Read the full interview on Flaunt.com!
Eddie Benjamin is a young prodigy in the making. At only 18 years old, the Australian-bred, Los Angeles-based songwriter, producer, and musician can play a slew of instruments, with a burning passion for the bass. His father was a professional drummer while his mom and sister danced — clearly, genetics run in the family.
Having studied music his entire life, Eddie truly enjoys the art of creating music, simultaneously “writing songs and annoying people.” He explains, “I’m a little wild, so I definitely get in trouble at times but it’s okay. I get caught doing silly things sometimes like jumping off cliffs, I like exhilarating things.”
To date, Eddie has worked with everyone from Justin Bieber to Meghan Trainor to Labrinth, and even has the legendary Sia to call his mentor. With his long hair draped over his face and the passion exuded as he plays the electric pass, Eddie garnered a loyal following through posting viral covers on Instagram. He even hopped on Instagram Live with Justin Bieber for a jam session, with the pop star deeming him “the next generation.”
Earlier this year, Eddie stepped out from behind-the-scenes to debut himself as a recording artist, unleashing the relatable single “Fuck My Friends.” Most recently he followed it with “Speechless” and “Running Away From Home,” holding fans over until the release of his debut EP.
Flaunt caught up with the Epic Records signee to discuss his upbringing in Australia, his love for bass, inspo behind his singles, best advice from SIA, how he met girlfriend Maddie Ziegler, his forthcoming debut, and more!
Being from Australia, what were you seeing growing up?
The household I grew up in was really creative. My dad was a touring drummer and my mom is a choreographer with dance. They were always working, there were always endless projects around my house. I lived on the beach as well, so lots of surfing.
Who were you bumping growing up?
It was very broad, my parents listened to a lot of stuff. I was listening to Stevie Wonder, Prince, Sting, Mozart, Bach, Miles Davis, an array of all styles which was really great and educating.
Talk about your love for the Bass, which is pretty unique.
I started with bass. I was surrounded by lots of instruments when I was little: pianos, guitars, basses, banjos, drums. I was around them and understood how they were meant to sound and be played. I was on bass pretty much exclusively until I was 13, then started picking up these other things. I had built some solid techniques on these other instruments, I could play and get it. I listened to a lot of music that utilized all of these different styles and instruments. I utilized it with my ear and practiced, that’s been really fun.
What is every instrument you play?
That’s a good question, it depends on what you mean as playing an instrument. If you could define what it means to really play something, I’m not sure. I can make sounds out of almost anything you give me that maybe I’ll like.
I see somewhere you don’t love guitar as much, why is that?
I love the guitar, I don’t like it in a lot of styles of music. I grew up playing guitar. It’s the sound. In lots of styles of music, it’s been overplayed and numbed down to a mediocre thing. The masters like Prince, Stevie Wonder, Jimi Hendrix are so original that I only really love it when someone’s using it in a really spectacular way.
At what point did you realize this music thing was forreal?
I never actually thought of it like that. It was never a question, I knew and needed to. I couldn’t not go and play, find out how to do shows, get a band together then post videos. I just always did it.
Eddie Benjamin is your real name?
Mmhmm, it’s not Edward. My parents are cool. [laughs]
You put out “Running Away From Home,” how much does this relate to your real life?
This song means a lot to me, it’s about my friend who’s dealt with drug addiction problems for a long time. It’s about having to leave that and come to LA, leave someone you really care about and need to make sure they’re okay. The song can definitely come across lots of different ways however you want to take it.
What was your friend’s reaction to hearing it? I know music is a big outlet for you.
He probably doesn’t even know it’s about him. [laughs] I haven’t spoken to him since it’s been out. I’ve been busy, I’m sure he has as well. The release of music, the release of expressing how you’re feeling through art and not letting anyone tell you what the fuck it’s supposed to mean or what it is is very important to me. It’s the best outlet of emotion there is. It’s very natural, everyone should try it at least once.
How’s it feel to have the cosign from Justin Bieber?
It feels great. We’ve built a very organic relationship, he’s someone that’s been there for me throughout these last couple of months. With things picking up he’s definitely been a great friend.
How was that jam session on Instagram Live? Were you nervous? That’s a lot of people tuned in!
That was really fun. He’s a great energy. I connect with him because he’s also a person who loves music and he’s really talented. We connected, that was a lot of fun. I remember after being like “wow.”
How many followers did you get?
[laughs] I’m not even sure, I couldn’t tell you. Someone might be able to. I actually have no idea, I don’t pay attention.
Talk about SIA really taking you under her wing as a mentor.
SIA has definitely been like a mother to me out in LA. My girlfriend is Maddie Ziegler, that’s literally SIA’s godmom. That family has taken me in, we’ve become really good friends. It’s nice to have another Australian around. She has a lot of wisdom, it’s been beautiful. Couldn’t ask for a more supportive family.
What advice does she give you?
She gives me lots of advice. Music advice: to stay very clear and precise in all the realms of a song or a piece of music could be. She’ll often come in and change lines as I’m writing. She’s the GOAT, an absolute genius. She gives me a lot of personal advice. I’m so grateful to have these amazing artists guiding me through this crazy journey.
How did you and Maddie meet?
We met through a friend, I think she saw one of my videos. Me, her, her sister Mackenzie Ziegler went to The Grove, wow we both haven’t been there in a long time. We met on that night, we became really good friends and hung out. We were best friends for about a year before we started dating.
Did you guys secretly love each other that entire time?
[laughs] Definitely a bit of that vibe for sure. It was a complicated moment for a second.
What’s one thing you wants fans to get from “Fuck My Friends”?
You don’t really need anyone. We really don’t. Of course it’s so important to have supportive people around you, but that song’s more about the friends who have your back 50% of the time. In my opinion, fuck those people. I don’t want anything to do with them. I’m the 100% person, or 0%. If I love someone, it’s the real deal. That song could be for various situations. If people understand how much power they have in themselves and how much literally anybody can achieve, it’s a really special thing.
How tight-knit is your circle?
It’s very, very, very tight. One of the things I’ve learned from my beautiful friends and mentors is to keep it really tight, really make sure everyone’s on the same team and the same page. It’s all these people you really love and to keep them really close once you have them, because it’s really rare and important. I definitely keep my inner circle tight, that’s really important to me.
You’ve been in the studio with everyone from Ryan Tedder to Labrinth to Mike Sabath. You even wrote and produced on Meghan Trainor’s last album, what were the highlights?
The highlights are countless. I was thrown into the deep end of the best writers in the world from quite a young age. Learning is incredible. I’m at Meghan’s studio all the time still, I’ve been working with Ryan and Labrinth a lot. I’m really blessed to work with them all. Ryan Tedder, Mike Sabath, all these incredible writers that write all your favorite songs.
I interviewed Mike Sabath recently too!
Ah, he’s the best! He’s my brother, an incredible person to work with.
How does It feel to step out into the limelight as an artist versus songwriting
It’s a lot. It’s something to put yourself out there with, but I’ve never really thought about It. I love exploring music, I love having people come on the journey. It’s great, I’m definitely ready for all of that. I like making stuff and people listening, that’s my energy about it.
What can we expect from your forthcoming debut EP?
You can expect a lot of things. We’re definitely trying to push the boundaries and do a lot of things differently, really go in and make sure the music’s there. A lot of things I can’t mention, it’s really exciting. The music that we’re making, I’m really trying to do it for real and do things differently. I’m not trying to fit in with the group, I’m here to rumble everything up a bit. I’m really excited.
Being 18, are you still able to be a kid?
Umm, it depends on what you mean by a kid. If you mean going out to parties and getting wasted with idiot friends, then no. I definitely still try to have days to relax, days to be a wild kid, run around, go swimming. It’s important for sure.