Musician of the Week

Musician of the Week
Ben Rector

Instruments: Piano, guitar, vocals
Day job: Student.
First performance: I played an original song at a talent show in high school when I was 16. Nobody knew I sang. I had been practicing in my parents’ bathroom when nobody was home for months. It went really well, people were fairly surprised.
Favorite performance: House of Blues, Dallas, Tex. I played a leg of Dave Barnes’ “Chasing Mississippi” tour and one of the stops was the House of Blues in Dallas. I’d played in Dallas maybe eight or ten times, at the House of Blues once before. Dave brought a big crowd; it was a sold out show in a great venue, but what was really great was that there were a lot of people there just to see me, singing the words to all the songs.
Type of music: Pop.
Originals or covers: Originals.
Sounds like: Piano pop with touch of oldies.
Influences: The Beatles, all ‘60s and ‘70s, good singer songwriter pop.
Accomplishments: Sold 2,000 copies of “Twenty Tomorrow” in nine months traveling almost exclusively on the weekends (mostly Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, and other places in Arkansas). Won the pop category of the John Lennon international songwriting contest at 18 (largest songwriting contest in the world). Full time student at the UA.
What kind of crowd do you draw: Depends on the city. Mostly college kids.
Any albums: “Songs That Duke Wrote” (2008), “Twenty Tomorrow” (2007), self titled ep (2006).
Back stage ritual: Write a set list, goof around.
Funniest or strangest thing that ever happened during a performance: I was playing in Utah and asked for a topic to sing about (I occasionally do improv songs). Someone yelled out “polygamy.” I asked if it would offend anyone, there were no objections. I made up the song and we all had a good laugh. I was later jumped by a man and six of his wives. I’m kidding. Not about the song though.
Plans: My manager will shop the record I’m releasing on Nov. 6 “Songs That Duke Wrote” to a number of labels and hopefully sign in the summer.
Goals: To make a living making music that means something to people.
New Projects: “Songs That Duke Wrote.”  Six full band pop songs produced and engineered by Will Hunt (Amy Lee and David Hodges, both of Evanescence, Shane and Shane, Bethany Dillon, Shawn McDonald) at Spaceway Studios in Dallas. Six acoustic songs recorded in Nashville, at the Sonic Cellar. Most of the music I’ve recorded to date has been piano pop/rock, but I’ve played guitar for far longer than piano. it just so happened that when I started making records I was in a piano phase, so I wanted to have an outlet for some of the non piano songs I’ve been writing.
If you could open for anyone, who would it be?  Paul McCartney.
Last CD purchased: Ray Lamontagne “Gossip in the Grain”
Web site:
Upcoming shows and tours: CD release at George’s on Nov. 6 with Andy Davis. Show starts at 9 p.m.

Categories: Music