SXSW Music Festival

South X Lullaby: Declan McKenna

At 1 a.m. on the final night of SXSW 2016, 17-year-old Declan McKenna was about to perform for one last time in Austin. Only hours later, the plane that would carry him on his first trip to New York City was schedule to take off. It's been a whirlwind year for Declan, one that began with a song he uploaded to his Bandcamp and Soundcloud page. Shortly after, he won the Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition and was quickly signed to Columbia Records, one of dozens of labels with interest in his talents.

So as SXSW drew to an end, we met him at Waller Creek, tucked just diagonal to one of the many clubs that hosted the over 2,000 acts that played the festival this year. The NPR Music crew waited as a police helicopter flew overhead and then Declan began to sing his South X Lullaby, a quieter version of "Brazil," the very song that won the Glastonbury contest, and one of many tunes we'll be hearing from this talented artist in the coming years.


Producers: Bob Boilen, Mito Habe-Evans; Videographers: Mito Habe-Evans, Nickolai Hammar, Cameron Robert; Editor: Nickolai Hammar; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Executive Producer: Anya Grundmann.

Support for NPR Music comes from Blue Microphone.

[+] read more[-] less

More From SXSW Music Festival

Charles Bradley showed us why he's called the "Screaming Eagle of Soul." Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Adam Kissick for NPR

Front Row

Charles Bradley, Live In Concert: SXSW 2016

Several music fans at SXSW walked away from our showcase claiming this was the concert of the night. Watch to find out why.

Back To Top