Before finding his place behind an acoustic guitar and in front of an audience, 19-year-old singer-songwriter Alec Benjamin sheepishly confesses to having once been an aspiring rapper. “The first record I ever owned was Eminem’s, ‘The Eminem Show.’ I can remember sitting in school and writing rhymes in the margins of my notebooks instead of paying attention. I know it drove my teachers nuts!” His dreams of rap superstardom have long since vanished, but his musical aspirations have taken on new meaning.
Upon entering high school, Benjamin began broadening his musical preferences to include soul artists like Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding, and Stevie Wonder. Inexplicably moved by what he heard, it wasn’t long before Benjamin picked up the guitar and taught himself to play as a way to pay homage to these iconic musicians. “It quickly dawned on me that I was strumming along with the chords of songs that transformed generations. The words that I was singing united me with the millions of people across the globe who share the same genuine love for this music as I do.” Benjamin says it was this realization that inspired him to take another stab at writing his own songs, only this time, he aimed to pen soulful melodies instead of rhymes. Of his writing style Benjamin says, “I think things are best when in their most natural state. I feel that a song is good when it can be broken down to its bare bones structure, just an acoustic guitar and a voice, and it still makes you want to sing. If I can do that, then I might just have something.”
After spending countless afternoons holed up in his bedroom crafting songs, Benjamin decided it was time to share his music with an audience. While he has been compared to Jason Mraz and Amos Lee, he somehow found himself opening up for an ACDC tribute band in his hometown of Phoenix, Arizona for his first live performance. “I was so nervous before I walked on stage that I forgot my set list,” he reveals, “my palms were so sweaty I was worried I would have trouble playing, but I made the best of it and I walked away feeling excited and proud.”
These days Benjamin continues to work on perfecting his craft, frequently playing for audiences in both Phoenix and Los Angeles and collaborating with talented songwriters (including Stefan and Sacha Skarbek) with a single goal in mind: bringing people together. “We all come from different walks of life,” he explains, “but music is a common denominator for all of us, something we all share.”
And in his own words: Hi. My name is Alec. This is my Bio. I’m really not that into having a bio but they told me I needed a bio of 250 words for this so…. I’m from Phoenix, Arizona. I like Arizona. Arizona has a lot of cool plants and shit. The cactus is super cool. It’s pretty hot in Phoenix. Arizona is kinda boring but they have roadrunners and roadrunners are fucking cool. So are Javalinas. Javalinas are desert pigs sorta. But they aren’t actually pigs. They actually belong to the rodent family. Think about it…
I moved to LA cause my parents said I had to go to college. I live in LA now. I miss home. I’m into hip-hop. I also like cartoons. Oh yeah, and I like to draw shit. I have some cool friends. I like to hang out with my friends. I don’t really do that much on the weekend. I think monopoly is a fun game. I play that shit with my friends all the time.
Uh, I’m trying to think of some other shit to say but I really can’t so please excuse me while I try and reach my word count.
Um… I’m like 5’9. Medium build. I like to take long walks. Oh yeah, I like to skateboard. I don’t really like driving. I’m not that good at it. Uh.. I can feel it, I think im getting close to 250 words. Almost there. Almost there. Almost there. Almost there. Almost there. Yes! I’m there.