LA based singer/songwriter Alec Benjamin has been creating a massive buzz in the UK (and around the world) following his first single and also best known by ‘Let Me Down Slowly’, his streaming hits have also soared up to 650,000 million on his mixtape ‘Narrated For You’. I had the pleasure to interview the brilliant musician last week talking about his newest single ‘Jesus In LA’, we get talking about music making, touring and I also get to know Alec behind his music.
Alec’s tells me he got into music at a later date in high school “I was just looking for a hobby because I didn’t have much going on at the time.” He tells me YouTube was a popular platform at the time and that everyone was playing covers and that wasn’t what he was all about- he wanted to do his own stuff and be original, “I didn’t want to play other people’s music, so I took YouTube tutorials and learned how to play guitar. I tried to find the hardest song I could play on the guitar and learn how to play it online because then it would be easier to play a lot of other songs.”
While growing up Alec tells me his influence for the love of music came from Jason Mraz, John Mayer and Paul Simon. “I also liked punk and metal bands because my sister would go to Warped Tour and I always wanted to go. Finally, Eminem is obviously one of the best story-telling artists and I always looked up to his lyricism.”
On whether Alec likes performing live or recording in the studio he tells me that he likes them both in their own way. “I love writing songs but I also love the adrenaline of being on-stage. When I do a lot of one, I typically miss the other but truly love both.”
Songwriting inspirations happen anywhere for this 25 year old, “I typically pull from life experiences and then sit down and try to write about it. It could be something I’m feeling one day, something that happens to me, or something I see happen.” He loves the idea of storytelling and that’s what he tries to do with every song he writes.
With music, Alec is pretty open and listens to all types of music. “I think at the end of the day, I really enjoy listening to music that inspires me but also songs I just enjoy.” He’s currently listening to all your favourites in the charts- artists like Ali Gatie, Billie Eilish, and Julia Michaels.
What makes Alec strives for greatness is his peers and friends, he tells me once he sets his mind to do something, he gets on to it. “I become obsessed and I put all my energy into it. Recently I’ve been hooked on becoming the best guitar player I can be and literally play it as much as I can every day.” He then tells me that all this time he’s been in the music industry he’s learned that friends and family are everything. “Trust yourself and the ones closest to you.”
Alec goes a bit into detail and tells me the story behind ‘Jesus In LA’. He tells me it is about moving to California and leaving his friends and family behind to pursue his dreams in music. “When I first got to LA I thought that I was going to make it, become a big artist, and find happiness. Then I signed my first record deal and got dropped a year later. I had spent all my money, dropped out of college, and had to move back in with my parents. I then discovered where that happiness really was: with my true friends and family.” He tells me the song isn’t about faith at all but it’s about searching for hope and happiness and realising those things aren’t always where you think you’ll find them.
Alec will be going on a World Tour in August, playing festivals Osheaga and Lollapalooza, and will be doing one of his biggest shows ever in New York and LA this fall, before heading out to Europe. He has two shows in London in November at Shepherd’s Bush Empire and Electric Ballroom. He said he’s definitely going to be writing a lot of songs this summer too and putting out a bunch of new music. “ I can’t wait to see everyone and for everyone to hear what I’m working on.”
Catch Alec below on his socials:
WORDS BY ROJAN SAID