interview by MAREK BARTEK

Multi-platinum singer/songwriter Alec Benjamin best known as “a pop storyteller for the next generation” (TIME) for his soulful lyrics and modern perspective on relationships and heartbreak. Alec is releasing his third studio album ‘12 Notes’ today (10th May).

Your new album ‘12 Notes’ is coming out soon. Can you give us a glimpse into the creative process behind this project and what listeners can expect from it?
The creative process behind ’12 Notes’ was like taking a deep dive into my own emotions and experiences. Each song is a reflection of those. All of my albums are, in a way, my diary, so these songs are just twelve journal entries. Fans can expect to get an intimate look at these journal entries, and at the phase of life I was in when I wrote them.

TIME referred to you as a “pop storyteller for the next generation” for your soulful lyrics and modern perspective on relationships. How do you approach songwriting and themes you explore in your music?
Songwriting for me is about storytelling. I draw inspiration from everyday experiences, personal anecdotes, and observations about life. My goal is to create music that resonates with people, touching on universal themes and emotions that everyone can relate to. My hope is that these songs inspire the listener to reflect on their own journeys, ask questions and engage with the music on a deeper level.

Your journey as a musician began with performing covers outside stadium venues. How has your musical style evolved since then, and what experiences have influenced your growth as an artist?
My musical style has changed significantly since my early days performing covers outside stadiums. I’ve honed my songwriting craft, experimented with different sounds, and incorporated more storytelling elements into my music. The experiences I’ve had, both positive and challenging, have shaped me as an artist and contributed to my growth. Fun fact – I played in the parking lot outside one of Khalid’s shows, and he is now a feature on the album!

You’ve described yourself as an introverted artist. Navigating the music industry, how do you balance the demands of fame and the need for personal space and authenticity?
I really try to prioritise staying true to myself and maintaining authenticity in everything I do. I find solace in my music and use it as a way to express my thoughts and emotions honestly. It’s important to set boundaries and take time for self-care amidst the demands of the industry, especially now that social media is so prominent.

Your song ‘I Sent My Therapist To Therapy’ garnered significant attention for its candid portrayal of mental health struggles. How do you hope your music contributes to destigmatizing mental illness and encouraging open conversations about mental health?
Mental health is a topic that’s close to my heart, and I believe music can be a powerful tool for destigmatizing it and starting important conversations. Through songs like ‘I Sent My Therapist To Therapy,’ I aim to shed light on mental health struggles and hope that it helps the listener to know they aren’t alone in their struggles.

Your commitment to mental health advocacy is evident in your music and public statements. Why is it so important for you to speak up about it, and try to bring more awareness to your audience?
My hope is that when people hear the songs and hear me speak up about my mental health journey, it will lighten the load a little knowing that they aren’t in this by themselves. Addressing the struggles that I’ve had through my music is really healing and I hope when they hear the lyrics it is healing to the listeners as well.

You’re known for translating some of your songs into Mandarin for your international fanbase. What inspired you to connect with your fans in this way, and how does language influence your music?
I thought it would be fun to learn Mandarin, but it was actually really hard to do! It was fun though, and with my international fanbase I was inspired to reach a wider audience and connect with fans from different cultures. Language can be a powerful medium for conveying emotions, and I enjoy exploring that through my music.

With a substantial social media following and global fanbase, how do you stay connected with your audience, and what role do platforms like social media play in your career?
To be honest, I’m not the greatest at social media. It certainly plays a crucial role in staying connected with my audience and sharing updates about my music and tour which is fun for me, but I’m my most authentic self in my songwriting and music. That is where fans will get to know me the best, not through what they see on social media.

As you prepare for your worldwide tour, what are you most looking forward to about performing live, and what can fans expect from your performances?
I’m most looking forward to the energy and connection of performing live on tour. I can’t wait to be able to play my new songs for them and see how they connect. It’s my favourite part of releasing new music.