Tim van Berkestijn, better known by his stage name Benny Sings is a Dutch producer / singer songwriter / multi-instrumentalist you might have already heard about. Despite his international success, we feel he's still wildly underrated in the Netherlands, for a madly talented artist of his caliber. Therefore, we're taking the occasion of his upcoming album release to shine a light on this national treasure in the following write-up.
Tim has been active on the music scene for over a decade now, layering synth-soaked pop, soul and jazz over the foundation of hip hop in the most tasteful way. Graduate of sonology at the Royal Conservatory of the Hague, he's experimented with his sound in quite a few ways. Some examples include playing bass in the Dutch hip hop group Abstract Dialect, joining the Heavenly Social soul group and working with De Toffen collective under the 'Kikker' moniker (which in Dutch means 'Frog'). His first album as Benny Sings 'Champagne People' was released in 2003. The anagram is inspired by Chet Baker, jazz trumpet player that started singing as well and called his singing albums 'Chet Baker Sings'). Benny's got a string of globally successful hits under his belt, whether it's his own stuff like 'Not Enough' or 'Passionfruit' or the numerous collabo's with notable artists such as The Free Nationals, Mayer Hawthorne, Mndsgn, Goldlink and the platinum single with Rex Orange County to name a few.
Benny Sings also was one of the composers of the original music for the Japanese Netflix serie ‘Carol & Tuesday’ (amongst others like Flying Lotus, Thundercat, Mocky & Erlend Øye). Also, he's the first Dutch artist to be featured on the popular series of NPR's Tiny Desk Concerts, multiple times (his own performance, and 'Home concert' during the peak-summer of this quarantine).
Benny's currently signed to the legendary L.A. based Stones Throw (since 2018) and this will be his 2nd release on the label. Same label that released music by artists such as MF Doom Madlib and J Dilla, to name a few. Benny's 'Music' album is a successor to the extremely well-received 2019 Stones Throw debut 'City Pop'. Overall, he's released seven studio albums and the upcoming one is a 10-song journey featuring cross-genre collaborations including artists like Emily King, Mac DeMarco, Tom Misch, Cautious Clay and KYLE, gracing us with extraordinary songwriting and uplifting, feel-good vibes. His distinctive light-hearted vocal compliments the sunny melodies and the ever-present themes of love with all of its ups and downs, capturing the essence of a whole spectrum of emotions. The album has been gradually unrolling over the past year or so and the time has finally arrived to hear it in its full beauty this Friday. To pre-save the album on a streaming platform of your choice, peep here.
1. Nobody’s Fault feat. Tom Misch
2. Here It Comes
3. Sunny Afternoon
4. Rolled Up feat. Mac DeMarco
5. Lost Again
6. Break Away
7. Kids feat. KYLE
8. Run Right Back feat. Cautious Clay
9. Miracles feat. Emily King
Since five singles of the album have been released already, we might as well get in the mood with a few of them, shall we? So the title track of the 'Music' album was the first single that dropped early 2020, few months before this whole madness was unleashed on our planet. As soon as that happened, the song seems to have become instantly even more relevant than ever. Literal lifesaver during the pandemic that's provided soothing comfort to many of us (*speaking for myself here, 'Music' basically held me over and got me & mine through the toughest moments of the prior year.*).
"Music help me through this / I can't do this all on my own / Music help me through this / Whenever I'm down on the floor" - Benny sings on the title track of the album
'Sunny Afternoon' was the next single to come to the light of the World. Co-written by Grammy Award winning R&B soul singer PJ Morton during his Amsterdam visit, it feels like the touch of Sun on your skin after a long winter, even on the rainiest day. Definitely brings the ultimate laid-back spring atmosphere.
Another single off of this album, 'Rolled Up' featuring the Canadian artist Mac DeMarco. Hearing these two artists on one track makes so much sense. Their voices blend together so effortlessly, it's almost unreal. The song's basically about "being in the dumps without a particular reason", as Benny said in a previous press release.
'Nobody's Fault' follows with a beautiful guest, none other than Tom Misch, who's lent some blazin' guitar sounds to this cheerful production. Can't help but dance along to this, despite the broken relationship theme.
'Here It Comes' is the last known track from the upcoming 'Music' album. Peep the delightful lyric visuals created by animator Sabrina Nichols. “The lyrics are about me as a young boy, living on the streets in Dordrecht with my skate crew, and feeling life presenting itself, and feeling excited about it. A time full of hope and bravado. My dad used to call us ‘Little Giants.’”
And you've still got tons to look forward to. Some of our favorites are 'Miracles' with contributing vocals by Emily King, Kelsey Gonzales of The Free Nationals and and Chance the Rapper collaborator Peter CottonTale’s gospel choir. 'Run Right Back' (*which may or may not feature the sample of Erykah's 'Gone Baby Don't Be Long'*) along with a beautiful saxophone solo by Cautious Clay. The way the album flows is very organic and the themes so relatable, Benny's compositions and melodies are sure to get under your skin once you give the album a spin. Engineered and mixed by Renaud Letang, of the famed Studios Ferber in Paris. Pop music at its best.
“We were looking for a special heavenly setting for our live stream concert. We found it with the historic Planetarium in Amsterdam. I’m really looking forward to playing songs of the new album “Music” and some classics with my band surrounded by beautiful starry skies” says Benny Sings.
Benny and his band (Benny Sings: vocals, keys; Adam Bar Pereg: keys, vocals; June Fermie: vocals; Bram Wassink: bass; Colin Lee: drums) will celebrate the release of the new album with a special live stream from Amsterdam's Planetarium, surrounded by beautiful starry skies this Friday - April 9th. Tickets are on sale now. Everyone is welcome and the entrance fee is pay-what-you-want, so your financial support is completely up to you and your current possibilities. And while you're there, along with the tickets, you can also pre-order ‘Music’ on vinyl & CD if that's your jam. Plus there's a special ‘Music’ t-shirt designed by UK artist Bo Matteini available.
Expect both new songs and classics from previous releases. Looking forward to seeing you there this Friday. Let's show Benny some love ❤
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