Singer and songwriter Arrow Benjamin can be categorized as an artist who is full of life and purpose, with a “get-up-and-go” attitude when it comes to producing great music. The London native strives to bring a high level of mastery to his music, and has studied many artists from his hometown, including Sam Smith and Emeli Sandé. Still, he is not afraid to reveal his own unique musical sound.
The rising soul star has already collaborated with the lovely and talented Beyoncé on the song, “Runnin’ (Lose It All),” adding even more leverage to his musical resume. The single was a huge smash internationally—reaching the top 5 on the UK charts in October. Now, Benjamin unveils his very own five-track EP, W.A.R. (We All Rise), which highlights his work as a poignant lyricist. The latest single off the EP, “Look at Me,” is an epic tune that talks about love and willpower that speaks from the heart.
Benjamin took time to speak with SoulTrain.com about his musical ambitions, the EP, working with Mrs. Carter, and so much more.
SoulTrain.com: Let’s talk about your single, “Look at Me.”
Arrow Benjamin: It was an interesting time, writing and recording that record. I was in the Caribbean and it was a completely different atmosphere. It’s great writing songs for other artists, but it’s different when you’re writing songs for yourself in a peaceful place. I like to write based on human experiences as opposed to just myself. I like to write songs that fit well with everyone. And so the song “Look at Me” was a way to tell the people to look at me in love. This song was greater than me, and my music is created with love. “Look at Me” is a song you can play when you’re looking for light at the end of the tunnel or coming from a very dark place.
SoulTrain.com: Tell us about your EP, W.A.R (We All Rise)
Arrow Benjamin: When people hear the word “war,” they automatically assume it’s something negative. But, some many things can be evolved from the word war. I was in the Grenadines, the Caribbean while I was working on the EP. It’s such a beautiful place and I recognized the beauty and I was surrounded by nature. And from that point, I was working, writing songs. It just woke me up and I felt like I was in a writing camp. I called it W.A.R. because we must all rise and confront our issues and battles. A lot of times, the biggest battle that people have is with themselves. The EP is a message of hope, overcoming your demons, and fighting for peace. I felt so inspired because we shall overcome and fight so we can have the results we’re looking for once the war is over.
SoulTrain.com: How was Beyoncé featured on the single, “Runnin (Lose It All)”?
Arrow Benjamin: We were in the early stages when we were working on the single. The record was raw, real, and honest, and Naughty Boy produced the single. I [felt] like something was missing and we were trying to find the piece to the puzzle. And we were like, let’s see if we can put Beyoncé on the single. We reached out to her and she fell in love with the single. She wanted to collaborate with us and there was no ego. I was really happy because Beyoncé is singing on our track. It’s a deep record coming from a vulnerable place, not running from yourself anymore. It was about overcoming your demons, fear, and doubt all at the same time.
SoulTrain.com: What was it like working with Mrs. Carter? Were you nervous singing in front of her?
Arrow Benjamin: Beyoncé is an amazing person and artist. She is so humble, grounded, and she loves music. It’s like when she hears music, Beyoncé can pick up the sound, the melody, or the lyrics; I mean it just grabs her attention. I really didn’t feel intimated but I do recognize who she is musically as well. When I was singing with her, it wasn’t competitive; it was all about working with her and not being afraid to be vulnerable and honest. Love who you are and hold on to that for the greater good. So, no, it was not intimating and I didn’t feel inferior at all.
SoulTrain.com: Would you say growing up in London intensified your love or fascination for music?
Arrow Benjamin: I feel like I was born to do what I do and I didn’t want to do anything else with my life other than music. Yes, I would have to say growing up in London influenced me as an artist. I consider London to be a melting pot of cultures. It has so many musical styles which helped me figure out how I should use my voice as an instrument. I grew up listening to different kinds of music and there were no rules or restrictions in my house when it came to music. Everyone listened to different genres of music—from reggae to house, so there I learned to expand my frame of thinking for music.
SoulTrain.com: Why do you call yourself a “mid-wife” when it comes to songs?
Arrow Benjamin: I am a melody fiend. My melodies are creative and they speak to people. They bring so much meaning in people’s lives. And that’s why I call my songs “my babies.” I gave birth to them and I want to share them to the world.
SoulTrain.com: What should we expect from Arrow Benjamin, the artist?
Arrow Benjamin: I am an artist who is ready to share his music to the world. My music is enriched with love and it touches on so many things that people go through in life. I follow this phrase when I’m writing songs: “Write the songs that you need to hear.” I think about the phrase in the mind and hearts of many. The phrase helped me get through some of the darkest places in my life. And with my music, I want people to have faith still even though when you feel like there’s no way to go. My music can also relate to people who have faith but it needs to be cultivated. Life can make you feel this way but you have to keep growing. And so, I want my music to be a part of that result and process.
—Dominique M. Carson
Dominique M. Carson is a freelance music writer, critic, and a proud Brooklyn College graduate. Dominique’s work has been featured in Singersroom.com, Education Update, Bay Currents, Birthplace Magazine, Rappersoom.com, Brooklyn College’s media outlets, Pure Soul Magazine, www.thecelebritycafe.com, and www.NYCityWatch.org. She was an honorable recipient for Blackstreetonline.com’s Black Celebration Awards’ News & Journalism category. For more information on Dominique, visit her homepage, Twitter page, LinkedIn page, and Facebook fan page.