Hopkins was born in Dublin and was brought up in Clane, County Kildare in a musical family (his father, Des being a jazz drummer). He was surrounded by music from an early age and began playing the drums at approximately four or five years old. In 1993, he left school to join My Little Funhouse, a band from County Kilkenny. The band had already released their debut album Standunder on Geffen Records, when Graham joined. The band toured for about a year in support of the album, mainly in the United States. Tours included support to Guns N' Roses and The Ramones amongst others. The band then lived in Los Angeles and recorded a second album for Geffen before imploding.
Hopkins moved on, joining the popular Northern Irish band Therapy? in 1996, recording three studio albums – Semi-Detached, Suicide Pact – You First, Shameless – and also recorded new songs with the band for So Much for the Ten Year Plan: A Retrospective 1990-2000. His first public appearance with Therapy? was at the IRMA Awards, Dublin on 29 March 1996. Hopkins played his first full gig with Therapy? at a fan-club members only show at The Attic, Dublin on 10 April 1996. His last show was at the Ambassador Theatre, Dublin on 8 December 2001.
Feeling uninspired by the musical direction of Therapy?, Graham left the band in December 2001 and was immediately asked to tour with Irish singer/songwriter Gemma Hayes. He toured with Gemma Hayes for over a year – supporting her Mercury Music Prize-nominated album Night on My Side.
Hopkins then went on to record two albums with his own band Halite. Halite began as a solo project for Graham, who debuted with the critically acclaimed first album "Head On" with Warner Bros. Records in 2003. Head On was an off-kilter melodic pop/rock album. He played most instruments on the record but needed musicians to help out for playing live. He asked his friends Binzer Brennan, Keith Farrell and Derren Dempsey if they would tour with him. Halite then grew into a fully formed band. They soon went on to record and independently release their second album "Courses" in 2004. Courses had more of a harder and frantic edge than the first album. Halite played numerous shows over the following two years, including opening the Slane Concert in 2003 for Red Hot Chili Peppers and Foo Fighters. The band were also invited to play shows with bands such as My Morning Jacket, Mudhoney, Gomez, Sebadoh. Then in early 2005, due to commitments with others projects from each member, the band was put on hold.
Hopkins was a member of Dublin band Boss Volenti for three years. He drummed on their self-titled debut album released in 2006 but left the band immediately after their appearance at Electric Picnic 2008.
Hopkins appeared as part of the band on the 2006 Oxfam charity album, The Cake Sale.
Hopkins spent the early part of 2007 stepping in as drummer for Snow Patrol on their European, Australian, New Zealand and American tours.
He drummed on Dolores O'Riordan's debut solo album, Are You Listening? in 2007 before embarking on a worldwide tour with her.
Hopkins also played on the soundtrack to the Irish Oscar-winning musical film Once which was written and directed by John Carney. He drummed on a few of the songs with Glen Hansard of The Frames and Markéta Irglová. He toured with The Swell Season, which features Glen Hansard, Markéta Irglová and members of The Frames. The Swell Season released their third album, Strict Joy, in September 2009. Hopkins is currently touring with Glen Hansard, who is promoting his first solo album.
Graham has always been kept busy drumming on numerous albums, both Irish and internationally. He has played drums on albums, and live, with The Frames, The Swell Season, David Kitt, Mundy, The Reindeer Section, Alphastates, Autamata, Ann Scott, Josh Ritter, Jape, Q (Colm Quearney), Ollie Cole, The Pale, Pugwash, Miriam Ingram, Paula Toledo, Ferghal McKee (Whipping Boy) amongst many others.
Hopkins plays Zildjian cymbals, Aquarian drumheads, uses Vic Firth sticks and Drum Workshop drums, drum hardware and pedals.Therapy? – Semi-Detached (1998)
Therapy? – Suicide Pact-You First (1999)
Therapy? – So Much For the Ten Year Plan (2000)
Therapy? – Shameless (2001)
Therapy? – Music Through A Cheap Transistor (2007)
The Frames – Dance the Devil (1999)
The Frames – Burn the Maps (2004)
The Frames – The Cost (2006)
David Kitt – Square 1 (2003)
David Kitt – Not Fade Away (2006)
Pugwash – Jollity (2005)
Pugwash – Giddy (2009)
Dolores O'Riordan – Are You Listening? (2007)
Jape – The Monkeys in the Zoo Have More Fun Than Me (2005)
Miriam Ingram – Trampoline (2006)
Boss Volenti – Boss Volenti (2006)
Ann Scott – We're Smiling (2006)
The Cake Sale – The Cake Sale (2006)
Once – Once soundtrack (2007)
The Swell Season – Strict Joy (2009)
Oliver Cole – We Albatri (2010)
Q (Colm Quearney) – Root to the Fruit (2010)