Artist: Beta Radio
Hometown: Wilmington, North Carolina
Latest album: Afraid of Love (EP)
Personal nicknames: Brent is Brent. Benjamin is Ben.
Questions answered by Ben Mabry.
Which artist has influenced you the most … and how?
Oh boy, so many. How to answer this question…. Not sure how to distill it down to one, but the music of Sufjan Stevens has been a beacon to me in terms of how to honestly sing about faith and spirituality.
What other art forms — literature, film, dance, painting, etc. — inform your music?
I’ve been reading a ton recently, so that’s been pretty huge. Brent gave me a book a year ago called The Way to Love by Anthony De Mello, a Jesuit priest. And that’s having a pretty big influence on this most recent batch of songs. It’s literally showing me the way towards love.
Which elements of nature do you spend the most time with and how do those impact your work?
I grew up in North Carolina. I went to school in the mountains, and we lived on the coast, so any time in either of them is more than enough to remind me of the wideness of the world.
What rituals do you have, either in the studio or before a show?
Oh yeah! This is a big one. Been doing some breath work before I record vocals in the studio these days. I’m learning to sing more openly. I feel like I’m somehow unlocking a little bit more of my chest when I do that. Also, cold showers!
What’s the toughest time you ever had writing a song?
It probably was ALL the songs on the Ancient Transition record! I fought through a lot of writer’s block, or self-doubt, or something on that one. Not to mention a few existential crises.
Photo credit: Amanda Holloman