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July 12, 2022

Interview with Alec Benjamin

We had the pleasure of interviewing Alec Benjamin over Zoom video.

Having come a long way from the days of promoting his music in parking lots of concert venues, singer-songwriter Alec Benjamin ended 2021 by playing to sold-out crowds across North...

We had the pleasure of interviewing Alec Benjamin over Zoom video.

Having come a long way from the days of promoting his music in parking lots of concert venues, singer-songwriter Alec Benjamin ended 2021 by playing to sold-out crowds across North America. With him, Alec brought on the road an already impressive resumé having reached 4B+ global streams, 10M+ social media followers across his platforms, 70M+ in playlist reach, and 1B+ YouTube views on his channel.

Alec Benjamin’s sophomore album (Un)Commentary is out now via Elektra Records. The album features 13 tracks including the heartfelt single “Speakers” and the previously released “The Way You Felt,” “Older,” and “Shadow Of Mine.”

“Speakers” was written by Alec and GRAMMY-winning songwriter Dan Wilson (Adele, Taylor Swift, Leon Bridges). The track holds out hope for a relationship with Alec pondering, “I often think about the way you’ll think about me when we’re old / I always thought we could be the greatest story ever told.” The music video, directed by Joe Mischo (K Camp, Cheat Codes, Conan Gray, Dwayne Jackson), starts from a ​​single cassette tape and song, tugging at our heartstrings and revealing how music leads to a lifetime of memories.

Throughout (Un)Commentary, Alec transforms his observations into immediately catchy and heartfelt songs leaving an indelible imprint composing his lyrics with uncompromising clarity, but never lapsing into cynicism, infusing every song with an irrepressible hope and displaying a poet’s capacity to mine immense feeling from the most intricate details.

(Un)Commentary was produced by Sir Nolan (Kehlani, Selena Gomez), Sam de Jong (Lennon Stella, Gary Clark Jr.), and RØMANS (Mary J Blige, Khalid) and features writing collaborations with Dan Wilson (Adele, Leon Bridges), Charlie Puth (Justin Bieber, John Legend), Sam Roman (RØMANS) and Nolan Lambrosa (Sir Nolan) to name a few.

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Hello. It is Adam. Welcome back to bringing it backwards. A podcast where both legendary and rising artists, their own personal stories of how they achieve stardom. On this episode, we had the amazing opportunity to hang out with Alec Benjamin over zoom video. Alec was born in Phoenix. Arizona lived a couple of years in New York, then moved back to Phoenix and stayed there until he went to school in California and has been living in Southern California. Ever since he didn't really get into music much or playing performing music until he was in high school. He talked about writing his first songs, eventually getting a development deal with a company, a record label out in the UK. 0 (3m 38s): So while still in high school, he was going back and forth from Phoenix to the UK, went to college at USC. The first year at USC, he signed to a major label when he turned the record in, they ended up dropping him. He talked about that experience. We hear about how he would perform out in front of different venues. If a big artist was coming to town, he would go play out in the parking lot and hand out his business card to people we hear about the success he was having, you know, with let me down slowly and going into 2019, having the pandemic hit really as his career was really, really taking off. He also tells us a lot about his new record, which is called uncommon Terry. 0 (4m 21s): He tells us about writing that record during the pandemic, the effect the pandemic has had on the album, the shows he's played thus far in support of the record, his recent success on Tik TOK with the song devil doesn't bargain and all about his upcoming tour as well. You can watch the interview with Alec Benjamin on our Facebook page and YouTube channel at bringing it backwards. It would be awesome if you subscribe to our channel like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Tik TOK at bringing back pod. And if you're listening to this on Spotify, apple music, Google podcasts, it would be awesome if you follow us there as well, and hook us up with a five star review, 1 (4m 59s): We'd appreciate your support. If you follow and subscribe to our podcasts, wherever you listen to podcasts, 0 (5m 5s): We're bringing it backwards with Alec Benjamin. How are you? 4 (5m 10s): I'm great. How are you? 0 (5m 11s): I'm doing very, very well. I appreciate you doing this. Thank you so much. 4 (5m 15s): Yeah, of course. Thank you for, thank you for having me. Of 0 (5m 17s): Course. My name is Adam, and this is about you and your journey of music. And I'll talk to you about the new record and everything else. 4 (5m 26s): All right. Sweet. How are you? 0 (5m 28s): I'm doing, doing very well. How are you? 4 (5m 31s): I'm good. I'm I'm I'm good 0 (5m 36s): In the world. Are you? 4 (5m 38s): I'm at home in orange county. How about you? 0 (5m 41s): Oh, cool. I'm actually in Nashville. I'm San Diego, so, 4 (5m 47s): Oh, I love San Diego. I like Nashville too, but my favorite place to San Diego, I love, I love it. I grew up, I'm going to San Diego because when it would get too hot Phoenix, we would drive to San Diego and hang out by the water. And it was always like the most exciting thing that we got to do all year 0 (6m 6s): Crownpoint. When you go to crown point, 4 (6m 8s): You know, I'm not familiar with crown point, but we had spent a lot of time on like instant nitas and yeah. In Carlsbad. Cause I had a, like a very close family friend who lives there, but maybe next time I go down there I'll go to 0 (6m 23s): No, I was just curious because I'm from obviously from San Diego, a lot of people from, from Arizona when it gets super hot, they would come out to San Diego and stay in crown point because you could you're on the water and you could just park like an RV or something there and just hang and just be like on the sand. But you can do that up in Carlsbad. Anthony is as well. 4 (6m 43s): Yeah. Yeah. Well, we didn't have RV, but I went to a camp for like a week or two in California and or in San Diego, I was like a surf cam. And we all like, well, we didn't get the RV because the owners of the camp stayed in it, but we slept in tents on the beach. And that was very cool. Yeah. I love seeing the Diego. 0 (7m 6s): That's cool. That is so cool. Yeah. We recently moved to Nashville about a year and a few months ago. So 4 (7m 11s): You and, and half the other California 0 (7m 15s): Dude, it's so crazy. I had no idea this whole like pilgrimage from California was coming here. It just blew my mind. We like, I would meet people and they're like, oh, you're like the 5 million person I've talked to that moved here. I'm like, oh, I'm so sorry. But anyway, we w we enjoyed it here, but cool. So you were raised, I did see you born in Arizona and then you left for a little bit of time, and then you were raised mainly in Arizona. 4 (7m 43s): Yeah. So I moved to New York for like three, four years when I was little. And then we moved back to Phoenix and I, yeah, I spend most of my time in Arizona. I definitely like, there were things I liked about New York, but I think I'm more of a desert kind of kid. I love going to New York, but the gray clouds, like really, they didn't do it for me, but then like the summers are pretty bad, but I don't know. But yeah. So I spent most of my time there and then I moved to California when I was 18. And I've been there since I've been here for 10 years. 0 (8m 20s): Wow. Okay. Well getting into music. When were you playing an instrument or any music prior to moving from New York back to Arizona? 4 (8m 33s): Think like, I, like, I think I was always against the music in a way, but I didn't really realize that I was, even though like looking back on it now, it seems pretty obvious to me that I was really passionate about music even before I was like conscious of it. But I think that, like, I started learning to play an instrument when I was like 14 or 15. And then I like decided that it was something that I wanted to do professionally. Like, I mean, my junior year in high school, senior year in high school. And then I kind of just sort of, yeah, from the time I was like 17 on it, like became kind of like my identity, but there was definitely a period of time where it's like a gradual thing. 4 (9m 21s): But yeah, 0 (9m 23s): You said when you're around 17, you, when you decided you wanted to do this, was there like a moment or were you writing songs prior to, to that age? 4 (9m 34s): Yeah, I think that, well, there was not like a specific moment, but I think that like, ultimately the catalyst was, you know, I was turning 18 and I had to decide like what I wanted to pursue professionally. And I realized it wasn't anything else that I really wanted to do. I think the reason why I didn't want to do music at first, when I was like 14 or 15, you know, I was learning how to play guitar was, cause I didn't know that it was like that I could like actually seriously pursue a career in music. I remember like one of my teachers saying like, and they were talking about different students in their class and they were like, oh, you know, maybe one day Alec will become a musician. 4 (10m 15s): I was like, that'll never happen. And so, but you know, then, then I found out that the alternative was, you know, doing a lot of school or maybe going to, you know, do a job that maybe I, I couldn't really find it. Anything else that I was passionate about. So yeah. I don't know if there was like, again, like a specific moment, but I think it was more of like a, well, I think through process of elimination, I decided that it was like the only thing that was leftover at the end of the day. So 0 (10m 49s): Was guitar your first instrument? 4 (10m 52s): My parents tried to get me to learn piano when I was like five or six, but I took like two lessons and I was over it. So yeah, it was, but I actually, I actually think my first instrument was the recorder and then 0 (11m 10s): Third grade thing I can't remember, but yeah, 4 (11m 12s): Probably the worst instrument ever invented 0 (11m 16s): It's cheap. It's like that piece of plastic probably costs the school, like a buck each, maybe that's why they're like, everybody's going to learn the recorder. 4 (11m 23s): Yeah. And they make you look like hot cross buns and stuff. I don't know if that was worthwhile, but I remember they teach, they taught a whole, I can only imagine, like if I were a teacher during like the recorder unit, I would just like take off school. I just wouldn't go. 0 (11m 43s): You're just like, I'm sick again at the same time during the, 4 (11m 47s): And the only thing that works on that is my sister tried to learn how to play violin when she was like seven. And that was quite possibly one of the worst sounds I've ever heard in my life. I can still remember it now. It makes, it makes me, it makes me scared. Very bad. 0 (12m 6s): It's 4 (12m 6s): Like a violin is like one of the most beautiful instruments, but it is probably when played poorly could quite, quite possibly be worse than the recorder. 0 (12m 16s): Yeah. I don't think you're wrong. Yeah. It's like a cat screaming or something. It's like, 4 (12m 22s): It's no good. 0 (12m 24s): That's hilarious. Where you all in chorus or anything or choir? 4 (12m 28s): No. Wow. No, I didn't sing it in front of people or anything like that. Like I didn't even know I could sing until later in my life. Yeah, no. I mean, like, I just, like, I didn't really, like, I don't know. Sometimes even now I don't necessarily feel like music is really my thing. Like I think the thing about, you know what I mean, like, I feel like music for me is like something that I learned because I, it helped me communicate. But I think the thing that defines who I am are like the ideas that I choose to communicate through music. So the music is really secondary to like the message that I'm trying to convey through it. 4 (13m 10s): And I think ultimately like, that's what makes me who I am. 0 (13m 16s): Hmm. So it sounds like, yeah, like the lyrics are, the more important piece is the message you're getting it through. 4 (13m 23s): And then, and just like a, not even the lyrics, it's like the sentiment, it's the lyric convey. Cause I think that like music just happens to be like the most effective medium for me. And maybe it could have been something else if I was, you know, if I was exposed to other, you know, forms of art at an earlier age or, you know, found a way to get into them, probably not. Cause I don't think I have like a really, I really like a natural affinity for anything else. But I think as a result, you know, that's sort of like what led me down this path in music, but you know, when I was younger, like I was never, like, I was never like, like, like a, like a music sort of like guitar, like a guitar kind of like, you know, guitar freaks, not freaking like a, in like a, in a, in a derogatory way. 4 (14m 5s): Like the people who were just like, fuck it. Shouldn't because people who like 0 (14m 9s): <inaudible>, unless you don't want to, but you can cut. 4 (14m 13s): I don't want to be rude, but 0 (14m 14s): Again, you can cut. 4 (14m 15s): No people like geek out over like music and I was not, and that was not me, but you know, I think I've like sort of like, kind of like grown into that identity because as I learned more about music, the more I become passionate about like the music part itself. But I think for me, like, I, my initial goal was just like, okay, these are like the ideas I want to convey. And I knew it. I kind of like, I knew what I wanted to like accomplish in my life, like from like a young age, but I didn't know like necessarily like what the path was going to be. And so sort of, it's just like, okay, well this is the identity that I have assumed to hopefully like achieve the goals that I have of eventually expressing myself. 4 (15m 2s): And so then I had to kinda like learn all of the skills that I needed in order to accurately convey my message. Does that make sense? 0 (15m 14s): It's a therapeutic thing. Like, okay. Like I have these feelings and I want to express them or it was like, I have these ideas that I want other people to attend. 4 (15m 21s): I think it was a therapeutic thing. I think it was just like, I have no choice, but to express myself for like, since I was young, like I just, I can't shut up. I can't shut up. You know? I mean, like if I see something and I feel a certain way, I just have to say, no, I'm not very good at like keeping things to myself and still, you know, I was like young when I was younger. I was like, you know, like geopolitics and stuff. Like when I was like in fifth and sixth grade and my friends were like, dude, what are you talking about? Like shut up, you know? And was like, I mean, I didn't really know at the time I still don't know, but I like to talk about it. 4 (16m 2s): And so I found that like doing it through music was like a more palatable way for me to express myself. And also it was a, yeah. I don't know. Yeah. That's that 0 (16m 14s): Makes sense for sure. 4 (16m 16s): Well, I think also too, like it's a, yeah, I don't know. Yes. 0 (16m 22s): I love that. 4 (16m 23s): So that's what I found, 0 (16m 25s): But 4 (16m 25s): It's not always like what I talk about on my music, but a lot of the times it is, I mean, I also like say to the other things that I'm feeling too, but like writing love songs and stuff. It's like something that like came way later for me, because it's not like I enjoyed listening to love songs as a kid and like growing up, but it was not like something that was like, you know, like, like a preeminent in my life, like thinking about like, you know, like my broken heart and stuff. Like, I obviously think like those emotions are important and the things that I talk about, but like there were other things that were more important to me and they continue to be, 0 (16m 58s): Yeah. I mean, because not all your songs are obviously are all love songs or breakup songs or wow. 4 (17m 3s): Yeah. Like 95% of them are not, you know, like some of the most popular ones happen to me, but yeah, I, yes. And, and more, more, more recently I've sort of like become more comfortable with saying things that were on my mind and trying. And I think that's like, yeah, also too, like, you know, a lot of the things that were happening in the world, especially in the last couple of years were like, so egregious that I just like couldn't really ignore it anymore. And so I tried to approach it in a way that is not polarizing because I think ultimately like that is not the best way to bring people together towards a common goal. 4 (17m 47s): But you know, if they are then 0 (17m 51s): Yeah, no, I completely agree with you. It's a lot, like you said earlier, a lot easier to digest something like that. If you aren't like shouting it at somebody or, you know, if it's more, the way you present it, people are going to, you know, respond in a certain way. 4 (18m 6s): Yeah. Well hopefully we'll find out. 0 (18m 9s): Yeah, sure. Well, you ended up going to school at a USC, right. 4 (18m 15s): That's 0 (18m 16s): Incredible. I mean, that's a difficult school to get into though. I, yeah. What'd you go for? Did you go for music? 4 (18m 22s): I went for music. Yeah. It was cool. I think that, yeah, it was good. It was good. I have a very, I have a very weird relationship with like education and stuff, so something against USC, but it just wasn't for me, you know, I don't think it was for me. Like, I don't think it was school was for me starting in like sixth grade. 0 (18m 59s): Yeah. I mean, it isn't for most people, especially if you know what you want to do, right. Or if you have an idea of what you want to do, and 4 (19m 4s): Even if you don't, you know, like I had an idea that I didn't want to be in debt, you know, 0 (19m 9s): <inaudible> the school and then, oh, you know, X, thousands of dollars. When I graduated, 4 (19m 19s): What I want to do is not go into debt. And also I think that least this is easily. One of the, one of the things that like, from my whole life, it's like always troubling to me. It's always on my mind. It's just like, I can remember like up until fifth grade, I think I like somewhat enjoyed school kind kinda, or like I was like assuming the identity that my parents wanted me to assume then sixth grade came and I hated so much. I just couldn't. I just couldn't hide it anymore. I only went to college cause my mom and dad wanted me to, I definitely think there were, there were, there was a lot of benefits I was able to like to glean like from school, but like a big fan of the 80, 20 rule or whatever, where it's like 20% of the effort gets you 80% of the benefit, you know? 4 (20m 12s): And, and so I think schools like to have it both ways too. They like to say to you, like, it's about what you learn and then they, and but, but if, but if you decide like, okay, I've learned enough and they're like, no, but it's also about acquiring this piece of paper. It's like, well, is it, is it your, is it your, is it your monopoly over the, the ability to credential people and get them jobs? Or is it the information you're teaching? Because if it's the information you're teaching, increasingly you can just have access to it on the internet. So granted, there were a lot of intangibles, like a lot of things that I learned at that I wouldn't gotten somewhere else. I also was exposed to a lot of new ideas to these other students that I met in my teachers and stuff. 4 (20m 55s): So USC is a fine establishment. I don't even know what I'm trying to say. 0 (21m 1s): Yeah. I understand what you're saying though. I mean, it's like, Hey, you can come to the school, but yeah. It's about what you learn, but you also have to learn these math skills in this about history and these other things that maybe you have no, you know, desire to ever pursue something in that direction, but you're going to learn it and we're going to pay for it 4 (21m 19s): Definitely enough though. I think that, like I found some of like my history classes and stuff, like more interesting than I found the music classes. Just because like give me more stuff to write about. 0 (21m 27s): Oh, that's true. That's a great point. Well, do you ended up getting a deal before you finished school? Right? Or pretty early on, 4 (21m 35s): I got signed like my freshman year. 0 (21m 41s): I know it's a weird situation, but I'm looking at now. Right. 4 (21m 47s): Hopefully it's a marathon, you know, hopefully I haven't any years to, to fuck this all up, you know? 0 (21m 54s): Oh, you're killing it, dude. No, but so you get it, you get signed your freshman year. Did you have like, tell me about how that even like, kind of came about and, and, and I'm curious to hear about the, where do you play in front of venues and stuff? I think you did, right? Like if people were coming to town. 4 (22m 8s): Yeah. Well, I, I, in high school I started writing songs and my parents were always very supportive of my music. You know, even though they encouraged me to pursue education as well, they were supportive of my aspirations to be a singer songwriter. And, you know, but also because I'm Erin, I'm from Arizona and my, my parents are not like in the entertainment industry, they didn't really have sort of like the ability to facilitate my dream in that way. Like they didn't, I didn't have the connections and stuff. So when I was in like middle and high school and stuff in high school, cause I didn't start playing music until then I started like going on Wikipedia and finding, finding out who the songwriters were that collaborated on my favorite projects. 4 (23m 1s): And I started just reaching out to them via email, sending them like my, my demos and just like, you know, I was sending messages to people on Facebook and I did like all of the weird smoothing that you can do online, just, you know, sending, calling people and all that stuff. And I ultimately got connected with this songwriter who was based in the UK and he actually signed me when I was like 17 or 16, just as like a, you know, sort of like a development kind of thing. And started bringing me to the UK from Arizona. And ultimately they're the ones that facilitated my first record deal. When I got into college, I started sort of like an apprenticeship writing songs and I was like 16, 17. 4 (23m 46s): That's 0 (23m 46s): Cool to be able to travel across the, you know, to a different country, to, to yeah. I mean, wow, that's so awesome. 4 (23m 54s): Really cool. And, and I learned a lot from that situation. And then, you know, I got that deal, which I think, you know, unfortunately it didn't work out, but I learned a lot from it and I was able to sort of like take the things that I learned. And like you said, I played in a bunch of parking lots and in front of other people's concerts and stuff. And, but I feel like, you know, I'm like, and then there's sort of like a lot of that stuff is like a topic of my first album or mixtape or whatever it is. And then I put out another and then I feel like I moved past that. And then I played, like I played, like I played a ton of shows. 4 (24m 35s): I sold out a lot of tours, which is really awesome. And I finally got to play inside the venues that I was playing outside of. And then I had like a period of time where I felt like, okay, it's my time to tell a different story. And then the pandemic hit, you know, and I, and the album that I put out during the pandemic got to go like, which is why I couldn't promote it. I couldn't talk about it because of the circumstances. And so here I am tell you I'm past the parking lot. I'm ready to move on. 0 (25m 7s): No, I know it's what a while. I mean, obviously the, the record did extremely well. And so having that happen, like you, you were kind of building all this momentum into the, and then the pandemic hits. Right. That's kind of, I remember you, you played a festival in San Diego, you played Kaaboo in Del Mar. Yeah. I remember seeing you there. And I was like, yeah, no, we didn't meet, but I watched you from, from, from afar. Yeah. No, that's a great festival. I don't even know if they're still going to do it anymore, but it was supposed to move anyway. That's 4 (25m 45s): Beside the 0 (25m 45s): Point. Yeah. That was cool. Especially where it was set up with the wheel. You can see the water and everything, but yeah, that was that's where right prior to, that was where I first heard of you and you, I mean, your career was going and then it wasn't until a few months later. I mean, really the pandemic hit it. Wasn't long after that. I mean, so to have that happen, like what was it like, tell me about that experience. Devastating. 4 (26m 9s): I was pretty depressed. Yeah, 0 (26m 14s): No, no, sure. But, 4 (26m 15s): But I think like the rest of the world also, like once you allow weird stuff and that's kind of ultimately what I ended up writing like this, my latest album, about a lot of, a lot of those topics. And I wrote it during the, during the sort of last year. So the pandemics and you know what, I'm still processing a lot of this stuff that happened. And I think also like it's not done yet a lot of the, a lot of the fallout from the pandemic itself. And then sort of like the policy that, that, you know, came after. We're not really done with a lot of the, a lot of the impacts that that's going to have and is having, and you know, all of that stuff. 4 (27m 3s): So I can't really tell you how I feel about it. Cause it's not like over, you know, I'm just looking at like everything that's going on with like the economy and stuff. And it's a very scary time, but it gave me a lot to think about. And so I'm kind of hoping that the things that I wrote about will resonate with people because the whole world was kind of dealing with the same stuff. 0 (27m 29s): No, for sure. I mean, will you put a record out in May, 2020? So you, you, like you said, you didn't have a chance to really, 4 (27m 37s): Yeah. I have a weird relationship with that album. I don't know if it's any good or not because I put it out and I got like no feedback on it. 0 (27m 46s): Well, I mean, if you look online and the shows that you're currently playing, I would imagine that there's some obvious, well, 4 (27m 55s): Yeah, well that's a plan, so I'll let you know, but 0 (27m 57s): Didn't you play a few so far? Cause I watched a little tour video. Right. 4 (28m 2s): I've played some, but I felt like it didn't really connect in the way that I wanted it to and maybe over time it will. But I think sometimes that's a cop out. If something doesn't perform as well as you want it to, you could blame it on time. 0 (28m 17s): Sure. Well, with, with, with the new record, when did you start? Like, was there a point like obviously you're, you're in the midst of a pandemic and everything else that's going on? Was there a point when you decided like, Hey, like I should get some of these feelings out. I need to just start writing songs. And w do you remember when that started? 4 (28m 34s): It was about six months after the lockdown started seven months. I started writing songs and I just felt like compelled to talk about some of the things that I was thinking about. And I didn't really have the intention of that, like being an album or anything like that. It just sort of felt like, well, these are things I want to say. And so I'm gonna write, and I didn't write in the way that I traditionally do. It's just like, you know, I schedule the sessions out weeks in advance and I force myself to go to the studio and I forced myself to brainstorm ideas and sort of have to prepare for it. Like it it's a job, which it is my job. 4 (29m 14s): And that is how I, how one should treat it, I think. But this was sort of like, like the most organic way I've ever made music. I just sit down by myself in the morning for an hour or two, and maybe I'd go for a bike ride before, and then I'd sit down and write, write songs just because I had something that I wanted to say, and I would text a friend and be like, Hey, I'm stuck on this parking. You help me. And we FaceTime for 30 minutes and we ride and nobody really set up the sessions for me. I kind of just hit up my friends and it felt like, oh, no, it just felt like, it just felt like, oh no, I'm, I'm, I, I think that I'm starting to be, I'm starting to be the kind of person that like thinks that like, your intuition is like very important, like your body tells you what you're supposed to do and where you're supposed to be. 4 (30m 5s): And things feel right and wrong for a certain reason. And I just, this is like the most right. I guess, making a record itself, but you know, that's also, like I'm saying that in hindsight, like it might've, might've been, I'm sure there were days that were around. Weren't easy. I don't know, but I'm happy now because it's doing well. And then it's, we feel good. 0 (30m 31s): Sure. Do you feel like, because there wasn't maybe the pressure of, okay, we did a record, we're going to tour, we got to come home, we're going to, I have to do another record and kind of that cycle was, everything was stopped. Right. Nobody really knew what was happening and just kind of having that time. Do you think that affected kind of how the songs were, were coming out? 4 (30m 52s): Yeah. Well, it also gave me the time to like, yeah, to like sit and think and not have to be like working on my music or, or like touring and stuff like that. You know, because I think that a lot of the things that interested me that ultimately like became the topics of songs and, and things that like have become topics and songs for me were things that I thought about when I didn't have a ton of stuff going on, you know, and I had like, it was able to accumulate those life experiences and then reflect on them and they kind of ran out of life experience. So it was a pretty good period of time for me to just sit back and experience life and reflect and try things and do stuff and experiment a little bit and good and bad ways. 4 (31m 36s): And then write about it. 0 (31m 38s): Was there a particular song on the album that you were like, or piece that you were like, I should I, is it like difficult to say or like a really vulnerable moment for you to your, you know, to get out? 4 (31m 52s): I talked a little smack about Nancy Pelosi. 0 (31m 57s): That is a hot topic. Right. 4 (31m 59s): But it wasn't even like, I feel like I, you know, I didn't really even pass it, like, and I don't really have an opinion like on her policy or whatever, because like all that stuff is like, so, you know, it's, that's stuff is, is more, I like to learn about it and stuff, but a lot of those things are like, very, this isn't not important to me. What was important to me was the fact that she got a haircut that upset me. And I feel like it upset a lot of people and not because it's a partisan issue, but because it's a human issue, we were all, we were all supposed to make a sacrifice. 0 (32m 37s): Yeah. When you said that, I forgot that, that the reason why she got the hair, I was like, yeah, she did get a haircut. Oh yeah. But she got a haircut when no one else was allowed to get a haircut. 4 (32m 46s): Yeah. I mean, that was wrong. It was 0 (32m 48s): Wrong completely. Didn't 4 (32m 50s): Apologize for it. She blamed everyone else and it's wrong. 0 (32m 53s): I completely agree with you. And it 4 (32m 55s): Was wrong. It was wrong. When Ted Cruz went to text, our went to once he came, Kuhn was wrong. It was wrong when Gavin Newsome had dinner with everybody and, and, and in Northern California, it's just wrong. And it's not like, Beatstars (33m 11s): Would you agree? Lil NAS X is one of the biggest artists on the planet with old town road. What have I told you? They bought the beat for old town road for 30 bucks on beat stars. And the song currently holds the record for the most time ever spent at number one on the billboard hot 100 chart, beat stars is the world's number one digital music marketplace to buy and sell beats, bringing it backwards. Listeners can go to beat forward slash bib to get started on beat stars. Beat stars is free to use for beginners and bringing it backwards. 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Download your Eva coupon today and save money at the pump all summer long with Evoque and Harris Teeter fuel points. 4 (36m 0s): You know, you don't have to be like a Democrat or look into be like, well, you know, 0 (36m 8s): We're all in this together until we're not right. 4 (36m 11s): I don't think we ever really were, you know, it's just, we were under the impression that we might be. And then you kind of find out that, you know, people love to like, I don't, I don't even like, you don't even have to sort of like before you can even get to the issue of whether or not you agree or disagree with like the policy. It's just like, let's just at least be on the same page about we're just going to do, we're going to follow our own rules, you know? 0 (36m 38s): Right. Yeah. Do, as I not do, as I say, or did not do as I do type deal. 4 (36m 45s): Well, that's kinda what it was, but that, that bothered me. But you know, at the same time, like, I don't know what it's like to be then, and I'm sure they have a difficult job. And so, you know, who am I to say, but these are the things that were on my mind. Yeah. 0 (37m 4s): Yeah. 4 (37m 5s): And also like, I feel like also too, it's like, yeah, I don't know. I think those are things also too as well, that like are very, those are things that, you know, issues that people can talk about that I think that, you know, can be, can be a point of like a unity, you know, like I think every American, every person would be on the same page about that. You know, it's like, just because you're on one side of the political aisle, doesn't mean that the people who are implementing the policy that you believe in aren't are fallible and it's okay to acknowledge those flaws. 4 (37m 52s): And also that I think that those are points and things that can bring people together because we can both go, well, you know, if you're a Democrat or Republican or a libertarian or whatever, it's like, we are all here stuck home. It was like a haircut. So we can have these, like we can, we can, we can bond over that. 0 (38m 14s): Sure, sure. 4 (38m 16s): We can, we can ask for better from, from our political leaders 0 (38m 21s): And 4 (38m 21s): We deserve better. 0 (38m 22s): I totally agree with you. Yeah. I mean, yeah, they have, no one else is getting a haircut and, but yeah, I guess if you're, if you're, if you're up here, you can do, as you do. Wow. I was gonna say with, with this new record recording, it was that different. Like, did you do anything from your house? Like, did you have to put together a studio at your house or anything? 4 (38m 47s): I just recorded everything on my house, like on my, on my computers. Yeah. I mean, the recording processes becomes, so like technology is so advanced that like, you can just really kind of make a record anywhere. I have it sound studio quality. So that was cool. Like just to be able to, well, it was interesting because I mostly would go to the studio to record, sorry, excuse me. But I, I did it for my house, which was pleasant. I'm actually in the middle of the pen I make my label was like, Hey, we're going to send everybody their own home studio equipment, which is awesome. And then they set us up with the, with engineers to learn how to operate the stuff. 4 (39m 28s): Cause I'm not like, I don't know how to use recording software. I mean, like, I know how to, like, I, I can turn it on and open it and do like the basic stuff, but I didn't know how to do that until they taught me. And that was extremely helpful. So I did some of that stuff. I, yeah, so it was a very different process for me, but, but I think it was good. I also, like, I'd never done like collaboration via zoom before, and it's a surprisingly efficient, 0 (40m 1s): You enjoyed it. Cause I've heard the, I've heard the other side of it too, where it's like, you know, maybe somebody you had never worked with and it's just like, like me, I'm just showing up on your career. Like, Hey, let's write a song. Like, was it difficult to kind of open up to somebody that you didn't know? 4 (40m 16s): I mostly worked with people that I knew and, and I, I didn't really have any patience for, for not expressing myself fully in songwriting sessions. Like normally I'd be kind of shy or whatever, but this time I was like, look, this is what I want to do today. And like, I don't really have the bandwidth to do anything I'm not interested in doing. So, like, I didn't say like this, this is, this is how I'd like to, these are the things that I'd like to talk about, you know, and that scared off some people and then didn't work. And some people were like fully embrace it. 4 (40m 57s): And those people I became really close friends with and wrote a lot of songs with. So I did a couple of random sessions and ultimately those became some of my most like fruitful relationships in terms of songwriting. And then others, you know, you just got into had you got a nice conversation with someone on zoom for a little bit. And the cool thing about zoom is that like, you know, a lot of times like, there'll be like a rendezvous point, you know, that's set up like other halfway or like you go to someone's house or they drive to you or whatever, it's a to song. Right. And then you kind of feel like, even if it's not going well, you feel like an obligation to the other person because they've gone out of their way to be with you that day to make music and zoom takes that pressure off. 4 (41m 37s): Cause you're both at your house. So 0 (41m 39s): Yeah. You're definitely more comfortable in the situation. 4 (41m 42s): Yeah. And I drive like an hour and a half to get to LA like every day. So, because I live in orange county, so like I didn't have like the, the added pressure of like traffic or anything. So I'll be like, Hey man, like, you know, maybe we pick up tomorrow, I'm going to, I would like to go for a bike ride, you know? And that was nice. 0 (41m 60s): That is, I mean, for me, zoom has been great because I personally have like social anxiety up the, you know, the, up the ladder and that's why I was always doing radio. Cause I could just be talking to myself in a room and I get to be around the music and you know, no, but it was like the in-person like inter like I love talking to people in person as far as interviews go. But like when it became this, for me, it was more of a comfort. Like it felt more of like a comfort, like, oh, I'm in my house. And like, I dunno if you had that same feeling as far as like being in your own space to kind of make decisions like that. Like I, you know, and I think I'm going to go on a bike ride today. Like I don't have to drive in, then you're not expected. 0 (42m 39s): Like, okay, now I drove an hour. I have to be here and everything's got to kind of work. Cause then I got to drive an hour plus home and I just wasted this person's time. I mean, I don't, I don't know. 4 (42m 48s): Yeah, no, that's how I felt. I mean, I didn't, I followed those sort of expectations and fears are lifted, which is nice. There are other, there are obviously limitations to being on zoom and stuff too. And there's a little bit of audio, visual latency and stuff like that. And, and like things that you can do in the studio that you cannot do on zoom. But I think also it was like, it was like a nice change of pace. And I, I definitely more anxious when I will also too, like a lot, some of the songs on this album, you know, I was like to write by myself and few of the songs on my record, I just wrote on my own. 4 (43m 29s): So, and that was, that was a good cause I had more time at my house, you know, to just sit and reflect it. Whereas like I would have otherwise been driving around a lot and doing other things and they've been on tour as a whole other layer. 0 (43m 46s): I'm sure. Wow. I'm on, you have a song that's doing really well on Tik TOK right now off the record. It doesn't, it's just a bargain. Yeah. Tell me about that. 4 (43m 56s): I wrote it by myself. It was 0 (43m 58s): That one of the ones you wrote by yourself. 4 (44m 0s): And I took it to my friend Nolan on my friend, Erin and they helped me finish it out and they produced it. And then my manager loved that song. I didn't really think anything of it. I was gonna give it to someone else or not put it out. And he convinced me to put on my album and I'm happy that I did. 0 (44m 20s): Was that a video you threw up? Like, how did the song start getting traction there on Tik TOK? 4 (44m 25s): I just, I realized that like, you know, the current landscape of social media and music and music marketing is what it is. And I've been trying to fight it for so long because Ted talk is not something that comes natural to me. But then I also realized like I have to promote my record. And so I just, I just kind of grabbed the bull by the horns and just doing it like just posting. I'm not like doing things that are natural to me. You know, obviously like the whole, like self-promotion thing is, is a bit like sort of uncomfortable and it's always been uncomfortable for me, but the prospect of like my record not being successful is, is even more uncomfortable. 4 (45m 15s): So I just have been promoting the shit out of it and I don't care what people think. Cause I got a record to promote and I want to keep making music. So that's what I'm doing. I'm just posting and posting and posting. And then I think I just posted so much that like someone just kept caught on, you know, and I'm sort of just throwing things at the wall and seeing what sticks and if it doesn't work and it's embarrassing, I deleted it and I move on, you know, like whatever I said, that's my approach to Tik TOK. It's the shotgun approach. You know, it was just, something will stick 0 (45m 44s): Through. It happens. 4 (45m 46s): Yeah. That's what I'm doing. 0 (45m 47s): But it's working. I mean, it's translating into people going and listening to songs. 4 (45m 53s): I'm embarrassing myself for two years on Tik TOK until something actually work, you know, but it's working man. That's good. 0 (45m 59s): That's cool. That is cool. I mean, I, I see a lot of artists that it's hard for them to get somebody, like if you get a song on Tik TOK, that's doing something, well, you have a back catalog, that's massive and people know you, but like to get people to leave the app to then go to Spotify, to listen to the song, like, you know, to, to get it, to transfer into streams. But the fact that that's working well for you as well. I mean, that's huge. 4 (46m 22s): Well, I mean, I'm not like also for me, like I'm not sorta, like I write songs, that's what I do. You know what I mean? Like people on TechTalk, you know, sort of like, I suppose this isn't like analogous exactly. But you know, when a label and people say to me like, oh, well, you know, you have, you have music to promote, like you should make tick talks. It's like saying to a tick talker, like all, like you're, you're, you're a dancer. Like you should make music to dance to it's like, you know, it doesn't, it's just not how it works. And it's like totally antithetical to what, who I am. It's like a, an artist and a person. Cause like it's not the kind of art that I make. However, like I think one of the reasons why, well, it's very exciting to see how well the song, the S the posts about the songs are translating to streams. 4 (47m 5s): That makes me feel really good at the same time. I don't post about anything else. And I won't, I'm not going to, you know, like the people at, at, at Tik TOK even, or something it's like, Hey, you should try other forms of content. I'm like, no, I won't, I'm not going to do that because like, that's not what I do, you know what I mean? And so I'm just like very transparent with my fans about it. I'm like, I'm promoting myself on here, you know, and then, and ultimately like, I'll make some personality here and there, but like, I'm not going to like, engage like with the app, like in the traditional way, because like, that's not like I make music first, you know? And so, you know, I think that one of the reasons why it also translates to my songs is because I only post about my songs. You know what I mean? Like, I'm not going to beat around the Bush. 4 (47m 46s): Like, I'm not going to try to make some like, personality content, like, you know, under a trending hashtag in hopes that you'll find me not knowing that I'm a musician and ultimately stumble upon my music. Like, honestly, fuck that. Right. 0 (47m 58s): I love that. You said that I, I interviewed an artist a few days ago, who has a label signing, been touring relentlessly for decades and, and had a song that went viral on tick-tock was doing like an album cover or something. And then getting a bunch of people like labels and managers, like, Hey, like, Hey, you know, do you write songs? Like we should, we should. And she's like, I've been doing like, obviously you've done absolutely no research on my life or what I'm doing. It just happened. That happened to be the one thing that did something on Tik TOK, but it had zero relevance or her career. 4 (48m 35s): I mean, there's always like, you know, it's like, there's a bunch of different ways to go about it. It's like, it's like, you know, ultimately like sort of, like, I sort of start with the music and then I figured it out. I tried to figure out after that, cause the music for me, it's like, I can't really compromise on it. I have to say what I want to say. And so ultimately like once I've said it, then the sort of like the, the gymnastics have to be done and sort of like back engineering, the marketing, some people start with the marketing plan first. They go, well, it has to work on Tik TOK. So let's make music that works on Tik TOK and I make music. And then I, you know, decide like whatever sort of is like the preeminent platform of the day. I then decide or try to figure out how I'm going to make it work on the platform. Because for me, like the music comes first. 4 (49m 15s): So, you know, and it's just like, I don't know. It's just so like, not to be bitter about it because I get it. Like, it is the current state of affairs and it's nobody's fault. But you know, like when they say like, oh, like you make music, like you should totally like, learn how to take talk. And it's like, you know, it's like, when people like, I'm like, oh, you love to take talks. Like you should learn how to play piano. Like, you know what I mean? Like, I don't like, oh, you play you're on stage talking and you like, want to like, you know, you like music too. And you're like, oh, you should like learn an instrument. It's like, you know what a ridiculous thing to say? 0 (49m 48s): No, no for sure. 4 (49m 49s): So maybe it's not because a lot of times, like, that's, that's my, that's my immediate reaction to something that scares me. And oftentimes things scare me because I'm not good at them and I'm afraid to adapt. And so my defense mechanism is to discount them completely. And I have to look at myself in the mirror and go, is this something that is, I really don't want to do? Or am I just afraid of it? And I think in some sense, I am afraid of it. So you have to take like what I'm saying with a grain of salt, because my bias, you know, my opinion is a, is, is completely influenced by emotion. You know what I have to say about doesn't really matter, but I sort of like try, I'm trying to find something that works for me and it will work for me until it doesn't and then I'll have to try and find something else, you know, it's it's but I can only be who I am. 0 (50m 38s): Right. I mean, I also have the same difficulty with trying to like self promotion and like Tik TOK to me is just like, I feel just, that's not my comfort zone whatsoever. Like, did you have any of those, like anxieties when you start? Like, when, like when your first song Rick started doing really well or, you know, you get like a television, you know, you have to play on TV. Like, are those things that came to you? And you're like, oh, wow. Like this is a lot to, 4 (51m 3s): Well, the, the anxiety of, of, of, of failures far higher, but like, you know, I sort of like tried to get as far as I possibly could without having to shamelessly self promote. And I didn't get very far and sort of like, you know, it feels like very antithetical to like the person that I am to like, be like the guy who's like, yo, listen to my should listen to my shit. Like 0 (51m 27s): Check it. Yeah. It's like 4 (51m 29s): Also, cause like, you know, like a lot of, a lot of the themes in my music or me trying to figure out who I am and where I exist in sort of like the world and like where, where my places in the world. And so for me to sort of like, you know, it's just, it just, it does feel very unnatural, but then like, you know, through the process of failure and also like having people in my life who told me to grow up and, and, and then also having the added pressure of like having to figure out how to do this in a way that's like financially sustainable. 4 (52m 12s): You realize that it's something ultimately that you have to do also, like, you know, if you don't like, you know, that whole idea, like build it and they will come. It's Like, it's just, it's just, but it's not like it is true. Cause, but it's not true. You have to build it, build it, advertise it and they will come. But if you build it and they don't know that it's there, like then no one's going to come. It's not going to come. You know what I mean? Like you gotta, like, someone has to, there has to be like, for example, like, you know, trying to think of like, you know, this is like, you don't often, oftentimes like the, a similar word is used to describe like, to separate phenomena, but like that are all like related in some way. 4 (52m 57s): So like the, like obviously there's the COVID virus, you know? And then there's like the virality of a song, but in a way that type of virality is similar because they're catchy, you know? And, and, but ultimately someone has to catch it, you know? And if you get, you know, if, if it's got to start somewhere, you know, so like you got to go out there and, 0 (53m 20s): And he's got to catch it too, to get the momentum by 4 (53m 25s): Like, to people that I'm like, you know, I work with and stuff. I'm like, what's our super spreader event, you know? And it just so happens that take time for my song, super spreader events for the COVID virus, you've been very careful we're following all the protocols and, and all of that. So not to be taken out of context because I would never want to be responsible for injecting, but, but I would love to be responsible for infecting people with <inaudible>. That is 0 (53m 56s): A common 4 (53m 57s): Song yeah, 0 (53m 60s): No. Yeah, no, I totally hear what you're saying. Cause it is, it's a, it takes somebody to then share it with somebody to, to have it eventually do what it's going to do. If you put it out and nobody cares, then you built it, but nobody came. 4 (54m 12s): Right. Exactly. Yeah. 0 (54m 14s): Wow. Oh, there's a really powerful song on your record. The last song, I mean that storyline itself is like, whoa. Tell me about coming up with that. 4 (54m 24s): Well, I just was driving to session one day and I was trying to come up with a song idea. This is like at the end of COVID, it was the last song that I wrote for the album. I wasn't even anticipating really writing, but I just decided that I wanted to, and I was going to my friend's house and I'm just like looking at my phone, trying to write while I was driving, which stupid. And then I realized like, oh, I could tell myself by doing this at world wars, kill somebody else or kill both of us. God forbid. And then I realized like, you know, one wrong turn can, can ruin everything. And that became the theme of the song. And I got to the studio, I had already written like a lot of it in my head. And then I decided that I wanted to tell the story, tell the, you know, convey the idea through stories and that's how it happened, but there's a twist and I don't want to give it away. 0 (55m 8s): Okay. Yeah. I didn't know if you're going to tell yeah. What a twister. So it is it's I was like, damn, this is it's just like, there should be a movie. 4 (55m 16s): Oh 0 (55m 16s): Really? Oh, wow. You had like a Dateline episode or something. Oh, I see. Real quick on some of your past stuff that you put out, like you have a couple of songs that you did in Mandarin. Do you, do you speak Mandarin or how did, how did that even come about? 4 (55m 36s): Oh, wow. It's like, okay, but it's not great. But I learned it when I was in my middle and high school and I always wanted to, like I said, like one of the things that in my life that I have a passion for is just like to communicate. And so, you know, in the same way that music is a music is alive, you know, it's like, is it is not in like it is, it is, but it's so like, it's such a cliche, but I wanted to learn Chinese because I felt like it was very awesome language to learn that would ultimately help me communicate with people that I would not otherwise have the opportunity to communicate with. 4 (56m 21s): And as I've grown up, I've sort of like learn different skills and hobbies and acquire different passions and stuff. And then I just like, you know, when it came time to figuring out how it was going to make it all work, I try to combine them. So 0 (56m 38s): Is it something you still practice today? Like, do you, are you 4 (56m 43s): Not like actively because I don't really have anybody in my life that's like is, is fluent Mandarin. So when I, when I travel and stuff, if there's opportunities for me to use my language in a setting that doesn't feel like too intimidating, then I'm inclined to, to, to practice. But not, not often, there's nothing like, there's something like being like fully immersed in a culture that helps you learn a language. And, and I don't have the, the opportunity to do that currently. 0 (57m 19s): Sure. No, I, yeah. I just thought it was so cool. And then I listened to the songs and it's you said music is a language, but not really, but you listened to the song and it, it doesn't matter if I can understand what you're saying or not. You can tell it's a great song. 4 (57m 31s): Oh, well, thanks. Yeah. I mean, you know, it's a language it's not necessarily like super precise, but when combined, when USIC and like language and like the traditional sense, like, you know, written language or like, you know yeah. Like, you know, English or whatever is combined with music. It it's, it's actually far more precise than like either one on its own. 0 (58m 1s): No, I, when you, when you released those, did you see like, did people that are native speakers of mannerism to, were they reaching out to you at all and saying like, Hey, like, that's so awesome that you decided to do this, or? 4 (58m 13s): Well, yes. 0 (58m 17s): Oh, 4 (58m 19s): I said it, but they said it. 0 (58m 21s): And then did you, could you respond to them? 4 (58m 24s): I immediately went to Yeah. It was really cool to see the resets and it did, it did really, it did really well in, in, in countries that, that speak Mandarin and you know, like China and that was cool. 0 (58m 45s): Okay. Yeah. No, that's rad. Oh, very cool. And then you have a tour coming up where you played some dates supporting the records so far, like the past couple of months, I think right now it's just gonna say, cause I was watching your, the tour videos you did. They're they're really cool. You're talking about the Coke can you're like this Coke can, can hold so much weight and then your body's like, try to stand on it. 4 (59m 12s): I'm glad you like that. 0 (59m 14s): Cool. 4 (59m 16s): But apparently they can, like, if they are actually like, not uncompromised, like they can hold like a pretty serious amount of weight, but they can't, they couldn't hold 0 (59m 27s): 10,000 pounds. 4 (59m 31s): But yeah, I'll see anything for a laugh when I get really bored on tour. It's always great. And I'm leaving for Europe in about 10 days and it's going to be really fun and yeah, I'm hoping that I can go and put some smiles on some people's faces and cause it's gonna make what a weird world. I hope that I'm going to go and, you know, put some smiles, I'm going to be smiling. I put a smile on my face. I'm excited to go and play, you know, and, and it's nice to interact with people and see people. So I can't wait. 0 (1h 0m 6s): And you're playing with a Winona Oak, I think on that tour. Right. Or some of those dates. She's great. I've had her on my, on this podcast twice. Oh, 4 (1h 0m 13s): You know her and I have yet to meet. So it's going to be here. 0 (1h 0m 17s): She's from such a cool little part. I think she's from Sweden. But if she's from like this island, that's kind of in the middle that it's just, it's kinda like the, the story behind a new record, but it's this beautiful place that had like really like a couple hundred people like living on it. It was just fascinating, 4 (1h 0m 36s): But her 0 (1h 0m 36s): Music is amazing. Amazing. So I know when you meet her, you're going to be like, she's, she's awesome. So 4 (1h 0m 41s): Excited. 0 (1h 0m 42s): Yeah. And then you're doing a tour through the states and Canada as well. I know you're coming here playing the Ryman in Nashville. I'm excited for that show. 4 (1h 0m 50s): Yeah, me too. I that's like a, one of my bucket lists menus. So the Ryman is, is a legendary, I mean like the artists that have been on that stage are, I mean, like some of the greatest artists of all times. So I I'm thrilled that I had the opportunity to, you know, even stand on that stage, you know, just I'm excited. 0 (1h 1m 19s): Where did you play last time you were here and you, you, did you play Opry? I can't remember. 4 (1h 1m 24s): I don't remember where it's like a large room. It's just sort of like a banquet room. Yeah. It wasn't a Cedar. It was a more of like a, 0 (1h 1m 35s): I can't remember. I know you sold it out, which is awesome and 4 (1h 1m 38s): Well, you know, thanks 0 (1h 1m 43s): So rad. Well, thank you so much for doing this, man. This has been so much fun. I appreciate your time. 4 (1h 1m 48s): Yeah. Sorry for the brief intermission. 0 (1h 1m 51s): No, no need to apologize. I appreciate you just doing this in general. One more question. Quick question. If you have any advice for aspiring artists, 4 (1h 2m 2s): You know, it's hard for me to give advice to people cause I'm like really still figuring things out myself. What's the advice I would give somebody I'm trying to sync. I want to, I was to like, I want to give like a funny answer, but I actually want to see if there's like something that like is the only thing that's popping into my head is like something that's like would be a joke, but I to give me a second, maybe there's something that will pop into my head that that is serious. That might be a value to somebody who is, oh, well, Hm. 4 (1h 2m 51s): I don't know. I don't really have any advice. I, I wish I did. It would ha you'd have to be more specific advice on what 0 (1h 3m 0s): I, was there something that you learned along the way that you could pass on to somebody that was like, how did, how do I keep doing this? Like, how did I, was there, you know, how did you continue going on when you felt like, or even something that I, after your record deal, falling out? Like, how do you, like, was there something that kept you going? Like, how did you keep going forward? 4 (1h 3m 23s): Well, this isn't necessarily a piece of advice, but something that I've, that I've learned, at least from me is there's this expression. It's like, well, I don't even know if this is the expression, but it's, it's better to follow your own sword. So like, it's better to make your own mistakes then, you know, for example, like if you've ever sort of like made a decision in your life where you kind of have a gut instinct that you're being pushed in the wrong direction, but you go in that direction for a period of time to appease others because you think it will be easier or because you're doubting yourself and you know, if they're right, great, you know, whatever. 4 (1h 4m 12s): But even then it's better to have your own successes. I feel, but failing when you knew that you should have gone, the other way is more painful than going the wrong way. And, and just living with your own mistake, you know, like if you, if you may, if you, if you go down a certain path because it feels right and it ultimately ends up being a dead end, like that's something that I can live with, you know, because I did it on my own accord, but when I compromise and I, I, I I'm, I fail because I listened to myself, I listened to someone else. 4 (1h 4m 58s): It's, it's always way more painful. 0 (1h 5m 1s): So 4 (1h 5m 2s): It's not necessarily a piece of advice, but you know, maybe like sort of a more cautionary sort of like, you know, if you're in a similar situation that that hearing that might, might help you in, you know, and it may also not 0 (1h 5m 18s): Know. I think that's great advice. I 4 (1h 5m 20s): Appreciate it. And maybe your gut instinct says to listen to others, 0 (1h 5m 26s): Follow your gut. 4 (1h 5m 27s): There've been times in my life. I know. I don't know, but something's like, don't, don't do this, but they're all telling me to do. Okay. And then inevitably, like, not inevitably, but there are situations in which they're wrong and it's like, I should have just dealt with the, the, the, the discomfort of having to disagree with them and go my own way.

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Alec Benjamin


Having come a long way from the days of promoting his music in parking lots of concert venues, singer-songwriter Alec Benjamin ended 2021 by playing to sold-out crowds across North America. With him, Alec brought on the road an already impressive resumé having reached 4B+ global streams, 10M+ social media followers across his platforms, 70M+ in playlist reach, and 1B+ YouTube views on his channel.

Following successes such as “Let Me Down Slowly” (Double-Platinum), “Water Fountain” (Platinum), and “Oh My God” (Gold), the self-made storyteller looks to continue to prove himself as, what TIME calls “a pop storyteller for the next generation.” With new tracks “Speakers,” “Shadow Of Mine,” “The Way You Felt” and “Older” which have combined for over 50 million streams, Alec delivered powerful performances of each song on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, The Late Late Show with James Corden and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon respectively. Alec looks to continue his retrospective run of new music into 2022 and show his fans and the world, why PAPER Magazine hailed him as “a storyteller who's mastered the art of turning everyday heartbreak into compelling pop songs.”