• Darby VanDeVeen

Benzer - A Rising Hip-Hop/R&B Artist

Updated: Oct 2, 2020

Benzer Uy is a musician from California with a distinct hip-hop/R&B sound mixed with other fun elements like jazz or soul. He has his latest EP Deuce coming out tomorrow, September 25. I got the chance to sit down and talk with him about who he is as an artist, his sound and ping pong. Keep reading to learn more about Benzer!

Could you just tell me a little bit about yourself?

My name is Benzer Uy. I’m a music artist from Rowland Heights, California. I’m 21 years old. I just graduated actually from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in business administration and a concentration in entertainment and hospitality management. Yeah so I always wanted to do something artistic and I didn’t know if I wanted to do accounting because it’s a stable job, but I couldn’t see myself doing that. Yeah so I found music because I was like it’s something that I’m interested in and in this area there’s a lot of opportunities to meet people in the industry. I’d love to manage people someday and yeah that’s me right now.

Yeah, so who would you say are your biggest inspirations?

My biggest inspirations -- I can definitely say Lucky Daye, he's a soul/R&B artist. Number one, Devon Morrison. I love Devon Morrison. I could also say Frank Ocean. So I really like R&B, soul but like my guilty pleasure is club hits so I also like people like Disclosure. Yeah that’s like my guilty pleasure. I don’t know it just makes me want to dance. But the people that I really looked up to before that and got me into music were The Temptations, the ones that sang “My Girl,” Stevie Wonder, and Michael Jackson. Some of the legends. I love their music.

Absolutely. I mean you mentioned you like hip-hop and soul and your own sound is kind of hip-hop/R&B-ish and I saw on Soundcloud you put psychedelic jazz as well, so is there anything that made you want to go that route with your sound and music?

Honestly, I don’t know. A lot of the times today people just cut up loops of a song and that’s what people use for sampling. Like if you think of Kanye West, he doesn’t make the beats necessarily, but he gets the beats from another song and then makes it his own. I never really did that with my first stuff. I just played everything and made the beat on my iPad. Now I have my program and I cut up some loops that were available, and then played some piano/keys over it. I liked the sound. I kind of based it off A Tribe Called Quest because I like hip-hop as well. And the psychedelic jazz aspect - it was actually when I sent it to my friend. In music there’s recording, mixing and mastering. I recorded the music, put everything together and then in mixing they make each sound sound crisp and clear. In that stage too, they can change up the sounds. So I can be playing a regular piano, but in the mixing stage, you can make it sound really fat or really wide and add a lot of effects to it. So at first it was just a regular jazz sound in the guitar, but if you hear the end it’s really distorted like a Jimi Hendrix solo. That’s how it came to be, so I actually didn’t start out with that but when one of my friends sent it to me I was like “woah this is so sick I love it.”

That’s awesome! You have your single “On Read” that came out recently, so is there a story behind that song?

There’s no specific names, but just in general being left on read is like the worst thing. Especially our generation, the young generation, a lot of the times people are alway in the talking stage. But when you just kind of bounce around with that you never know if it’s like done or if we’re still talking. So in that stage people are always like bouncing around, not really getting any closure. I just kind of talk about that in that song and kind of explain how our generation just does that a lot. One of my pet peeves or something I hate is just being ignored and being left on read falls under that.

And that single is part of a larger EP, “Deuce” that’s coming out. Is there anything you want to disclose about that or I get if you can’t.

That one is coming out on the 25th, September 25th. I have 7 songs for that one and 3 of those songs are already out. “On Read” is that third song that’s going to be released. I have “All Alone in My Room.” I have “Bro, Let it Go” and then I have “On Read.” Those two that I’ve released don’t really have features, but the ones on my EP are going to have a bunch more features. I’m excited because I don’t know if they sent my bio and stuff but I like to put my friends on it. I like to bring my friends up with me. I have my friends on it. I have my friends working on my art stuff, even just designing my website or some of my CDs or something. Yeah I'm excited about that one. It's going to be fun.

Yeah I love how you put your friends on it as well.

People say “Yeah you’re an independent artist” but no one’s truly independent. There’s a team to that. What I’m really fortunate enough to have are really talented friends around me. My friend’s a photographer, some of my friends are graphic designers. One of my friends designed the “On Read” cover art which is really cool. It’s like collage style. It’s so cool. I love my friends! I’m so blessed to even just know them. It's so cool.

And then, being an artist during coronavirus, that’s gotta be hard in a whole new way.

Me and Joshua Tree, he’s the guitarist on “On Read,” 2019 into the beginning of 2020 we were always like in our heads like “bro, this is our year, this is our year.” And then when coronavirus happened and my school, my senior year, when it shut down, in my head we were still like “bro, we still got time, it’ll open up back in the summer we got it.” And then it didn’t. It sucks obviously. But we see how a lot of time in the virtual world people are working around that. But it’s even cooler now because people are more responsive to a DM or something. I want to work with other artists so I just DM them and they’re like “let’s do it!” People are more responsive and it’s just cooler to talk to more people in that sense as well.

What’s one thing people don’t know about you?

That’s a good question - like do you need to know my Social Security number?

Like no [Laughs].

I’m just kidding, I’m just kidding. What is one thing? Hm. I don’t know. I guess something a little like I’m really good at Ping Pong I don’t know. I can beat-box. I haven’t really beat boxed in a while. I used to beat-box a lot in high school and stuff like that. I was in the show choir in high school. There you go. That’s something people probably wouldn’t know.

Yeah my friend actually beat boxes in an a capella group here at school. And then last but certainly not least, what’s next for you as an artist outside of the EP?

Yeah, so what’s next? Like I said for sure I definitely want to work with more artists and producers and stuff. Definitely want to grow more organically as well. You see a lot of people buying their streams but I want to get to know my fans. Also, I look at my fans like friends because they’re the ones supporting you. And you want to support the people that support you. I definitely want to grow that aspect of my website as well. Artform 646. It’s just all artists from my area. I’ve only done 2 interviews so far, but I want to do more. I’ve just been so busy working on this. That one’s really directed towards any artists. I did a producer and a music artist but I want to do photography, more tattoo artists, stuff like that.

That sounds awesome.

Yeah, it’s so fun. I definitely want to release more music too. After someone releases music, that’s not all they have. They’ve always gotta be doing something. So yeah, I have maybe 2-3 songs that I maybe have right now. We’ll see. I’m excited I’m excited.


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