Steve Benden

 

With his original new single ‘Evil Woman’ rapidly climbing the charts, Steve Benden and his unique brand of well-honed alternative rock is rapidly becoming a musical success story thanks in large part to his impeccable melodic instincts.

Like alternative rock? Many do, perhaps in yearning for a return to great musicianship and melody. Here is an artist that ably serves the sentiment. Originating from Bel Air, Maryland, Steve Benden has quickly risen on the strength of his new award-winning single ‘Evil Woman’. Recently, the critics had this to say about his work: ‘Intricately layered with ripping instrumental arrangements and vocal harmonies, 'Evil Woman' is imbued with a horn-fired alt-country ingenuity that will find an audience in both genres.’ With his new single steadily climbing the charts, Steve Benden seems destined for the global limelight. Reporter Lauren Thompson recently caught up with the talented artist to learn more about what inspires him to create his unique brand of alternative rock music and what we can expect from Steve Benden in the near future.

LAUREN: As an artist on the rise, what is one thing you are most excited about and one thing you are most afraid of happening in your career?
STEVE BENDEN: Well I guess the one thing I’m most excited about is the fact that my music is getting air time. I’m also pretty excited that it is getting rotation play in multiple U.S. cities along with five other countries. The one thing I’m most afraid of happening is missing an opportunity that leads to success.

LAUREN: Your song ’Evil Woman’ is receiving a positive listener response on radio. What was your initial reaction when you first heard your song playing on radio?
STEVE BENDEN: My initial action was ‘wow’, that’s my song playing in Houston! I was streaming the station in my jeep and cranked it up! I also have to say that when you hear your song playing in Sydney and London you feel like you are really gaining some ground. It is pretty exciting.

LAUREN: What was the inspiration behind your debut radio single?
STEVE BENDEN: Well as the story goes, this is a song that I wrote a long time ago. I always liked it because it moved but it never made the cut when we were recording in the studio. I almost recorded it in 2008 but it just didn’t happen. When I finally decided to cut the song, it came together quickly. I originally had a different guitar lick in mind and couldn’t quite get it. I was actually messing around on a take that ultimately captured the finally lick. It was uncomplicated which was actually what it needed. We just smiled and said that’s it. I still didn’t think about the song in terms of a hit until my friends and family kept saying “I really like that song”!

LAUREN: It is often said that great art arises from difficult experience. Is there something in your life experience thus far that you would describe as the ‘catalyst’ or ‘fuel’ for your desire to create music?
STEVE BENDEN: I would say, I was first inspired by my parents. My dad taught me how to play. I found that I wanted to write my own songs early on. When I joined the Air Force I bought my first guitar and just started writing. I think being away from home and experiencing life fueled my writing.

LAUREN: How would you characterize yourself as an artist/musician? (Ex. Down-to-earth, serious, fun-loving, complicated…)
STEVE BENDEN: I would characterize myself as a down-to-earth musician. I think music is a feeling that runs through everyone’s veins. It drives feelings and comes from feelings. I believe the songs I write are the songs I feel at that time, whether they are fast, slow, deep or just a three chord romp.

 

LAUREN: What has your experience been like working with the other people on your team?
STEVE BENDEN: I’ve had a fantastic experience working with Mark Davis. We’ve played in bands together in the past and always connected on multiple directions of music. Mark is the recording engineer on my music and has significant input on arrangements. He’s a terrific musician and helps drive me to create better music.

LAUREN: Did you come from a musical background? Are there other musicians in your family?
STEVE BENDEN: Like I mentioned earlier, my dad played guitar and sang. He was a major influence on me wanting to be a musician. Both my dad and mom recommended that I play the saxophone in grade school which helped set an early foundation.

LAUREN: What do you find most rewarding about being an artist? What do you find most challenging?
STEVE BENDEN: The most rewarding part of being an artist is having an outlet for creativity. I truly need it. It helps to keep me stay centered. I can forget about everything else when I’m writing, recording, or playing. The most challenging thing is finding the time. I make up for that by writing whenever and where ever I can.

LAUREN: Who are your role models in music?
STEVE BENDEN: That’s a loaded question as I have so many. I’m a huge Elvis fan. I always respected that he could do so many different types of music. I always thought that was important. Bruce Springsteen is a huge role model. He seems to write from his soul. Bruce is able to produce music that speaks to real life experiences through multiple genres. His live shows also set the benchmark. They are incredible. Seeing Eric Clapton during his From The Cradle tour was also important for me. The feelings expressed through those tracks live and on CD have had a lasting effect on me.

LAUREN: Describe your best or most memorable performance.
STEVE BENDEN: I’d say playing an early talent show at Shaw AFB. I just came out and did a simple acoustic performance of Be-Bop-A-Lula. The crowd was fantastic and responded in a way I hadn’t envisioned. When I finished and walked off the stage the adrenaline crash was incredible. You truly want to recreate that every time. Another memorable performance was playing in Sarajevo at Route 66. As I started playing, the crowd gravitated in, cultural barriers were crossed, requests were flying, and it was a night to remember.

LAUREN: What advice would you give to young, aspiring artists out there who are unsure and need guidance?
STEVE BENDEN: First I would say believe in yourself and be yourself. Keep writing, play music with others, and appreciate your fellow artists. We are always learning from each other.

LAUREN: What's next for you as an artist? Is there a new single in the works? If so, what can you tell us about it?
STEVE BENDEN: Well the first thing I’m working on is re-issuing 4 CDs. Following that I have approximately 4 new CDs I’m preparing to release in the next 6 months. Working with Mark Davis, we’ve recorded about 55 songs over the last 18 months. They were recorded as separate projects but I haven’t moved on them yet. I need to decide if the first one is going to be a single or double CD. Evil Woman was cut in the middle of that group. Following that I’m about to finish recordinging another project. We’ve got 7 tracks in the can and I’ve written 4 more that we’ll be completing soon. I’ll probably add 3 or 4 more songs to that so we’ll have a strong 10-12 tracks or so to choose from. That release may come around the 1st of the year. I think the next single for release will possibly be ‘The American Man’. Hopefully I’ll have a CD ready to go as well.

LAUREN: Wonderful! Thank you sharing some insights into what makes you the artist that you are. I wish you continued success in your career.

https://www.reverbnation.com/stevebenden

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