After the new season with artists Alice Phoebe Lou, Miya Folick and Chai opened on their own stage at Primavera Sound 2019 and last August with a live session by Laskaar, Paper Sessions by OCB has returned to further their mission of bringing us the best music from known artists while introducing up-and-coming artists who sure to make a name for themselves soon.
Take Benny Sings. I didn’t know Benny Sings before. Until I checked him out on the OCB Paper Sessions. And clicked through to find out more about the laid-back, wild-haired, high-voiced singer grooving along.
Benny Sings debuted in 2003 with Champagne People. Since then he has performed for NPR’s Tiny Desk (their only Dutch guest to date); toured the world with Mayer Hawthorne, and collaborated with the likes of Anderson .Paak, GoldLink, and Mndsgn.
“Benny has always been a massive inspiration for me and my music”
– Rex Orange County
In 2017 Benny co-wrote and featured on Rex Orange County’s megahit “Loving Is Easy” which has racked up some 17 million plus plays on youtube. It was a collaboration that arose from mutual admiration: “Benny has always been a massive inspiration for me and my music,” says the BBC Sound of 2018 breakout star, “In my opinion he’s one of the most underrated producers and artists going.”
“For more than 10 years, fans have been drawn to Dutch singer-songwriter Benny Sings’ ability to layer R&B, jazz and pop over hip-hop foundations.”
— NPR Music
Most of the songs heard on the OCB Paper Sessions performance are from his most recent album City Pop. He conceived most of the album’s songs in Amsterdam at the studio seen in the DIY videofor his ‘Passionfruit’ cover, and co-producer Renaud Letang — who has worked with Feist, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Lianne La Havas — helped bring his ideas to life in Paris’ renowned Studio Ferber.
Benny is almost shockingly down to earth and blunt about how he came to music. He tried working an office job – in fact seems quite taken with the idea of having one – but said he always felt bad when he was there. He needed money; so he started making music. That was of course quite a while ago now. These days, he says, he’s generally more occupied with keeping his family life together – bringing up his daughter, staying married to his wife, paying the mortgage.
And Benny has a typically blunt take on love: “I don’t think it’s healthy or good – we make too much of love – but then I’m the same…the thing about love is it’s not always good to believe in that big romantic love that saves everything, that solves your life – but we do. I’ve tried to write songs where the message is that – very complicated thing. But it’s hard.”
Seems to be working out…
Check out Benny Sings at the OCB Paper Sessions below.
Noel Maurice is one of the founders of indieberlin. Originally from the UK via a childhood in Johannesburg, he has been resident in Berlin since 1991. Describing himself as a ‘recovering musician’, he is the author of The Berlin Diaires, a trilogy detailing the East Berlin art and squat scene of the early 90s, available on Amazon and through this site.