Music Muse: Q+A with Benjamin Francis Leftwich

Posted by Drake, July 04, 2016
Benjamin Leftwich

Less than a month away from the release of his second album, After the Rain, Benjamin Francis Leftwich returns to Toronto for an intimate solo performance in the Drake Underground. Moving audiences with the premiere of his breathtaking new song, “Mayflies”, Benjamin captures the silent exhilaration of the moment, with a voice that’s gentle and quite dramatic. Filled with emotional twists and turns, we couldn’t wait to sit down with Benjamin to chat about his upcoming show, his new album and favourite haunts in the city before his performance on Saturday, July 16th.

What should we be listening to right now?
I am loving the new Chance The Rapper mixtape Coloring Book. I’m also listening to a lot of a composer called Yann Tiersen, I fall asleep to his beautiful music most nights. The soundtrack he wrote for Goodbye Lenin! is so, so beautiful. The new Drake record is so brilliant as well.

In your new single "Mayflies", the world is ending. If you could play one last show before your last day on earth, what venue and why?
Great question. I think it would be an acoustic show at the Night & Day Cafe in Manchester, I played one of my first out-of-town shows there when I was 17 and I just had a really beautiful show there on my last UK tour. The venue holds a lot of history for me musically, romantically and spiritually, as does Manchester in general.

What was the hardest song to write in your new album, After the Rain?
The song “Groves” was the hardest to write. It’s a very honest song about losing my Dad and I found the whole process of writing and producing it very therapeutic but also painful and slow moving at points. I’m very proud of the song.

What was it like to work with Charlie Andrew?
Charlie has become one of my closest friends and I trust him implicitly as a musician. He has such a free and beautiful approach to making music and he really helped me rediscover myself as an artist. Charlie is also brilliant on the drums and can jam and create on most instruments you put in front of him. He is also a great songwriter in his own right and ultimately I think he has a humanist ethic to his time in the studio. We talked deeply about music, words, love, loss and other beautiful records and we both felt free in the studio. I’m very grateful to have Charlie in my life and I’m looking forward to working with him more in the future.

Favourite haunts in Toronto?
I’ve played in Toronto a few times before but I can’t remember too much about the city other than that I absolutely love it and if I could live anywhere in the world it would most likely be in Canada and probably Toronto. The energy and love for the creative arts is amazing in Canada. So much of my favourite music comes from there. I’m looking forward to checking out Frings and maybe seeing the Raptors play…

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