#MuzikSpeaks: An Interview with Ben Haenow


   

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Ben Haenow is probably best known for winning X Factor back in 2014. From there, he released his self-titled, debut album, the lead single from which (Second Hand Heart), featured the singing sensation that is Kelly Clarkson. Now, 2018 has seen the release of his second studio album, Alive. We thought it was a good time to catch up with Ben about everything he’s been up to and more! Check out what he had to say, in this interview…


Hey Ben, how’s it going?
Great thanks! Thanks for having me.

So you are about to release your second album, ‘Alive’, how do you feel prior to a new release? Is it nerve-wracking or exciting?
Yeah, a bit of both. I’m anxious but really can’t wait for people to hear the new tracks so bring it oooon!

Where did the idea for the title come from and what’s the meaning behind it?
The lead track is called ‘Alive’. It was basically written as a thank you to the fans for keeping my dream alive, so we went with that for the album too.

What’s the track you’re most excited for people to hear? What’s your usual process for writing/recording?
The process can vary, sometimes it starts with a vocal melody, or maybe a just a lyric idea or guitar lick. Then it develops from there. It might take a day, a week or longer before it’s all done but that’s the beauty of it. You can take a bit more time writing and playing with sounds until you’re happy. I’d say ‘Give Me Your Love’ is one I want to see reactions too.

Where do you take inspirations from when writing/recording your music?
I guess for this album, the inspiration came from my experiences between X Factor and now. I try to draw on personal experiences when writing as I feel people connect more with something if there is truth/reality in a lyric.

Collaborating with Kelly Clarkson must’ve been pretty cool, how was it?
It was great! She is obviously a very talented lady and boy can she siiiiiing! She was a true professional and an absolute pleasure to work with.

If you could collaborate with anyone else, who would it be and why?
Gary Clarke Jr
– I think the bluesy vibe is really cool and he has a pretty awesome voice too. I love his musical style.

What music have you been listening to most recently?
I’ve been listening to a lot of Stevie Wonder recently so I’m on a soul trip at the moment.

If you had to cover a recent chart song, which song would it be and why?
Selena Gomez
’s ‘Wolves’ – I love the song and have an idea I’d like to try.

That’d be pretty cool…you should do it! So, do you have any pre or post-gig rituals? Or have any of you got any weird habits?
Lots of weird habits if you ask my wife… but we (me and the band) have a ritual which we call ‘Ukla’… I cannot tell you what it is but we UKLAA before every show.

Do you have any other passions outside of music?
I love to cook… and eat.

What really grinds your gears (winds you up)?
The song ‘Jellicle Cats’ from Cats the Musical… I like real cats but that song, and those cats REALLY grind my gears!!

What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you, in life?
I was 14, at a motorway service station, whilst en route to Devon with my dad and brother. I was wearing the Kappa tracksuit trousers with the poppers all the way down the legs… my brother thought it would be funny to pull my trousers completely off leaving me in my pants and a t-shirt in the middle of Little Chef!

Oh dear; that’s pretty embarrassing! So, what’s the best film you’ve seen lately?
Guardians of the Galaxy 2… they’re great films.

If, in say 10 years time, a film was made about your life, who would you want to play you?
Danny DeVito or Morgan Freeman… that would be fantastic.

If you were a chocolate bar, which one would you be and why?
I’d probably be a KitKat… chunky.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Don’t eat yellow snow… or brown snow… or snow in general!

Thanks very much for taking the time to chat!
No problem and thank you for having me!!! Hope to speak soon.


Ben Haenow‘s latest album, Alive, is available:


Enjoyed this? Check out some of our other interviews here:

Muzik Speaks Interviews


#MellowMonday: Jesse Boykins III – ‘Plain’

Jesse

Today’s #MellowMonday song has a pretty interesting style; it’s a relatively new and modern one. Here with a ‘neo-soul’ genre is Jesse Boykin’s III‘s song ‘Plain’.

This type of music is a unique collection of modern-day electronic sounds mixed alongside other older, soul-styled aspects.

Jesse Boykins III claims influence from Stevie Wonder; this can be heard in his 2014 album ‘Love Apparatus’ even though it features modern piano, synths and electronic samples. I really like the style Boykins creates through his music; listening to his albums I can notice how it develops in a variety of ways, in each song.

Critics say he has kept up very well with the fast developing styles of R&B, but in his own original way; which I truly appreciate!

Watch the pretty interesting dance-lyric video for Jesse Boykins III’s ‘Plain’. This is my favourite song from ‘Love Apparatus’!

Max – Muzik Speaks
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#ThrowbackThursday / #ThrowbackThreesday: Will Smith

Will Smith Banner

This week’s #ThrowbackThursday consists of the legendary Will Smith; not only is Will Smith renowned for his fantastic acting and producing but also his rapping and songwriting talents, having written some massive chart-topping tunes!

So when it came down to choosing a track I found it virtually impossible to pick just one song and therefore have decided to do another #ThrowbackThreesday (like I did previously, in memory of Lil’ Chris).

First off, is one of Will Smith’s biggest UK hits and in fact his only, solo, UK Number 1, Men In Black. The song was not only the lead song taken from 1997 film, Men In Black, but it was also Will’s first solo single. The song also features samples of Patrice Rushen‘s ‘Forget Me Nots’.

Will Smith – ‘Men In Black’ featuring Coko

Next, in 1999, was another massive hit for Will, taken from another film, Wild Wild West. This scored him a Number 2 in the UK Charts and was yet another memorable track of his. I’m not ashamed to say that I know all of the words to this song…and yes, I feel “damn good though, if I can say it myself” when I sing along! The song features samples of Stevie Wonder‘s song, ‘I Wish’.

Will Smith – ‘Wild Wild West’ featuring Dru Hill & Kool Moe Dee

Later on, in 1999, Will released his final single of the year, inspired by the turning of the new millennium. The video features many celebrities including DJ Jazzy Jeff, Eve, K-Ci and more and sees Will perform in a variety of time-travelling settings. Another catchy Number 2 for the rapper/hip hop star and it features samples of The Clash‘s ‘Rock The Casbah’ and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five‘s ‘Superappin”.

Will Smith – ‘Will 2K’ featuring K-Ci

I hope you enjoy re-living these tracks as much as I am!

Do you remember these tracks? Have you got a different, Will Smith track for your #ThrowbackThursday? Please share this with your social media friends.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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These songs are available to purchase on iTunes now, and are all featured on the album Will Smith: Greatest Hits – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/will-smith-greatest-hits/id206201734