Grey's Anatomy: "Gabriel andthe Vagabond" and "Homebird," the latter forming the foundationfor his second EP release, also entitled Homebird, in June of that year.
In July of 2007 Vance issued his debut album,‘Hope’, in Northern Ireland via Wurdamouth Records. It was recorded in a cottage deep in the Mourne Mountains in his native County Down, and was co-mixed by producer Tchad Blake (Tom Waits, American Music Club).
For the past five years Foy has been touring the world, playing shows from **** to *** and working on new material with an array of songwriting allies.
This summer, Foy’s reputation as one of Ireland’s most exciting songwriters will be enhanced by the release of the ‘Melrose EP’ via Communion Records. A collaboration between Foy and acclaimed producer, David Holmes, the EP was written as the score for Terry George's Academy Award winning film, ‘The Shore’.
This is Foy's first body of new material in a handful of years, and will be followed in early 2013 by a new solo album.