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Benjamin Francis Leftwich Interview

Nadia Jaynes speaks to the most unassuming Yorkshireman in music

Written by . Published on October 16th 2011.

Benjamin Francis Leftwich Interview

FOLLOWING the recent release of his latest single ‘Atlas Hands’ singer songwriter Benjamin Francis Leftwich is embarking on a 24 date headline UK tour to promote his album Last Smoke Before The Snowstorm

Leftwich has been championed by many radio bigwigs with Zane Lowe, Dermot O’Leary and Jo Whiley all featuring his singles on their shows and hailing him as one to watch. His blissfully smoky vocals and chilled out acoustic melodies have attracted praise from all corners of the music world and many critics have been surprised by the maturity of the 21-year-old’s debut album.  But Leftwich started playing the guitar at ten and has been perfecting those tracks since he was a teenager.

"I’m not the type of guy that’s gonna get massively affected by the attention that I’m getting”.

Leftwich first came to the attention of music moguls after posting his music online.   Quietly spoken and somewhat shy he has been surprised by the attention he has received. 

“To be honest it’s not like I always wanted to be a musician. It was more that I really enjoyed playing music. I never went all out to do it.  I just sort of recorded a couple of demos and put them up online….. I didn’t think my music would get played on the radio that’s for sure….the recordings have done really well but I didn’t expect it at all”. 

His covers of tracks like ‘Rebellion’ by Arcade Fire and ‘When You Were Young’ by The Killers received hundreds of thousands of hits on You Tube.  Leftwich is now finding fans posting covers of his own tracks online.

“It feels really good – that kind of stuff for me means more than any commercial success.  I’m just pleased that I’m connecting with people and that people are getting something from it.  It’s great that they like singing and playing my songs – it’s cool by me”. 

Inspired by musicians such as Bruce Springsteen and Ryan Adams, Leftwich maintains that he wants to keep evolving musically like his idols.  

Benjamin Francis LeftwichBenjamin Francis Leftwich

“If you listen to something like ‘Nebraska’ by Bruce Springsteen it’s really chilled, it’s like an acoustic vibe and then you know 20 years later he puts out an album like The Rising which is like an epic, almost rock album which in my eyes is equally brilliant.  He’s just got a real commitment to it. 

“He really cares about what he sings about.  You know, that kind of career where you just keep making music and someone that doesn’t conform and just carries on transforming”.

Last Smoke Before The Snowstorm is a beautiful debut with gentle whispy vocals and poignant lyrics.  Standout track ‘Box Of Stones’ showcases a lyrical talent beyond his years with the singer proclaiming “You said I am young, and I’m yours.  I am free but I am flawed”. It’s this talent that has pushed him into the spotlight.  Despite just embarking on his UK tour he’s already announcing future tour dates at bigger venues. 

2010 has been a whirlwind for the singer songwriter with radio appearances, a support slot with Noah and The Whale and a huge demand for his easy on the ear acoustics at this summer’s festivals. 

The standout gig for him so far has been The Green Man Festival in Wales  “…just playing at night time it was a really nice vibe and everyone’s just kinda sat down and chilled.  It was just a really special show for me”. 

Despite the attention that he’s been receiving the Yorkshire lad is keeping his feet firmly on the ground. 

“I’ve got a really close knit group of friends. Nothing’s really changed for me.  I’m just kind of doing what I’ve been doing all along, just on a bigger scale. I’m not the type of guy that’s gonna get massively affected by the attention that I’m getting”.

Leftwich remains typically cool about what the future holds. “The ultimate goal for me is just to keep making music for as long as I can and to try and keep inspired and to keep recording and playing my songs. 

“That’s what I love doing and it’s great that people are being supportive, coming to the gigs and seeing me at festivals and stuff.  I just want to keep making music and doing it on my own terms”.

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