Artist Spotlight: Alec Benjamin

Article & Photos By Yising Kao

Alec Benjamin is an artist whose music style fits into the acoustic pop genre. He’s one of my favorite artists and I’m excited to tell you about his story! A few years ago, Alec sang and played his guitar outside concert venues for people attending concerts such as Shawn Mendes and Jacob Whitesides. He wanted to get his name out there and do what he loves, and he released his one of his first singles along with his first music video called Water Fountain in 2016, which is a beautiful song. Alec then earned the opportunities to tour with Jon Bellion and Call Me Karizma in 2016. He also did a 2016 Living Room Tour where he road-tripped to fans’ houses to perform intimate shows, which is amazing!

Eventually, Alec played outside a meet and greet and concert event called PressPlay, and asked the founder if he could perform on the PressPlay Tour. Guess what? He did just that. I was referred by a friend to shoot photos and videos for PressPlay in Los Angeles on January 7, 2017, so I attended it and ran around the whole day, shooting content for the recap video. I had looked up the performers beforehand, but I was completely blown away by Alec’s performance. He sang some of his originals such as his debut single Paper Crown, and I related to the lyrics so much. After the show, I asked to interview him for the recap, but he said he didn’t like being on camera (which I completely understand!) so we ended up just talking and I told him how I admired how meaningful his lyrics were. Within the next few months, I attended PressPlay San Diego (he was comfortable doing an interview!) to shoot and support him, and he also showed me and some others his amazing demo of Now She’s Getting Married, which is now released. I also went to his free show at UnUrban Coffee House, which is an awesome place for entertainment and caffeine, and the show was packed! Alec went from being dropped from his label in 2016 to getting signed to Atlantic Records, becoming a successful artist, and I couldn’t be prouder of him. He’s truly inspiring and his journey shows how if you work hard and are passionate about something, then you can achieve your goals.

I recommend everyone to check out his mixtape EP, Narrated For You, released on November 16! What I love about his music is that he tells stories and his lyrics are incredibly genuine; there’s a piece of his personal experiences in each song. His songs paint a unique picture in my mind and his voice is extremely soothing. Everything happened so fast with Alec and I’m happy he’s getting the recognition he deserves. It’s both amazing and bittersweet watching an artist grow and gain a large number of fans, but I wish nothing but the best for Alec and his future endeavors, and I’ll always support him!

Concert Review

I attended Alec’s hometown show at Valley Bar in Phoenix, Arizona on Saturday, December 8, 2018 with my friend Stef, for his first headlining tour. We’re from Los Angeles so we attended his show there the previous day, but hometown shows are always the best and we love traveling! While we waited in line, I asked some fans if they wanted to be interviewed for my recap video I was shooting. There were a group of girls who were cutting out red paper hearts, and they passed them out to everyone to hold up when Alec performed Worst Day of My Life, a song about his experience from getting dropped from a record label a few years ago; Alec went to their house during his 2016 Living Room Tour, so it was awesome hearing about how they’ve supported him throughout the years. It was a really cute project and we did hold up the hearts, which Alec appreciated. Kyle Nicolaides opened up for Alec and his performance was really engaging with the audience. During one song, he wanted to perform without a microphone, so it was more intimate. Next, Alec came out with his acoustic guitar and performed 1994 and If I Killed Someone for You, two of my favorites. During If I Killed Someone for You, he asked us to sing the echo part of the song’s chorus, which was fun.

He also performed a cover of Stan by Eminem, which he has covered on his Instagram livestreams, and it was cool to listen to him rap! My favorite song of Alec’s is Paper Crown, so watching him perform it on the keyboard was really beautiful. He said that the song was inspired by the Statue of Liberty, rather than an insecure girl. It holds a special place in my heart since it’s the first song of his I’ve listened to, and the lyrics mean a lot to me. Alec’s friend and musician Nathan Fertig accompanied some of his songs by playing the keyboard and Launchpad, and harmonizing. This contributed to the songs in an amazing way because I could hear every unique musical aspect such as the beat and drums, and I love how organic it was.

Between some songs, Alec told us little stories or made comments, which were pretty funny. At one point, he said that he missed being home and everyone who knew that the plural form of “cactus” is “cacti” (we Californians think it’s “cactuses”). At every show, Alec gives something random away, but he probably forgot to this time. For the Los Angeles show, he gave away a small rubber foot to my friend Jenna, and at the last Los Angeles show, he gave me a baby baptism card. Nice!! Other songs that Alec performed included If We Have Each Other, Outrunning Karma, Boy in the Bubble, Now She’s Getting Married, Anabelle’s Homework, Steve, and Death of a Hero. My favorite part of If We Have Each Other is the bridge, where he sings “I'm 23, and my folks are getting old/I know they don't have forever and I'm scared to be alone/So I'm thankful for my sister, even though sometimes we fight.” The lyrics are meaningful and make me tear up because I can relate to them, and it was sweet how his family was at the show to support him. Alec performed Water Fountain second to last, and said that he thought it was weird how artists left the stage and came back for an encore. So he told us he would leave the stage for a second and we should pretend to be surprised when he came back for his “encore” of Let Me Down Slowly. Overall, the concert was incredible and I love the intimacy of acoustic sets. Everyone was singing along and looked so happy. Also, Alec is a super genuine and sweet person. He stays after his shows to meet every single person even though he doesn’t have to. Can’t wait for his next upcoming Outrunning Karma tour!

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