After the tragic loss of his mother, Benny found music as a means to express his grief, helping him abate his depression. Check out his story and music below.
Say hello to Benny:
Where are you from? Where have you been?
I’m from Upper Marlboro, Maryland, I still reside there currently. I haven’t been to anywhere major but I have been to Canada, New York, and St. Louis.
What’s your favorite place in the world?
My favorite place in the world is Tokyo, Japan. I just love how advanced they are in technology The other day I saw videos of a video game arcade in Tokyo and it looks amazing! There was a lot going on at once. I would love to go there one day. I also want to visit California.
What’s on your “bucket list” of ideas to create?
- Make a mixtape with all video game samples
- Do a song with Bryce Vine
- Make my first album
- Create the perfect mobile studio
How do you find inspiration for your music?
Inspiration for my music comes from real life events that happen around me, music is my favorite form of art and storytelling. I can’t go a day without listening to my favorite artists.
Was there a particular artist who inspired you to pursue this field in the arts?
I remember the first piece of rap I ever really got into was “written in the stars” by Tinie Tempah, I always thought that song was so cool. This was just me getting my foot into the world of music. But nowadays, I really look up to artists like Super Duper Kyle, Bryce Vine, and Childish Gambino. The list could go on.
What response do you hope to evoke from listeners of your music?
When I put out a song, I want my listeners to be ecstatic! I want them to feel as happy as possible. I want to make music that lifts people up and inspires them to keep on working at whatever it is they want to accomplish. Of course I want my listeners to like my music, but I don’t expect every single listener to like it. I do want them to respect it because it’s honest and it came from someone who has nothing to give and still finds a way to give more.
Tell us about your career. How did you get into it?
My career hasn’t taken off yet. I started making music when I was about 14 years old. I’m 20 now and I’m just now starting to get serious about it because music has power. Music gives me a platform and voice that I did not have before. At 14, I used to record songs on my phone of me rapping over beats I would find on YouTube. At around 15, I convinced someone in my family to purchase me a $35 dollar mic and I started using that to record and started releasing songs under the name “Kidd Prodigee.” Fast forward two more years and I landed a job as an intern at the Sheriff’s office in my city and I saved up enough to get a pretty nice mic which I still use to this day. When I turned 20, I ended up changing my name to “Benny Universe” because I wanted to start my career over.
What was the moment you decided to become a musician?
The moment I knew I wanted to be a musician was when I was 17 and released an EP titled “From Me To You.” It has some of my favorite songs I have ever made on that tape. I think the tape was really good for its time. After that, I took a 2 year hiatus from releasing music because I didn’t want to release anything until it was perfect. I ended up getting really caught up in what other people thought and stopped making music for a while. I knew that I had what it takes to be a musician because I have so much work out online that I can go back and listen to and tell myself “If I made that back then, what is stopping me from making something like that again or something even better?”
What has been your biggest setback as a musician?
My biggest set back as a musician is doubting myself and not having fans. I psych myself out way too much when it comes to music, but now that I’m starting to get more serious and professional with it. I’m realizing that if I really like a song that I made, and I know in my heart that I gave that song my all, there will always be people who like it to and even some who will hate it. What I had to realize is that it does not matter what people think of my music, as long as I can vibe to it. I know it will go a long way.
The music industry is competitive. How do you stand out?
I stand out by telling my own personal story and personal life events that are sometimes hard to talk about to the public. If I have to put my life out there for everyone to see/hear and people love it, then I’ll give the people what they want. It also gives me relief.
What’s the best advice you can think of for someone just starting in music?
The best advice I ever got was from Super Duper Kyle. He told me that every time I get in front of the mic and I give it my all, I’m getting better. He told me that I have to be ready to work hard for a very long time and not expect any type of reward or recognition, and that if I keep on grinding, my time will come. I believe that to be true for all musicians.
If you could collaborate with anyone in the industry, who would it be?
This is such a hard question, it would have to be between Kilo Kish, Super Duper Kyle, and Bryce Vine. I would pick Super Duper Kyle because I feel like we share the same goal so we would probably get along well in the studio and come up with dope ideas. We can relate to each other because we both love anime and video games, although he’s team xbox and I’m team playstation, lol! If I had to choose another it would be Kilo Kish because her vocals are incredible.
Who do you want to give a shoutout to?
I would love to shout out Super Duper Kyle, Bryce Vine, Gnash, Stvn Lmnt, and everyone who has ever listened to my music because every single listen counts a bunch.
What’s your philosophy when it comes to being a great musician?
In my honest opinion, I believe anyone can be a great musician if they want to, but the people I see as great musicians have the qualities of a humble leader. I think the greatest musician of my generation is Chance The Rapper. I feel like he is the only musician to get this huge and never sell a record. He releases his music for free and I think that’s dope. He’s also a Christian too, just like me.
What’s been your most memorable project thus far?
I honestly don’t have a memorable project at the moment, but my most memorable song is “Grown Ass Kid.” This is the only song that I can proudly say I love because it’s my personal best song, and I always wanted to make a song that I could sing to my mom. If she were still alive, she would cry if she heard that song.
What is your most life-changing event?
My most life changing event was when my mom was killed during a family visit to her home in Nigeria. I have been struggling with depression ever since and it shows in my music. I try not to let it affect my music negatively. Instead, I try to use my depression as fuel for my music. Like a weapon.
What’s something no one knows about you that you’d like to share?
I have a celebrity crush on Angel Haze, lmao.
Who’s your biggest hero in your life?
Naruto, he grew up without parents and everyone hated him. I know he’s just a fictional character, but he had a huge impact on my life. He was a loser as a kid, then he became the hero of his village and eventually became hokage. Definitely my favorite anime too, by the way.
What’s one of your biggest fears?
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
Make music that puts my whole life out there for everyone, including strangers to hear.
For anyone that wants to get in touch with Benny, here’s some contact information:
Benny, thanks for taking the time to interview with us! Keep creating!
If any artists out there want to collaborate with FStop, don’t hesitate to reach out.