"MUSIC ANSWERS THE UNANSWERABLE."
Ben Bateman (born in 1991) is a singer-songwriter from the North East of England. He grew up in a town called Stockton-on-Tees and he is still based there today. He describes having a happy childhood although out of the so-called norm. Unlike other kids his age, he spent his childhood traveling with his father all over Europe since his father was a long-distance truck driver. As a result of this unconventional life style, he developed his love for traveling and music simultaneously. His travels were accompanied by the soundtracks of great classic music, such as The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, Bob Dylan, and Bruce Springsteen among others. As a child, he was introverted and socializing was not his forte; hence, traveling and listening to music was his perfect escape. Up to this day, music provides Ben with the same excitement that he felt as a child.
At age nine, Ben received an Eminem CD, and this instilled in him a curiosity for lyric writing. He then started experimenting with this aspect of music and would write his own lyrics from rewriting verses from Eminem’s songs. Although this process was fascinating and equally difficult, his curiosity in lyric writing did not cease to exist. From lyric writing he moved on to learning how to play the guitar at around age 11. Shortly after, it was only natural for him to begin constructing his own songs in order to understand the complete process of songwriting. A curiosity for the creative process is what has shaped his artistic journey throughout the years. This curiosity is what drives Ben to continue to create music. He is fascinated by such a process, how an artist can conceive an idea and eventually conclude to a finished piece. Despite the fact that Ben has been writing songs for many years, the beginning of a new song offers him the basis for exploration and an exciting new journey.
Ben’s approach to creating music is one where he finds it important to not focus on the end result or the listener. Instead, he rather think that no one will hear his music and this helps him not to become overly analytical and judgmental during the initial writing process. Ben aims to maintain a level of openness and honesty with himself in order to convey true emotions to the listener. Whether the stories of his songs are true or not, the emotion intended must have been truthfully experienced at some point in his life. Ben’s music delivers a moment where you are transported to a tomorrow that has yet to exist…without inhibitions, without limitations. The recurrent sound of hope, the savoring of life. He strikes a chord where you never thought possible. A melancholic glance at endless possibilities, and like that, it came and went. And all that remains is that satisfaction of what you just heard, and you want it again.
Stay tuned, as Ben currently releases new music every month and has had several magazines and online reviews. He regularly plays in music festivals in the summer and has performed live acoustic sessions on BBC radio in the UK.
Q. Why did you decide to become a musician?
A. When I was four years old, I heard Vivaldi’s Four Seasons for the first time and it had a huge impact on me. That is my first memory of hearing music and truly falling in love with it. It is surprising to me that I still feel exactly the same way about music as I did as a child, which is a feeling of wonder and excitement that I am grateful for. I have been gripped by an obsession with music since this early age and I therefore don't really even feel like trying to become a musician was even a choice, but more of a compelled inevitability that I would if not be lucky enough to create a living as a musician, at least to continue creating music whenever I can.
Q. Who are your biggest influences? Are you inspired by the work of your peers or anyone else in particular?
A. I believe my influences derive from two main areas. The initial songwriting element of music creation is mostly influenced by older classic musicians and bands such as The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen. But another element of creating music for me is the production, which has recently become for me an extension of the writing process, as producing the songs myself opens another huge realm of possibilities in creativity. I derive lots of inspiration from modern music when I am in the production stage of music creation, music such as Billie Eilish, Lana del Rey, Pharrell Williams, Lorde, Hozier, Ellie Goulding, The 1975, for their unique take on the production of the songs, adding much more depth and interest.
Q. What does 'success' mean to you?
A. I feel at my most successful when I have finished a song that I am very proud of and excited about. My overall vision of success would involve spending the majority of my time in the pursuit of creating the best music I can conceive of, to travel and play music, which is what I am doing now. So, in that sense, I am successful; however, there are many ambitions I still have and I still maintain the curiosity I had as a child, which is where can I take this music? What can I do differently with it? What are the possibilities?
Q. Is the musician life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
A. My experience of being a musician is that it can be as social or as isolated as you choose. The performance side of music can be very social, meeting new musicians and people every night at performances. Many musicians enjoy this element of their career. The writing process can be socially engaging as well if musicians choose to co-write with other songwriters. I prefer to begin the initial writing stages alone and I enjoy the solitude of writing. The social aspect of performing can be difficult for me as it feels more out of my comfort zone and doesn’t come naturally to me. I do enjoy performing; however, I think a musician’s life can be as social or as isolated as you choose, and I try to have a balance.
Q. What is your philosophy in matters of music?
A. There are many philosophies in matters of music, for me, it is useful to remember the counter-intuitive rule that quantity equals quality. This for me, means it is more important to work every day, creating as much music as possible and not allow perfectionism to crush any creativity, than it is to try to force one piece of music to be great. There is a fine line between improving your work and making it as good as you can, and being over analytical and judgmental. For me, it is important to remember it is generally better to create lots of pieces of work than to try to create one really good one, as this can easily lead to getting stuck or losing your initial inspiration for the idea.
Q. Apart from making music, what do you love doing?
A. My second passion next to music is definitely traveling, which I love to do and I try to travel as much as I can.
Q. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
A. Once when I was just about to walk onto a stage to perform someone told me not to perform at them, but allow them to be drawn in. This had a big impact on my mindset when performing, it allowed me to rid myself of the pressure of trying actively to get people’s attention when performing and instead to adopt an attitude that released the pressure of outcome I had placed on myself.
Q. What advice would you give to the next art-generation?
A. Don’t get disheartened by doing work that is below the standard you want to achieve. Part of the process of creating good work is to create bad work first. It is very easy to overthink, compare yourself to others and end up with a strong feeling of overwhelm. Don’t be too analytical, particularly in the beginning of any piece of artwork or music, enjoy it, finish it, and move on to the next one.