Ben Stevenson is taking the Canadian music scene by storm with his newest release, EP Dirty Laundry, which has been nominated for Best R&B/Soul Recording of the Year with “Summer Dealer” and “Imagining You” at the 2015 JUNO Awards.
The Edmonton native parted ways from his indie rock band Our Mercury after 12 years together to focus on a solo career, with his sound evolving from album to album. His soulful falsetto coupled with moody production on Dirty Laundry can best be described as a relaxing Friday night in with a nice glass of merlot.
With the release of his sultry new music video for “Ecstasy” and getting ready for the JUNO Awards, Ben squeezed some time in his busy schedule to chat with us:
theXtraMile (X) : Hey Ben! I recently listened to your new EP for the first time and absolutely fell in love with your musicality, vocals, the production…just everything. It’s art. Where did you get the inspiration to write Dirty Laundry from?
Ben: Quite a lot of things. With the content of that record, it was mostly inspired from the ups and downs of romantic relationships. Going through things like heartache and finding solace in stuff like that. Some of the love songs could sound like they’re about girls or just my love of music.
X: What kind of music inspires you?
Ben: I have a pretty eclectic range of genres that I admire. Old soul music, dancehall, hip hop, folk, jazz, country music, anything really. I’m recently obsessed with Daniel Caesar, incredible young soul artist. TOPS from Montreal are great too.
X: Since the JUNO Awards are coming up, if there was any one Canadian artist you could collaborate with, who would it be and why?
Ben: Hmmm, so many great Canadian artists. Hard to choose just one especially when I’ve been in the Canadian music scene for around 20 years now. Just off the top of my head, I’d say Daniel Caesar. I love this kid: really young and talented. We’re actually already doing some work together. It’ll also be nice to do something with Grimes. She’s super cool.
X: Grimes! I’d love to see what you two could create together. Have you always dreamt of making the kind of music you’re making right now?
Ben: No. It’s constantly changing. Whatever’s striking me at the time I’m creating – that’s what I’m going to make. I grew up playing in a punk band going through changes in sound year to year. We moved through whatever direction we wanted to move in. I always had this evolving nature in whatever I do.
X: So how do you see your music progressing?
Ben: I’d love to treat every piece as its own thing and let it be what it needs to be. It’s fun to just explore and let the music speak for itself. It’ll move in different directions for sure. I just hope I’m always outdoing myself with every new progression.
X: Last question! How does Ben Stevenson go “the Xtra mile”?
Ben: I’m never satisfied. Whatever I’m doing, I want to do better. If it’s a relationship, I want to be the best I can be. In all aspects, for better or for worse. Sometimes you wear yourself out or it’s a little intense. I’ve always been dedicated to doing my best.
Catch Ben Stevenson preforming at the JUNO Fest on Friday, March 13. More details can be found at www.junoawards.ca
Watch Ben Stevenson’s new video for “Ecstasy” below!