Peachy had a chat with Benji Patterson, a rising young American rapper, singer, poet, and songwriter about comfort zones, musical expressions, and what the future holds for the young talent.
Listen to Benji Patterson’s single Power while reading the interview:
PM: What made you pursue a career in music?
BP: I have been surrounded by music since I was a young boy. Watching my father play and develop as a musician is what sparked my interest. I also knew I had a gift for singing and writing. However, when I was younger, I wasn’t confident in myself, which is why I waited so long to actually act on pursuing a music career. I decided to reprogram the way I think and get away from negative influences in my life. This allowed me to finally be myself and work on my craft.
What are you drawn towards creatively at this moment in your career in terms of making new material and developing your musical expression?
I’m at the beginning stages in my career where I don’t have it all figured out. Right now I love collaborating with different producers and embracing new styles of writing music. I realized I needed to not be so uptight about how something is written and try new flows. Right now, I’m focused on having fun. Trying to develop a sound of my own and get more comfortable with different approaches to making music.
To me, at this early stage, the story of the music matters the most. Anyone can make a good song that’s nice to listen to. What I think helps early artists separate themselves from others is visual detail. Right now, I’m focused on having great visuals to back my production. I want people to listen to the song but then be blown away by the detail and fun in the music videos I release. Every project I release, I direct and produce my vision. Having background knowledge of cinematography and being a self-taught editor has made it easier to bring my music videos to life.
What artists are you inspired by?
I’m very open-minded when it comes to music. I wouldn’t say I’m necessarily inspired by other artists directly from their music. I love diving deeper into how someone developed into the mainstream artist they are. I’ve watched all the Justin Bieber movies he’s put out, which was inspiring to see his growth and how at first, even after signing a deal, he wasn’t getting studio time, and no one was coming to his shows. Over time he continued to work, and things worked in his favor, and music has shaped him as a great artist. Looking at how Chance the Rapper started his career at the end of high school. How he used to perform at community events and open mics and recorded his mixtape “10day” when he was suspended from school, which brought his talent into the spotlight.
To me the journey is the most important thing. As an upcoming artist, I have to fund all my projects and continue to push boundaries to develop my sound. Some days are hard. Some are easier than others. I think the hardest part about being an upcoming independent artist is putting a lot of love and passion into what you create and feeling undervalued when a project doesn’t get as much attention as you think it deserves. You can’t compromise, and it’s the first part of the journey, which I believe shapes how you operate and create moving forward.
Do you draw inspiration from other art forms than music?
I like to paint and skateboard. I think both challenges you to see the world differently, slow down, and appreciate the moment. Painting relaxes me and allows me to create whatever I feel in that moment. I like to paint clothes and shoes. You appreciate something more when you’ve invested time into it, no matter how bad or good it looks. It’s special because it’s yours. Skateboarding, to me, Is an art form because of the visualization it takes to land new tricks and the practice that goes into learning how to control the board.
Can you reveal a bit of what themes or concepts you’re exploring in the forthcoming material from you?
Right now, I’m exploring themes like innocence, sacrifice, and transformation. All things I feel tie into my story as a developing artist. I have some cool concepts for new visuals dropping later this year, but you’ll have to wait and see.
What does the process of making a track usually look like for you?
My process of making music is constantly changing and ultimately depends on who I’m working with. Sometimes I work with producers who already have a beat prepared for me. Other times I’ll start from scratch and build something original tailored to my sound. It depends on how I’m feeling. More recently, I’ve started to flow freely and build lyrics around a melody to tap more into a moment. I want to cater to audiences who love a good story but also those who might not necessarily care about the story and more about how the music sounds and makes you feel. It sounds a bit random, but for me, it’s allowed me to step out of my comfort zone and have more fun. It’s also allowed me to embrace new sounds and flows of music I never thought id make.
What’s the story behind the song “Power”? What’s the message you want to get across?
The message I want to get across with Power is the way we take back control and actually make a change is by developing ourselves. I think it’s easier to point out the flaws in a broken system than actually work towards being better people and developing stronger communities. I look at the way I live my life. I’m very disciplined, and one thing people notice is that I’m very positive. I don’t think people change by others telling them what to do but by noticing a change in those around us, which compels us as individuals to want to be better. I wrote power breaking down a lot of issues with the American system.
I touched on things like how advertising affects how we view the world, and subconsciously affects how we develop as people. Also, how the top 1% controls the wealth in the world and how corporations’ interest has overpowered the people’s voice. Many people become slaves to corporations. Not just for the money but for the power. People love how titles and positions make them feel — also, the control and responsibility they have.
I want this song to reach young adults and youth. I want to remind others that we have more power than we think, and the time is now to pursue what we are passionate about and become the best version of ourselves. The time is now to listen more, love more, and use what we have. The world is the way it is because history keeps repeating itself, and it only changes when we decide to change and embrace new creativity.