eddie benjamin

Australian musician, Eddie Benjamin, has experienced a searing rise over the last two years. Known for his multifaceted approach to the art form, the artist's talent knows no bounds, taking reign not only as a talented vocalist and songwriter, but also as a highly regarded producer and multi-instrumentalist.

Get to know EDDIE BENJAMIN in the SS22 Print Issue, available for pre-order exclusively at our shop

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Photography: Anthony Giovanni

Fashion: Edwin J Ortega 

Stylist assistant: Justice Jackson 

Grooming:  Nathaniel Dezan 

Cinematography:  Sasha Rodionov

Words: Jake Wright

Australian musician, Eddie Benjamin, has experienced a searing rise over the last two years. Known for his multifaceted approach to the art form, the artist's talent knows no bounds, taking reign not only as a talented vocalist and songwriter, but also as a highly regarded producer and multi-instrumentalist. After years spent working behind the scenes with some of the industry’s most sought-after artists, including the likes of Earth Wind and Fire, Shawn Mendes, and Meghan Trainor, Eddie has since stepped to the forefront where his eclectic style has endeared him to thousands of fans across the world. 2022 marks the artist's most important year to date, with the forthcoming release of his debut album. A moment that’s been long-awaited, and if the project’s lead single ‘Weatherman’ is anything to go by, listeners will be in for a treat. 

Eddie’s exposure to music came very early on, well you could say it came nigh on from birth. His father’s a professional musician, his mother’s a choreographer, and his sisters are dancers. Despite never being under any pressure to follow down a similar path, it was exactly the kind of creative household that could never have led to the artist doing anything else. “Music has been a big part of my upbringing. And just creative arts from a lot of different ways. I was just kind of around it, but I was never pushed into it.” The artist explains, “I was about 11 when I first picked up a guitar, and I was like, ‘Okay, this is cool.’ But I don't know, I'm not fully connected with it all the way. And then I remember my parents took me to a Prince concert on my 12th birthday. And I saw him slap a bass, I was like, ‘Oh, my God, what is that instrument? I need to learn how to play that.’ I think it all just clicked one day, and absolutely knew from when I was a little kid. I'm pretty extreme. So that really meant I really didn't fuck with anything else. Like, in terms of like, school, any ounce of authority whatsoever. I was like, fuck you. I'm going to sing. I'm going to play.”

However, such was his love for the arts, Eddie found himself stuck, growing up in a system that served no purpose to him. Perhaps it was an obsession, or perhaps it was the fact Eddie knew from the offset there was only one possible career for him. So, instead of doing homework or even thinking about his studies, the artist spent every free moment learning instruments and throwing his heart and soul into the art form. “I was really struggling in school. I think a brain like mine has a really difficult time being told what to do and the things you've been told to do seem so insanely pointless to me. I was getting in trouble all the time, just kind of scraping along.” Eddie proclaims, “I really had a dream right away. I would just be really spending every ounce of every second I had just working, playing, and practicing music. I just knew I wanted to do it straight away. And I knew I wanted to push the envelope. Not only creatively with songs, but I had just so many ideas that I needed to execute.”  

So, Eddie worked immediately to turn this passion into a career. By the age of 13, he was impressing jazz haunts, and holding down a residency at a nightclub in the Bondi Beach area in which he grew up. However, an International following soon followed when the artist started posting cover videos on social media. Material shot by an unconvinced father laid the artist's foundations and opened up a world of opportunities. “I started posting videos right around when Instagram started allowing videos on the platform. I was like, ‘Okay, maybe I should start posting some music videos.’ And I just didn't think about it.” He explains, “I would just force my dad to record. He's like, ‘What the fuck? What is this platform? This is bullshit.’ I was like, ‘Nah, trust me. Let's post some shit on it. You know, just start going.’ And eventually, it was pretty funny. I remember getting like my first 1000 views. I was like, ‘Holy shit. This is crazy.’”  

Not only did those videos help build a following, but they also became a form of emotional escape. Eddie quickly branched out beyond covers, writing songs about the way he was feeling, creating a truly personal approach to his lyrical style. It’s become an integral part of the artist he is today, and such vulnerability has endeared him to fans across the world. “Honestly, some days, I would just be really upset and film a video.” The artist states, “So, I'm singing these songs for 60 seconds, I'm going to start focusing on making songs for people that get this core kind of movement out of me. And yeah, that's kind of when I started getting a little more serious. But I just knew these platforms of social media, like, I just needed to get myself about them and be as loud as fucking possible. I remember just the moment anyone kind of noticed me, I would handle that relationship and really listen to what they said and kind of use that information.” 

  

In a rather strange twist of fate, Instagram became the catalyst for a close bond with fellow Australian musician, Sia, a personal hero of Eddie’s. After posting a cover rendition of one of the artist’s songs, the video was shared by his now long-term partner, Maddie Ziegler, Sia’s muse, and Goddaughter. It led to Eddie being mentored by an artist he truly admired. The timing of which was impeccable, just as Eddie was starting to work with other writers, such advice has been savored to this day. “It was definitely amazing to have her to talk to. I feel like this world, in terms of being an artist, and putting stuff out there, like, it's a really scary thing.” He states, “And like just hearing some of their stories and hearing their freakouts and hearing what they had to go through and seeing how I can do better and draw boundaries and kind of keep the circle really tight and all these things like I take those things really seriously. I definitely apply a lot of those things that we talked about just straight off the bat. I'm beyond grateful to have those kinds of relationships. It kept me out of trouble.” 

Soon after, Eddie traded Australia for the US, at the age of 17, in a move that would project his career to new heights. But it wasn’t without its teething issues to begin with, as the artist explains: “We tried to get some sessions and I remember before kind of anyone knew me like there were months of rejection, just like people not showing up on the day, and then someone would show up and I'm like, ‘Oh my god, this is horrendous.’” However, in a chance encounter, Eddie bumped into Meghan Trainor during a studio session. The two artists immediately clicked, and within a day they were working together on her next record. “I actually met Meghan Trainor at Ryan Tedder studio, and she was like, ‘I just saw a video of you, I need a song for my album, you want to come over tomorrow and make it?’ I was like, ‘Sure!’” The artist proclaims, “So that was kind of just the first. I don't go out and pitch songs and holla ideas out. That's kind of just not what I do. Because I like to keep the creation as kind of raw as possible for me.” 

Such a collaboration sparked a domino effect, and soon the artist was in hot demand. Not only did Eddie’s reputation grow with each release, but so did his knowledge of the industry. Working with Shawn Mendes for example gave the artist insight into an alternative artist’s perspective, where seemingly small approaches such as, “Knowing when to leave the room, knowing when to give people space” Helped the artist expand his horizons. But I couldn’t help but wonder, being in the studio with such esteemed names, so young, was there an overbearing feeling of pressure? The artist was unwavering in his response: “Not at all. Maybe like, a little bit of excitement, but I had just put in so much work and I just really knew I could kind of hold my own. I mean, of course, there's always pressure, you know, there's like, 50 people on the publishing side calling in asking me a bunch of things. But I was just like, ‘Alright, I'm here. I'm fucking working so hard. I want to be the best. So, let's go.’ It was my kind of mentality.”

Such experience culminated in the launch of his solo career in 2020, and his debut EP, ‘Emotional’ which arrived last year. The latter of which really acted as a springboard, with singles ‘Speechless’ and ‘Diamond Eyes’ featuring Sia, receiving commercial success. It was a project that had been written a number of years prior, and told the story of a life in transition, preparing to move away from his homeland to an ideal place in LA where his career could take flight. However, in many ways, it was a project that served a purpose, warming the world to his unique creative vision and his debut album. “I was still really working on my album. So, I was kind of just like, let's throw a couple of songs together. I don't really have much music out.” Eddie explains, “So, we kind of just wanted to put something out. I definitely try to always write real things that are kind of intimate. I feel like ever since I was15, 16, 17 when I wrote that EP, like, I was like, I need to come in being real.”

Unsurprisingly, given the years Eddie had spent perfecting his craft behind the scenes, his music was instantly revered. What particularly caught the eye was the artist's ability to take inspiration from multiple different genres, creating his own authentic sound in the process. Eddie also stood out for his charismatic approach to songwriting, given how personal each of those songs was, the artist appeared so relatable. Such a response gave Eddie confidence, especially when it came to his next project. “I was kind of like, just wait until you guys hear what the fuck I have coming.” The artist proclaims, “Like, that's kind of what my mentality was. But honestly, yeah, feeling like the great responses, some of the more organic things, and just the music, it just drove me more.”

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The artist delivered on that statement in February when he released ‘Weatherman’, the first single from his upcoming debut album, which is expected to arrive during the fall season. It’s a song that acts as the perfect prelude of what’s to come. Centered around a beautiful shimmering piano melody and an addictive P-bass line, it’s a production style that draws on the past for inspiration, taking aspects from the sixties, seventies, and eighties and merging them with Eddie’s vision of the future. Ultimately, it’s an aesthetic that allows Eddie’s stunning vocals to shine.  “I feel like it’s the first kind of song that really tackles the start of my sound and where it's going to go and where it's going to dictate a more upbeat, and uplifting kind of way.” The artist explains, “And sonically, we're really trying to push the limits of marrying kind of the new elements with the old. That's kind of the goal because the way music sounds to me at the moment, it's extremely repetitive, everyone sounds like each other. And I'm really not trying to fit in at all. I'm just trying to fucking be myself and be loud. I'm not going to change anything.”

‘Weatherman’ also shows the artist at his most introspective to date, detailing a period in his life where he was crippled by severe anxiety, something that made him feel totally out of control. It’s a story that’s bought to life by an encapsulating music video that really shines a light on the darkness that surrounded Eddie at the time of writing the song. Surrounded by mannequins, the artist strikes a lonely figure, stuck in the world of his inner thoughts, with those demons shown running wild through a range of rapidly changing scenes. “The song is kind of pleading to a greater power. Having a conversation, can we be okay today because I know, I don't control these emotions.” The artist states, “The music video represents the chaotic nature - the mannequin's representing kind of this outer layer of consciousness - the chaotic nature of how these things can disrupt life. Then, kind of coming through and fighting it, being on a talk show, being interrogated by yourself every day, and kind of finding the power in yourself to break through. I was feeling at my lowest, but I really just wanted to spring up and fight one more time.”

 

Such personal themes are the driving force behind the album and throughout Eddie consistently shines a light on moments where he appears at his most vulnerable. Whether it be on ‘All For Nothing’, where he delves into the aspect of heartbreak and being cheated on, or ‘Only You’ featuring Alessia Cara, which is designed as a self-deprecating love song, that acknowledges his own extremities and the difficulties his partner can face being in a relationship with him. What’s clear is that the album was designed to show the world the real Eddie Benjamin and it’s a truly genuine artistic statement. “The album explores different kinds of energies and sonic structures. But again, it's a short album, because I know where I'm going.” Eddie proclaims, “These seven songs are like every pivotal moment in my life so that the whole album is kind of an extremity of emotions. I think anyone that knows me would say I'm a pretty extreme person, I'm feeling the worst you could be or the best.”

As Eddie briefly stated earlier, sonically the album sees the artist venture into previously unexplored territory. As a result of numerous studio sessions with pop legends that never quite hit what he was looking for, Eddie turned to Kid Culture, a rising figure in the hip-hop world to co-produce the project. Such a collaboration was unlikely on paper, given the Australian's traditional jazz background, these weren’t two genres that would be expected to blend together, but the process created special results. “When I got into the studio with Kid Culture, it was something creatively happened that I've never experienced before. We just kind of, just instantly connected and started this journey.” The artist explains, “I don't think anybody's ever put in that much time. He really gave his soul to the music. He was kind of the person that went on that journey with me, you know, living with me writing the songs being there every step of the way. When I'm crying or freaking out, he's there. I think getting to that point was really interesting, right? Because he comes from such a different background to me. I remember even the label being like, ‘What the hell like, you can be with all these people, you pick this kid.’ And I'm like, ‘Trust me. What's happening with marrying two sounds just felt really right.’” 

In a quest to bring a true aspect of magic to the album, Eddie and his team decamped to a house in Malibu, where they built their own home studio and worked tirelessly on the project for a month. Originally from the Australian coast, the beautiful scenery was a reminder of home and served an endless array of inspiration. But it wasn’t easy, such a deadline meant the need for instant results and although the process was strenuous, it got the best out of everyone involved. “I grew up on the beach. So yeah, it kind of helped take me home.” Eddie states, “But it was also a really pressurizing month, those 30 days were the days I had to make the songs. It was a real moment of realization, and it was intense, but I think having the water was such a big thing for me, I'd go surfing anytime I could. It was interesting having a bunch of musicians in there with me having like four different drum kits hooked up and then like, you know, Kid Culture has three different laptops, doors, FL studios, he has an MPC, he has all these different tools to his exposure to kind of craft this sound and he comes from a really hip-hop world, that he also like, understands pop music and arrangement.” 

Throughout my time speaking to Eddie, he was always focused on what was coming next. Even the relatively short length of the album – being just seven tracks - was a pre-determined decision, as album number two was already in the pipeline. It was abundantly clear to me that he lives for his art form, and you get the impression it consumes his every thought. But that’s what makes the artist quite so unique, at least in my experience, to come across someone who exudes such creative energy is extremely rare, and the result is truly infectious.  “My goal is to get a second album out late this year. I kind of want to have two albums out by the time I'm 21. I think the work can speak for itself.” He proclaims, “I definitely have an overarching goal. You know, things happen. I definitely like moving around a lot this year. This is like my first year traveling a lot. And seeing my schedule being kind of locked down the whole year, I'm like, ‘Holy shit, this is real right now.’ But yeah, definitely, have album two in the scope and shooting for it for sure.”

During our one-hour zoom call, Eddie didn’t stand still once, it wouldn’t have surprised me if he surpassed 100 laps of his apartment, but such action really struck me at just how passionate he is about his career. He was by far the most creative person I’d spoken to, and I often had to remind myself that the artist was only 20 years old. Perhaps it’s down to how many years he’s spent plying his trade, but he spoke with knowledge and self-belief that vastly exceeded his age. Although a creative blessing, such energy can also be of detriment at times, as Eddie explains: “I'm still learning how to control my brain. I think everyone my age, being a hyper-creative person, I'm still absolutely learning.” He states, “I'm calling our managers six, seven different times. Just completely frantic. It's kind of just how my brain moves and walks. When you're working, especially when it's serious. Like, ‘Hey, like, we've spent a lot of time on this. We really need to focus on this.’ It definitely can keep you up at night. All the ideas or all the ways things could go as I'm sure you know.”

Now, Eddie is embarking on a 42-date tour across the US, supporting Justin Bieber on his Justice world tour. It signals just how far the artist has come since launching his solo career and the experience will be the artist's first time playing in front of arena crowds. I wondered if such a journey in under two years was somewhat surreal, especially when Justin had called Eddie ‘the future’, but for the artist, it’s his vision and self-belief becoming reality. “I think if you were to have met me before I wrote my album I was just like, ‘I'm going to fucking do this. I believe I can be the best at this. I love this kind of beyond anything.’” Eddie states, “There's definitely been a few moments of thinking, ‘Holy shit, like $50 an hour. Now I'm playing like in an arena tour. This is insane.’ I've definitely had some of those moments where I'm like, ‘Holy shit, I'm in the studio with one of my heroes right now.’ But at the same time, I kind of have this shop confidence of just like, ‘I need to do this.’ And I think I was definitely pretty fearless. The more you get through 17 to 19 to 20. You know, your conscious gets bigger and some thoughts try to sway you back.”

Eddie Benjamin is a special talent. His ability to work alongside some of the world's most notorious musicians from the age of 17 showed not only remarkable talent, but an unwavering sense of self-belief and tenacity. Such traits have created the perfect platform to launch his solo career and his forthcoming album is the ultimate portrayal of the artist Eddie has become. Honing a sound that’s unique, and a fearless approach to songwriting that’s void of any sense of ego - sonically it’s a joy to behold. With his hyper-creative mindset, we can only imagine what he’ll deliver on his next album, although I’m sure we won’t have to wait long. With the artist still so young, and with an abundance of material already in the works behind the scenes, you get the impression that this is really just the beginning. Everything points to 2022 being Eddie’s year, and who’d bet against it? Watch this space.

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