chat room: benzer
Welcome to the chat room; an on-going series created by Wonders Zine. We aim to know artists better through asking about their creative processes, inspirations, and goals.
This chat room feature explores Benzer.
Singer: Benzer Joey Uy
Location: Rowland Heights, California, USA Instagram: @benzeruy
Here at Wonders Zine, we had the absolute pleasure of interviewing Benzer; an incredibly talented music artist born and raised in Rowland Heights by Filipino immigrants. With the recent release of his new EP 'DUECE', we chat to the singer about breaking into the industry, his musical influences, and what his creative process really looks like.
Hi Benzer! What inspired you to start a career in the music industry?
What inspired me to start my career was a lot of factors. I grew up singing in church - I still play drums there, performing in my high school show choir, and just listening to music whenever and wherever. The way that music evokes certain emotions when it is played made me want to do the same thing. Whether it be the chords in the music or the specific words used in writing, I wanted to make music people can relate to.
Did you experience any struggles during your music journey? What advice would you give your younger self or others starting out? You know I’ve told this to people who have asked: I’ve been fortunate enough that I never really had to struggle to have a place to sleep or food to eat. God blessed me with parents that struggled and worked for what they got and never wanted their kids to experience that. I was also blessed with incredibly supportive and talented friends. I would say the struggles are all in my head with self-doubt and comparison, always thinking “is my music good enough?” I push through that as comparison is really the thief of joy. The main thing I would say is at first, don’t do it for money, because more often than not, you’ll be putting more money in it than you’ll be getting out of music. You need to have passion for music and believe that your music is good if you really want to succeed. I say this because if you don’t even rock with your own music, nobody will!
Describe your music in three words?
Sexy, Chic, Calvin Klein. Just kidding I would probably say Groovy, Smooth, and Nostalgic.
Who are your biggest influences?
Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, and A Tribe Called Quest I would say are my biggest influences. I love soul, r&b, and hip hop, and when I think of those sounds I think of those artists. They were the first artists that really got me into music and who first shaped how I listen to it.
Quick! You’re about to go live on stage and have to sing a song from memory alongside the original artist - who do you pick and which song?
I’d have to choose Rock With You by Michael Jackson, his stage presence and how he put it all on the floor night in and night out is so inspiring to me. Also, the song is just so groovy! It’s one of the songs I never get tired of listening to.
Tell us about your EP ‘DUECE’ - what inspired it?
“DEUCE” was inspired by a lot of different situations in my life. I look at my music as my journal and find it much easier to write when it actually happens in my life. Some specific topics are:
Being dumb and ending the relationship and not really thinking it through makes you feel sad and alone.
Sometimes you just have to let the person go as playing games just gets you nowhere.
Being left on read in this social media age sucks, closure is what I would have liked, but I did not get it.
If the love isn’t real, then I don’t want it.
The weekend is a time to sit back and relax as work sometimes diverts your attention from friends and just social life.
What is your favourite song(s) from ‘DUECE’?
That’s like asking which child is your favorite haha. I would maybe have to say If It Ain’t Real. Sometimes simple is better. For this song, it’s just me, Joshua Tree on guitar, and Jonathan Edwards on bass who also appeared in On Read. I love when artists just have those breathers in their projects and give listeners some VOCALS.
You can check out the songs mentioned here:
What does your creative process look like when creating music?
Most of the time, I start with a beat and then add in lyrics. Like I said before, the simpler the better. Most producers nowadays start with making loops and just layer sounds to, and later on, make certain scenes into a verse, chorus, bridge, etc. When I get overwhelmed it is vital to take a break as your ears and your mind get used to hearing the same things over and over. As I previously mentioned, I also like to use real experiences for songs as it makes it easier to write.
Our theme for Issue 03 is ‘love’ (including family, friends, self-love, etc.) - what does love mean to you? Do you think your music inspires it?
Love is not only a noun but a verb. There is action that takes place with the word love. As much as I enjoy hearing the words “I Love You” I think that there is action with that statement. It is not a one time action, but a constant movement. God is love. Jesus is love.
I think my music does inspire love. I talk often about how one could sacrifice what they have for love, bringing it back to the simplicity of 60’s soul music. I write as I think and how I picture what I’d like to have someday.
What’s next for you? Any big projects coming up? Besides the release of my second EP “DEUCE”, I want to pursue working with more producers from my hometown area and build my way up in the industry with them. I want to get started on my third EP right after this but definitely with more features/collaborators.
Anything else you’d like to say? Keep grinding and believe in yourself because if you don’t rock with your own art, nobody will. And lastly, be better today, not for yourself, but for God.
You can listen to Benzer's new single on Spotify now: