Alec Benjamin Talks Performing In The Street To Releasing His Brand New Mixtape
We grab five with the singer/songwriter, who talks hitting up Shawn Mendes fans for exposure and how it feels to have over 100 million streams and counting...
Alec Benjamin is one for your radar. His early demos have helped him develop a massive following on YouTube, and his breakout single 'Let Me Down Slowly' has earned over 85 million streams. He’s been playing shows all around the world over the past two years, including a coveted spot opening for Camila Cabello, and even lent his writing talents to Jon Bellion’s 2016 album The Human Condition.
He’s just dropped ‘1994’, showcasing his ear for evocative lyrics and earworm melodies. It’s the lead single from his Narrated For You mixtape which dropped today, and the streams are adding up quickly. Ahead of his upcoming UK and EU tour (which you can get tickets to here), MTV grabbed five with the songwriter to find out a little bit more about him...
Describe your musical style in 3 words.
"Singer-songwriter telling stories."
You’ve built a huge following on YouTube. How did you do that?
"Well, I went on tour with some artists (Jon Bellion, Matisyahu, Hoodie Allen) in 2016. When other artists like Troye Sivan and Shawn Mendes were in town on the same night, I would drive over to their show, play on the street for the people that were in line, hand out business cards with my social handles, and then go back to open for the artist I was touring with."
What’s the vibe like at these parking lot shows?
"It was uncomfortable at first. I was just some kid with a guitar going up to random people asking if I could sing for them. But it became easier over time and ended up being a great experience."
In songs like ‘If We Have Each Other’, you write from the perspective of a number of different people. Do you draw on real life experiences when you write from someone else’s point of view?
"I do draw from real life experiences but also do take poetic license and shape the story how I want to. I've never been comfortable being the centre of attention which I think is why my songs are in the form of stories and I call myself a narrator. I enjoy taking a more backseat role and guiding the story rather than being in it."
You have over 100 million streams worldwide. How does it feel to have so many people listening to such personal songs and what can fans expect from your upcoming EP ‘Narrated For You’?
"It's amazing! I couldn't be more excited to have that type of response around my music. People can expect a bunch of new songs including some songs like ‘Water Fountain’ that I previously uploaded to YouTube. I tried a few different things stylistically, but overall, it's my stories and I hope people like it."
What part of your European tour are you most looking forward to?
"I'm really excited for all of it. I can't wait to visit a bunch of new cities and play for new crowds across the world."