INTERVIEW: Ben Kessler cruises through our hearts with his impassioned voice and honesty

With an inspiration like Bon Iver and their song ‘Holocene’, one can only imagine the beautiful textures that Ben Kessler brings with him. We recently interviewed the young music artist to find out more about him.

At 22, Kessler seems one to look out for indeed.

Since releasing his self-produced debut single in 2019, Kessler has landed editorial placements in Spotify and Apple as well as got into Spotify’s Viral 50 chart in the Philippines and India, with Singapore, Jakarta, Taipei, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok being in his Top 10 cities, based on streaming.

Like the music artists that inspire him, there is an honesty about his songs, melding both a relatable lyricism and interweaving, almost kaleidoscopic layers.

His latest song ‘Cruise Control’ is a lit, suave and slightly smoky piece with textures and colours that almost feel like the vignettes in a photograph.

With his Cruise Control EP due out next month, we spoke to the young singer-songwriter and producer to ask him more about his latest track, his evolution (musically) so far, and what’s next for him.

AL365: Hi Ben, Vanessa here from AsiaLive365. Thank you for taking the time to do this interview with us. Congrats on your latest single “Cruise Control”. We love the colours and textures on the piece. What experiences inspired this song?

Ben: Thank you! I graduated college just as COVID was beginning — I was already feeling very anxious about moving on from the life I had built for 4 years… that anxiety combined with the feeling that the world was falling apart inspired “Cruise Control”. I wrote the song with my friend Jonah Shy about the feeling of wanting to find balance when there doesn’t seem to be any. 

AL365: What can you tell us about your upcoming debut EP and how excited are you about its release this March?

Ben: There are 5 songs, and they are all my favorite releases to date 🙂 It was so freeing having a canvas of 5 songs to play with — there are so many ideas, sounds & moments I’m excited to have out into the universe. I can’t wait to keep building out this world. 

AL365: You’ve said that you’re inspired by artists such as Kevin Garrett, Flume, SG Lewis, HONNE, Bon Iver, and James Blake. What’s your ultimate favourite song among them?

Ben: Ah impossible. I think I’d have to say Holocene by Bon Iver. That song (and that entire album) really made me fall in love with production & songwriting.

AL365: How about when you were younger – what sort of music/artists did you listen to growing up?

Ben: My parents played a little bit of everything: John Legend, Yo-Yo Ma, The Beatles. I listened to a lot of Green Day & AC/DC when I was young. When I was 13/14 I fell in love with John Mayer, Bon Iver, Sigur Ros, and Fleet Foxes. Those were the first artists that I was really a fan of. 

AL365: Tell us a bit about your musical journey. For instance, have you always known that you wanted to become a singer-songwriter and pursue music full-time?

Ben: I started playing guitar when I was 7. When I was 12, I borrowed my uncle’s computer and learned Garageband… that is how I got into production & songwriting. I don’t think I ever really made a decision to pursue music, I just never really stopped. Producing and writing in my bedroom evolved into playing shows and eventually brought me to Nashville for college. I spent a lot of time writing and producing with other artists and songwriters in Nashville all the while working on my own music. I finally wrote a few songs that felt like me in 2019, which is when I began releasing music.

AL365: What can you say about how your music has evolved from when you were younger in your studio basement, to right now into your debut EP?

Ben: I think (I hope!) I am a better writer, singer and producer than I was 10 years ago, but the essence of the music is the same. My musical heroes when I was 12 are still my heroes now, and my goal is still to write songs with really strong lyrics and the dopest production I can make

AL365: Besides the release of your new EP, are you working on anything else at the moment?

Ben: The next EP 🙂 And some exciting projects with other artists!

AL365: Is there anything you like to say to your fans out there about your new music or simply to say “hello”?

Ben: Hello! Thank you for listening and following along — I hope you can find some truth in this music and that it may mean as much to you as it means to me 🙂

AL365: Thanks again Ben. We can’t wait to hear the new EP!

Ben: Thank you <3

Ben Kessler’s debut album ‘Cruise Control’ will be released on March 11.

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