1) Upon first listen you seem to have an Amos Lee flavor.
a.) Is he an influence?
Amos Lee is definitely an influence of mine, and I’m glad you heard it in my music. He’s not only one of the best songwriters I’ve ever heard, but his voice is transcendent. I heard “Keep it Loose, Keep it Tight” for the first time right around the time I started writing music, and I think hearing that song helped guide my writing and my singing towards a more soulful pop sound.
b.) Who are your primary musical influences?
Well, I grew up listening to a lot of 90’s and 80’s country, especially Garth Brooks, Brooks & Dunn, Martina McBride and Reba McIntire, but once I was able to buy and download my own CDs, I got into a lot of 60’s and 70’s music like Simon & Garfunkel, The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, Elton John and James Taylor as well as the pop artists of the late nineties and early 2000s, like Mariah Carey, Jason Mraz, Gavin DeGraw, Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson. Right now, I’m into female, British singer-songwriters, like Lianne LaHavas, Emeli Sande, Adele, Amy Winehouse and Paloma Faith, as well as local musicians like James Byous, Audra Mae, Katie Boeck, Vintage Trouble, Shoshana Bean and Moses Sumney. My peers in LA influence me as much, if not more, than most popular artists.
c.) Your pop sound is infectious. Can you tell us a little more how you write your music?
I try and write from the heart of an experience as much as possible. I feel like it yields the most honesty. Most of my songs were born out of an event in my life that could only be processed through writing. I’ll usually start with a chord progression on guitar, and then write a melody over that, followed by lyrics. Once that basic foundation is created, I’ll bring the song to my MD and producer, Jonny Morrow, as well as my band and we work out the arrangement together from there.
2) What are your career aspirations?
a.) I want to continue to write music for the rest of my life, both for myself and for other people. I’d love to be able to share this first album with as many people as possible, and to tour with it. I love meeting new people and seeing new places, so touring would be great.
b.) What kind of artist do you want to be in the long run?
I want to be like James Taylor, or Carole King. I want to write the types of songs that will survive the test of time, and be able to spend the rest of my life making art, living comfortably and constantly writing, touring and performing.
3) Give us the cliff note version of your career thus far and where you see yourself now.
I began writing music when I was fifteen in Iowa, and then I went to college in LA, studying to become an actor. After I graduated, I realized that in acting for TV and film, you don’t have much autonomy, but in music you do, so I returned to music in order to feel like I had a little more control over my life. I ended up producing a concert of my original songs that sold out, and after the concert, people kept contacting me telling me that I should record an album. So, I organized a bunch of my musician friends together, and I crowd-funded three EPs, which we then added two songs to and mastered as a full album. That album came out a few months ago. And now, well, I’m just working to try and get the album into as many people’s hands and ears as possible.
4) What are your plans for the rest of 2013? Are you promoting an album or going on tour?
Promoting the album is my priority for the rest of this year. My life and career have been pretty unpredictable so far, so it’s hard to tell what’s around the corner, but I have gigs booked in LA in the near future, and I’m hustling to try and get the music heard. Hopefully a tour will happen next year, and more writing and collaborating.
5) What’s the coolest thing fans can experience at one of your shows?
My goal is to create a participatory experience. I actively try to break down the wall between myself and my audience. I talk to my audience during my shows, and they tell me what they want to hear next. Sometimes I’ll grab people and pull them up on stage with me to improvise something or sing along with me for a song. You never know what’s going to happen at one of my shows, which I think makes the experience more fun for the audience and definitely more fun for me as the performer.
6) What would you like to tell fans of EarToTheGround about your art? What’s that one thing we really need to know to “get” Ben Caron?
EarToTheGround fans should know that I’m always trying to get better at what I do. I’ll be the first to admit that this project is a work in progress. I’m always trying to improve. And I think that’s why it’s fun following an artist- you get to watch them grow, evolve, and improve. I try to remember that a career is a journey, not a destination, and I’m having a really good time on this journey.