Meet Ben James, the talented teen hip hop artist from New Jersey. Ben talks about the support he's received from his family and the advantage of pursuing a music career while still in high school.
The Fan Connection (TFC): Hi Ben! We're happy to have you on TFC and get to know you a little bit. We appreciate you taking some time with us today.
Ben James: I appreciate you reaching out to conduct this interview.
TFC: Your website is "TheRealBenJames". Tell us, who IS the real Ben James?
Ben James: Its funny, all of my adolescence I've asked my self the same question. Who am I? I believe even to this day I am figuring that question out. Over the years, I've built a lane for myself that evolves around positivity, but also, being your self and not being afraid to express your desires and ambitions. I've had way too many friends fall to the path society leads them to, due to trying to impress guardians and peers. In the end of the day you have to live with yourself so you might as well be happy with it.
TFC: Well said and ll true. You describe your music as the hip hop/pop genre, both extremely popular genre's of music. How do you set yourself apart?
Ben James: I believe through being yourself you can set yourself apart in anything you do that is mass populated. We are all born to stand out and not fit in, being innovative creates new for the old, and keeps the culture young. My music is ever evolving with the time we are in and the culture. I get inspired but not influenced by today's new sound. I'm looking to start the new wave.
TFC: How old are you now, and at what age did you begin realizing you wanted to pursue a career in the music industry?
Ben James: When I was 12 years old (better known to me at least as the first time I ever heard my voice through a microphone) was the very moment I was conscious about what I wanted to do with my life. Now, obviously very ignorant and excited about a career I have yet to have, at the time it was the music and the fact I could put my voice over anything and speak my mind and spread a message to whomever, drove the ambition to entertain the idea to be in the entertainment industry. Now, currently 17 years old, I have learned the ropes throughout the years and have developed myself into a seasoned artist.
TFC: You're in New Jersey, correct? How is the music scene in your immediate area for your genre?
Ben James: Yes, the Garden State! I grew up in the town of Princeton, where the university is. Given its history, it attracts many tourists and a different flavor of people. The town itself doesn't have a huge hip hop scene to where little clubs are doing open mics & all that, but not very far outside of Princeton you can find a pretty popular hip hop culture. I believe with the growing popularity of my music I can start to influence the culture into Princeton's roots.
"My family has kept me grounded, focused, and loved. That's whats keeps me sane at the end of the day. My family has been the biggest factor to any micrometer of success that has come my way."
TFC: It's obvious from reading about you a little, that your family is a huge inspiration for you to keep pushing forward. Tell us a little about that, and what they've done to keep you motivated.
Ben James: I believe everyone can agree a man with 100 million dollars & no family is less rich then the family living in the ghetto living check to check. My family has kept me grounded, focused, and loved. That's whats keeps me sane at the end of the day. My family has been the biggest factor to any micrometer of success that has come my way.
TFC: What other inspirations are there for you, aside from family and fans?
Ben James: Life really. The ups & downs in my life guide a lot of my lyrics and visuals. Every day is a different journey and lesson learned, whether it be about myself, the world, my peers, etc. Taking all of these dealings and molding them into lyrics and stories is what makes it all worthwhile. Knowing you can be saving someones life, or making their day better.
TFC: How does your writing process usually go? Lyrics, beat, melody? Which comes first?
Ben James: It really depends on the vibe and how I'm feeling. Sometimes I'll walk into the studio and the producer will already have a beat laid up or we'll start from scratch and build a beat from a single melody.
TFC: You just released a single in March, "Que Sera". We'd love to hear a little about that!
Ben James: Yeah, that's the latest single I released with Fuego, Pitbull's most recent signee. When I was first approached with the idea by my camp, I was a bit hesitant due to how much of a different sound it was than what I am usually used to. After Fuego laid his part down and I wrote my verses, immediately I felt the click of it and fell in love with the vibe of the whole project. The song has already captured so many new fans in different markets and I'm excited to see how it does in the market.
TFC: Sounds like it was a fun process! In what ways, OTHER than social media, do you promote your music and build your fan base?
Ben James: Well, having the advantage of still being in high school is a huge key to my buzz in my hometown. I've always been one to stand behind the organic word-of-mouth marketing strategy, and being able to have physical daily access to my whole market/demographic is a major key to promoting my music and building a fan base locally.
TFC: What can we be looking for from you in 2016 as far as new releases, videos, shows and touring?
Ben James: Right now we are doing media tours along the east and west coast to promote "Que Sera" worldwide. We are also prepping for an upcoming tour in the Dominican Republic. As far as new music, starting in May we will be announcing a major release of a lot of consistent new material with visuals to release every 2 weeks. Stay posted on my website to stay up-to-date on any new shows in your area.
TFC: As you may already know, The Fan Connection is a social media/e-commerce website JUST for artists and their fans. We have some great features coming up for release in 2016, a few of which include: a new music player with radio-like format, professionally run Fan Clubs and merch stores where YOU make money, live video streaming and private chat rooms. Of the few mentioned here, which one do you think will help you as an artist the most, and why?
Ben James: Professionally run Fan Clubs would be a great way to help connect with the fans and sell some merchandise.
TFC: Ben, thank you so much for sharing your music and your story. We'll be watching you and hope to see a lot more of you on TFC!
Ben James: The pleasure's mine. I appreciate you guys reaching out!
Become a part of music's newest and most exciting "music-only" social media platform...The Fan Connection (TFC).
Social Media...interviews...tours...blogs...fan clubs...merchandise and more!