London singer-songwriter Benjamin Francis Leftwich has released his new album, To Carry A Whale. We asked him the BIG questions . . .
Recorded over a four-month period last year in his Tottenham home, in Urchin Studios in Hackney, in a hotel room in Niagara, and in a Southend studio, the album features ten new songs.
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The album is the first by Leftwich written and recorded entirely sober, a state he has maintained since spending 28 days in rehab in January 2018.
Leftwich's debut album, 2011’s Last Smoke Before the Snowstorm, included the hit single Shine, and after a five-year break, he released his second album, After The Rain.
Tell us three things about yourself?
My name is Benjamin Francis Leftwich. I have a sister called Madeleine Rose Leftwich, who is my hero, best friend and my number one A+R. I believe the music from Ireland is some of the most beautiful, powerful, and open-hearted music of all time.
How would you describe your music?
Surrendered emo acoustic love songs about relationships with life, love, and spirit.
Who are your musical inspirations?
I have so many, you know. Growing up I remember hearing The Beatles around the house all the time, my Dad would play them whilst making breakfast and I totally fell in love with it. I didn’t know what was going on, but it hit me in the heart. Through high school I really fell in love with pop punk and bands like Alkaline Trio, Paramore, and Blink 182. It’s funny because my music doesn’t really sound like that so much, but hey. I fell hard in love with Placebo too when I was about 15. I think everything kind of changed for me when I discovered Damian Jurado, Fionn Regan, David Gray, Stephanie Dosen, Bat For Lashes and all those kinds of song-based legends of that time. I totally fell in love with that kind of song centred music you know.
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Honestly my musical inspirations are so varied that I’d kind of summarise it as, my musical inspirations are any songs or pieces of music that hit me in the heart. I’d say my favourite artists of all time are Bruce Springsteen, The Blue Nile, The Beatles, and Fleetwood Mac. I think the Fionn Regan debut The End Of History definitely changed the dial for me though in terms of song writing and the colour and flavour of where I was feeling my music from if that makes sense.
How did you occupy yourself during the coronavirus lockdown?
Honestly, I’ve just been writing lots of music and spending as much time as possible catching up with friends and talking to friends and family and checking in on others. I’m super lucky and privileged that I didn’t feel the squeeze as hard as many others but emotionally and spiritually it’s definitely been a little tricky and isolating. I was lucky to be able to write and record my new album To Carry A Whale safely and calmly during this time. Without being able to tour there was kind of nowhere else to run but headfirst into songs.
What's your favourite song right now?
Holly Humberstone - Deep End or, Brad Paisley ft Allison Kraus - Whiskey Lullaby.
Favourite lyric of all time?
"When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me, Speaking words of wisdom, let it be, And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me, Speaking words of wisdom, let it be."
If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Suo Gan - John Williams version from The Empire of the Sun movie soundtrack.
Where can people find your music/more information?
I’m on Twitter and this is my website. Honestly, wherever they like to hear or learn about music. Ya’ll know how to discover new music. God bless you x.
Benjamin Francis Leftwich plays Whelan's, Dublin on February 13th, 2022.