David Lyttle

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David Lyttle
Born (1984-06-21) 21 June 1984 (age 34)
Waringstown, Northern Ireland
Genres Jazz, soul, hip hop, folk
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter, producer, label owner
Instruments Drums, bass, keyboards
Labels Lyte
Associated acts Joe Lovano, Talib Kweli, Soweto Kinch, Duke Special, Andreas Varady, Jason Rebello, Jean Toussaint, Louis Stewart
Website www.davidlyttle.com

David Lyttle (born 21 June 1984) is a musician, songwriter, producer, composer, and record label owner from Northern Ireland. He has released three solo albums and received nominations in the MOBO Awards and Urban Music Awards.


Born in Waringstown, he began his professional career under the direction of his parents as a child performer with the Lyttle Family. In his teens he was active as a drummer, DJ and also studied classical cello. Since the age of eighteen, Lyttle has been active mostly as a drummer, songwriter and producer. He earned a PhD in musicology from the University of Ulster in 2009.[1]


2007–2011: Career beginnings[edit]

Lyttle began performing professionally at age four, playing percussion with the Lyttle Family in Ireland and, when he was a teenager, the United States. In 2007, following studies at the University of Ulster, Skidmore Jazz Institute, New York, and the Banff Centre, Canada, he reached a national audience as an Irish jazz performer with Louis Stewart. He released his debut solo album True Story later in 2007 and began featuring prominent international jazz artists in his touring groups, including Greg Osby,[2] Jean Toussaint, Terell Stafford, Tim Warfield, Tommy Smith, and Soweto Kinch, whose band he occasionally appears in.

2012–present: Interlude and Faces[edit]

Lyttle's second studio album Interlude was released on 2 January 2012 and fused hip hop, soul and jazz. Its guests included Mercury-nominated rapper Soweto Kinch, his sister Rhea Lyttle and mother Anne Lyttle, bassist Pino Palladino and pianist Jason Rebello. It received its first radio airing on BBC Introducing on BBC Radio 1,[3] and received positive reviews in Ireland and Britain. MOBO described it as "an exceptional album"[4] and Hot Press said it was "a rare sort of treat to come out of Ireland".[5]

On 26 June 2013 Lyttle released the single "Celebrate" with Belfast arts organisation Beat Carnival and Irish recording artist Duke Special. It was playlisted by the majority of Ireland's commercial radio stations.[6]

Lyttle's third studio album Faces was released on 16 March 2015 and featured collaborations with Talib Kweli, Duke Special, Joe Lovano and several of his guests from Interlude.[7][8] It was well received by critics with Dave DiMartino of Rolling Stone calling it "one of the best, robust listening experiences you’re likely to have all year"[9] and Colm O'Hare of Hot Press describing it as "one of the most inventive Irish releases of the year."[10] Other media champions included Lauren Laverne on BBC 6 Music and Jazz FM.

Lyttle was nominated in the 2015 MOBO Awards for Best Jazz Act.[11] He is the first Irish musician to have been nominated for a MOBO.[12] He was also nominated for an Urban Music Award in October 2015.[13]

On 20 November 2015 Lyttle released Say & Do, a collaborative album with Northern Irish singer/songwriter VerseChorusVerse. It reached No. 1 in the Amazon UK blues chart.[14]

Artist residencies[edit]

In 2015 Lyttle was Derry's Musician In Residence following the city's legacy program following its designation as UK City of Culture.[15] From January to March 2016 he was Musician In Residence at the Metropolitan Arts Centre, Belfast, where he mentored up-and-coming jazz musicians from Northern Ireland.[16]

In April 2017 he carried out a 5000 mile, coast-to-coast residency in the U.S., performing for unusual audiences in an attempt to understand more about the public's connection with jazz. The tour included performances at the Bagdad Café on Route 66 in the Mojave Desert, the Little A'Le'Inn' in Rachel, Nevada near Area 51 and at the site of jazz drummer Art Blakey's childhood home in the Hill District, Pittsburgh.[17][18] [19] Lyttle received the Arts Council of Northern Ireland's Major Individual Award, worth £15,000, for the project and vlogged for the MOBO Awards YouTube channel.[20]

In September and October 2017, Lyttle was the British Council and PRS for Music's Musician In Residence in Suzhou, China. He collaborated with traditional Chinese musicians and released a weekly podcast called Tapes From China.[21]

Lyte Records[edit]

As owner and founder of Lyte Records, Lyttle has released albums by notable jazz, blues and roots artists, including Ari Hoenig, Jason Rebello, Nigel Mooney and Jean Toussaint. He has also produced debut albums for young talents such as Israeli classical pianist Ariel Lanyi[22] and Slovakian jazz guitarist Andreas Varady,[23] who is managed by American producer Quincy Jones[24] and was discovered by Lyttle in 2010.[25]

Solo Discography[edit]


  1. ^ "Jazz Stars Set for Coleraine performance". Retrieved 15 May 2012. 
  2. ^ "'Live Reviews: David Lyttle Group feat. Greg Osby', The Journal of Music". Retrieved 21 May 2012. 
  3. ^ "BBC Introducing, 12/9/12". Retrieved 15 May 2012. 
  4. ^ "David Lyttle Interlude". Retrieved 2 April 2014. 
  5. ^ "David Lyttle: Interlude". Retrieved 2 April 2014. 
  6. ^ "The Beat Carnival celebrates homegrown talent with new music track and video". Retrieved 2 April 2014. 
  7. ^ "David Lyttle, Faces, Lyte Records". Retrieved 23 Jan 2015. 
  8. ^ "David Lyttle, About". Retrieved 23 Jan 2015. 
  9. ^ DiMartino, Dave (2 April 2015). "David Lyttle Faces". Retrieved 3 April 2015. 
  10. ^ O'Hare, Colm (2 March 2015). "David Lyttle - Faces". Retrieved 3 April 2015. 
  11. ^ "David Lyttle". MOBO Awards. 5 October 2015. 
  12. ^ "David Lyttle Makes History". Culture Northern Ireland. 9 October 2015. 
  13. ^ "Nominations Are Announced". Urban Music Awards. Retrieved 2 Dec 2015. 
  14. ^ "VerseChorusVerse Collaborates". Retrieved 2 Dec 2015. 
  15. ^ "Jazz drummer Lyttle is new Derry fixture". Retrieved 4 Jan 2017. 
  16. ^ "Arts Show". Retrieved 4 Jan 2017. 
  17. ^ "David Lyttle is taking jazz back to America". Retrieved 4 Nov 2017. 
  18. ^ "The best jazz gigs to catch this week". Retrieved 4 Nov 2017. 
  19. ^ "One drummer hoipes you haven't forgotten". Retrieved 4 Nov 2017. 
  20. ^ "Arts Council honours four major artists". Retrieved 4 Jan 2017. 
  21. ^ "Emmy the Great joins music exchange programme in China". Retrieved 4 Jan 2017. 
  22. ^ "Jews Schmooze 2011 'Sounds Familiar' Programme". Retrieved 15 May 2012. 
  23. ^ Lindsay, Bruce. ""Andreas Varady / David Lyttle: Questions (2010)", All About Jazz". Retrieved 15 May 2012. 
  24. ^ "Quincy Jones Artists". Retrieved 29 January 2013. 
  25. ^ ""Following the Footsteps of Giants", Guitar Player". Retrieved 21 May 2012. 

External links[edit]