Interview: Alec Benjamin Talks “Let Me Down Slowly” & New Music

The final 12 months have been significantly action-packed for Alec Benjamin. Round this time final 12 months, the 24-year-old rolled out “Let Me Down Slowly.” Buoyed by unbelievable streaming numbers (284 million and relying on Spotify alone) plus a duet model with Alessia Cara, the intestine wrenching ballad landed him a breakout hit and a primary look on the Billboard Scorching 100. It additionally kicked off an period that led to the November launch of his Narrated For You mixtape. Comprised of 12 songs, the gathering completely showcases the rising star’s musicality and narrative lyricism.

Not solely that, however he’s spent portion of the final 12 months touring. Alec, who used to carry out for anybody who would pay attention exterior venues, accomplished a sold-out North American tour earlier than heading to Europe. He’s at present wrapping up a second leg in North American earlier than enjoying some competition dates this summer season. The crowds are getting greater, and so they’re additionally getting louder as evidenced by efficiency footage from his most up-to-date units. And that’s not all. Earlier this week, he introduced his first-ever world tour, kicking off in August.

Alongside the way in which, he’s generated numerous buzz. And a great deal of that comes from fellow musicians. John Mayer hosted him on his Instagram present Present Temper. He additionally joined Alec onstage to carry out “Dying Of A Hero” and “Sluggish Dancing In A Burning Room” throughout a current present in Los Angeles. Billie Eilish lined the fan-favored “Water Fountain” on social media. Bryson Tiller gave him a shout-out, and that’s not all. These are all spectacular co-signs for the hitmaker who has but to drop a full-length studio album. Clearly, he’s One To Watch transferring ahead.

Again in November, I spoke to Alec the day earlier than Narrated For You arrived. Amongst different issues, we mentioned his anticipation for the discharge and his greatest skilled objective – to have the ability to assist himself by making music. However clearly loads has gone down within the following months. So final week we hopped again on the telephone to catch up. The crooner stuffed me in on his response to the slew of inventive co-signs and the breakaway success of “Let Me Down Slowly.” He additionally supplied a slight tease in regards to the imminent arrival of latest music and talked about staying grounded as his star continues to shine extra brightly. Dive into our interview to study extra about Alec under.

Alec Benjamin

Final time we spoke, it was the day earlier than Narrated For You dropped, and loads has occurred over the previous few months. How are you feeling now wanting again on all of it?

I haven’t actually had that a lot time to consider it so just about the identical.

And you actually don’t have numerous time transferring ahead since you’re touring by the remainder of the month and have a pair competition performances lined up, proper?

Yeah. I’m doing a bunch of festivals this summer season, which can be cool. After which we return to Europe.

You’re by no means achieved! Now, one of many first issues I wished to ask about is “Let Me Down Slowly.” After we first spoke again in November the tune was already doing rather well. And it has solely gotten greater since then. What do you suppose has made it such a breakout hit?

I’m not likely positive. I feel, you realize, releasing it with an album was positively useful. Like placing an album out behind it. Additionally having the collaboration that I did with Alessia was actually useful as properly. Then I feel like, you realize, typically while you’re a brand new artist it takes so lengthy to interrupt by now as a result of there’s a lot music popping out on a regular basis that… Your tune can be doing properly in the course of the week. Then Friday rolls round and eight million new songs get launched. It’s like two steps ahead and one step again. So I feel it takes a very long time to interrupt by now.

Working with Alessia – who sort of skilled an analogous sort of success with “Right here,” which led to the Greatest New Artist win on the Grammys – did she have any recommendation for you?

I didn’t actually discuss to her a lot about… I didn’t actually ask her for recommendation. Which looking back now I’m pondering I in all probability ought to have. So perhaps I’ll. However we sort of simply centered on the music. She was actually, actually cool. Like one of many best individuals to work with ever. It’s superior. She was actually nice as an individual.

How did the collaboration come collectively?

Simply on Twitter. I simply tweeted her and requested her if she wished to do it. And he or she was like “yeah, I’d like to.” and that was it. It was quite simple.

Actually Alessia is only one of a pair artists who’ve been displaying you numerous assist recently. In the previous few month you’ve gotten numerous buzz. John Mayer had you on his Instagram stay present, Kevin Summary desires to work with you and Billie Eilish is overlaying your music. How does it really feel to get that sort of recognition as a rising artist?

Fairly loopy. Particularly as a result of John Mayer is like my favourite artist. That’s like, for me it was actually cool. Simply because that’s one thing… Should you’d advised me that was going to occur once I was 14-years-old I wouldn’t have believed it. It feels cool, like I’m on one the fitting path, you realize?

Completely. What was it like working with him on the present?

It was superior. I truly had an opportunity to satisfy him the day of my final LA present, which was like two days earlier than I went on the Instagram Reside factor. So it wasn’t the primary time that I had met him. That made it slightly bit simpler. It was actually thrilling and clearly he was like… He knew play the songs in like two seconds. Working with him, particularly on the guitar, is fairly loopy. It was superior. Very nerve-wracking however very enjoyable.

Did you broach the subject of perhaps working collectively on music sooner or later?

Yeah. However I feel for me, I’m simply sort of like… I used to be extra centered. I’ve been listening to his music since I used to be 12-years-old so I really feel like, I’ve already realized loads from him on the music aspect. I’ve already gotten a lot out of it that I don’t wish to be pushy or something like that. If I get to work with him on music sooner or later that might be nice. And if not he’s achieved sufficient for me.

Completely. It’s such an excellent expertise simply to get to satisfy and discuss to an idol. Truly, talking of idols and folks you’re actually inquisitive about, one other individual you talked about in our final interview was Elon Musk. You had talked about that you simply may need been inquisitive about working collectively?

Oh yeah, that was dope that he tweeted me again!

Yeah! I noticed it in your most up-to-date press launch and was like “we talked about that.” You didn’t have an concept, however you stated it could be cool to collaborate with him on one thing musically. And I really feel like what you got here up with was actually cool. What made you consider it and the way did it really feel for him to answer to you?

It was extra of… It wasn’t a critical factor as a result of I do know there isn’t an enormous market in making touring autos. And he’s in all probability centered on… he has greater fish to fry. However I believed it could be humorous simply to tweet him and see what he would say. Or if he would reply in any respect. As a result of anyone had requested me “what are you doing to care for the atmosphere.” I do care in regards to the atmosphere, however I really feel dangerous strolling onto a tour bus on daily basis and burning a lot fuel. However I don’t have a selection as a result of I’ve to have a mode of transportation to get across the nation in order that I can play exhibits. So, I used to be like it could be dope if I might work with you on a a tour bus. After that interview I simply tweeted him to see what he’d say, and he simply responded.

What would you say has been probably the most shocking assist to see from fellow artists or people who find themselves actually inspiring to you?

I’d say Bryson Tiller. I wasn’t anticipating him to hearken to my music. That was fairly cool.

Switching gears a bit. Such as you stated, you have got a lot stuff occurring proper now. How are you staying grounded?

Proper now I stay at dwelling with my dad and mom, in order that helps. Nothing has actually modified for me within the grand scheme of issues. I really feel just like the individuals I spend my time with exterior of music are principally simply my mother, dad and sister. Just about it. My dad is downstairs proper now, and I simply made myself a pizza. The whole lot is just about precisely the identical.

You’re dwelling the most effective life. At dwelling with mother and pop is very easy.

Precisely. Precisely.

Speaking about touring, performing stay has all the time appeared tremendous vital to you. It’s one thing you’ve been doing in parking heaps earlier than you have been acting on stage. Now you’re promoting out in all places and reserving greater and larger venues and occasions. How does taking that subsequent step really feel?

The good factor is simply to stroll on stage and have a crowd of individuals know the phrases to your songs. That’s one thing I all the time wished. So it feels superb. For a very long time, like I advised you earlier than, I used to be simply performing exterior venues and hoping to get a chance just like the one I’ve now. It’s actually superior to see a line of individuals exterior the present ready to get in. I want I had one thing extra authentic to say, nevertheless it’s superior.

I imply, it’s what you’ve been working in direction of and to see it coming true should be so nice.

It actually looks like I made the fitting selection.

And the audiences aren’t simply getting greater. They’re additionally, such as you stated, getting louder. I used to be simply watching footage of you performing “Let Me Down Slowly” stay, and it’s actually unbelievable to see how into it your followers are. What would you say aside from “Let Me Down Slowly” is a favourite tune so that you can play and see them singing again to you now?

The loudest tune at each single present is known as “Steve.” It’s the tune that I least anticipated to be the preferred at stay exhibits. However it’s so loud each evening. Individuals scream the phrases to that tune, which is humorous because it’s such a peculiar tune. So to have individuals actually enthusiastic about it was surprising to me but in addition very cool. “Let Me Down Slowly” isn’t the loudest tune that folks sing on the exhibits by any means. I feel it’s in all probability “Steve” and “Boy In The Bubble” or perhaps “Outrunning Karma.” Possibly “Water Fountain.” It’s fairly loud, too.

“Water Fountain” was a tune that folks have been actually excited to listen to off Narrated For You earlier than it dropped. Would you say that it’s attention-grabbing to see what followers are responding to versus what most of the people is responding to now that you simply actually have that window straight into followers while you’re touring.

I feel no. Undoubtedly I all the time thought that “Let Me Down Slowly” can be the tune. It was the catchiest tune to attract individuals in. However I didn’t suppose it could be the tune that might make individuals grow to be a fan of my music. There’s lots of people that casually hearken to that tune however don’t hearken to the complete album or aren’t essentially as conversant in me as an artist. However I positively suppose the songs which might be going to make individuals followers are usually not that one.

Are you engaged on extra new music whilst you’re touring and performing?

Yeah. I’ve new music popping out in like a month.

How would you say the music you’re engaged on now differs from what you have been doing on Narrated For You?

I feel the subject material of the songs is slightly bit extra mature. It’s just about the identical besides perhaps the manufacturing is a step up. Somewhat bit totally different. It’s only a extra mature model of what I used to be doing on the final venture.

A number of the music on Narrated For You was older, proper? It was stuff you’d been holding onto for some time.

Precisely.

In order that makes numerous sense. Do you see your self pulling from numerous your experiences now whilst you’re writing?

Undoubtedly. A whole lot of stuff. The primary two songs which might be popping out are extra about issues that I’m going by proper now. One in every of them is about how I felt once I moved out to California. One other tune is about a few of the issues I’ve been going by like mentally that I wasn’t going by on the final album. I like to speak about issues that I’m going by personally, and I’m clearly going by issues now that I wasn’t then.

Up to now you referred to your self actually as a narrator. Do you suppose that’s nonetheless your essential objective musically?

I don’t know. I’m undecided. However I’ll all the time have story-telling themes. I do suppose my writing type has modified slightly bit.

Then you definitely talked about that you simply actually like writing about your private experiences. Would you be inquisitive about writing for different individuals now or are you happier holding your music for your self?

I’m positively open to writing for different individuals. However I feel it could be a scenario the place I’ve a tune and somebody hears it and is like “oh my god, I really like that tune. Can I take advantage of it?” And I’m like “positive, I’m not utilizing it for myself.” I haven’t actually been put in that scenario but. There’s a number of artists that I’d love to write down with for his or her music, nevertheless it hasn’t occurred but. Then a number of individuals have reached out like “oh there’s a tune that I heard. Are you utilizing it as a result of if not I’d prefer to have it.” That I’m positively open to. I’ve numerous songs that I’ve written that can in all probability by no means see the sunshine of day as a result of they’re simply not proper for me, however they’d work for anyone else.

Who’re some individuals you’ll actually wish to write for? Like dream initiatives.

I’d be down to write down with whoever desires me. Some hip hop artists can be cool. I’m not likely positive… It will be cool to write down a tune with Kevin Summary. Possibly some pop artists. I’d write a tune for Demi Lovato if she wished. That might be dope.

A few of that makes numerous sense. Final time we talked you stated Eminem’s “Stan” was your favourite tune to cowl. And also you lined that for Spotify. Ought to we anticipate extra hip hop impressed music from you sooner or later?

I feel I’m sort of achieved with that cowl. However I lined “Blue” by Eiffel 65 the opposite day, which was fairly dope. Something like that…

I feel the unexpected-ness of that’s so cool. A whole lot of what you’re doing on Narrated For You is so singer/songwriter. So to listen to you in a distinct style, placing your individual spin on it’s attention-grabbing. However wanting again now to a 12 months in the past, did you anticipate this? Are you shocked by how all the things has come ahead for you?

In a way sure, and in a way no. Actually numerous the issues that occurred to me I used to be not anticipating. However on the identical time I really feel like I wouldn’t have risked a lot and dropped out of college and achieved this if I didn’t suppose that I might do it. I don’t suppose I ever anticipated this to occur or for it to occur like this or this quick. On the identical time I wouldn’t have gone for it if I didn’t suppose I might do it. Not in an smug method, however in that I consider in myself.

Would you say that kind self esteem is one thing that has been crucial to being profitable?

I don’t know. A whole lot of instances I doubt myself. I can’t actually say as a result of I’m nonetheless so early in my profession. A whole lot of the stuff that’s occurred has been actually thrilling and superior, however on the identical time I perceive that this might go away at any second. So I don’t actually really feel like I’m ready the place i may be like “it’s a must to have this to achieve success.” As a result of I don’t actually have a look at myself and be like “wow I’m profitable.” I’ve a protracted solution to go. The artists that I look as much as have had careers of 5, typically even 10 albums. You understand, I’m not even previous my first mixtape so I’m undecided.

Talking about that, final time we talked you stated one in all your greatest skilled targets was to have the ability to assist your self by making music, which might be turning into increasingly more of a risk for you. What would you say are a few of your different targets transferring ahead?

I feel it’s nonetheless simply that. I would like my first album to achieve success. However once I begin releasing songs within the subsequent month-and-a-half my objective can be to have them do properly so I can hold doing this. That individuals will hold coming to exhibits, and I can hold performing.

Superior! I can’t wait to listen to all the things you’ve been engaged on. Thanks a lot for taking the time to speak to me! I’m actually glad we received an opportunity to catch up.

Thanks a lot! Have an excellent day.

What’s your favourite tune on Narrated For You? Tell us under, or by hitting us up on Fb and Twitter!

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