Artist To Watch: Here’s Why You Need To Start Listening To Benjamin Booker
Let me introduce you to your brand-new obsession, Artist To Watch, Benjamin Booker.
He's bold, daring and ridiculously talented, and his style of music may not be something you've heard before.
The "Violent Shiver" singer perfectly blends styles, bringing a new flare to older influences, resulting in an in-your-face sound. The 26-year-old has some serious guitar skills and a voice that will captivate any audience.
Who Is He?
He may be based in New Orleans, but Benjamin grew up in Tampa, Florida, where he was constantly attending punk shows as a teen. At the age of 14, his parents gave him a Christmas gift that would forever change his life: a guitar.
"My parents just got me a really terrible acoustic guitar and it was Christmas break and I just locked myself in my room for like forever," Benjamin told us at the Bonnaroo music festival. "I always liked playing. I didn't start writing songs until a couple of years ago."
After heading off to college at University of Florida where he studied journalism, he moved to New Orleans where he began honing his craft, and things certainly moved quickly. In 2012, he self-released his four track EP, signed with Dave Matthews' ATO Records in 2013, dropped his debut album in 2014, and Jack White personally requested that he be his opening act on tour.
What You Should Listen To
For Booker beginners, take a listen to "Violent Shiver" because it will leave you with just that. It's raw, different, daring and, with his raspy voice and impressive guitar skills, it will instantly make you want more. I suggest "Have You Seen My Son" for your next track.
Why You Should Listen
His self-titled debut album features electrifying and raucous tracks that are extremely close to the heart -- "I had written a bunch of songs individually to hand to friends so they are all very personal" -- but they also pack a punch, mixing several different genres.
"It's a mix of all the stuff I used to listen to when I was a kid," he said. "Living in New Orleans for the last few years, some of that. There's a little bit of '50s R&B, some blues, some punk, some jazz, a little bit of everything."
Until November, Benjamin will be on the road playing shows and festivals, but after that, it's time to start working on his next album. The singer said he will be heading back in the studio toward the end of the year to ready new music for 2016.