Benjamin Keys contacted me a few weeks ago. His e-mail immediately touched my heart and I knew I had to know more about this guy and support him in his dream: Living in Hollywood and tour the world with other fellow musicians. So of course I went on a little internet search including his homepage: benjaminkeysmusic.com
Obviously we couldn’t meet in person so we schedule a Skype interview even though the time difference was super difficult to overcome 😀 So here it is:
You’ve been on big tours with artists like Ira May. So what would be your favourite or most special venue you still want to play in or have played in?
When I lived in Switzerland I went to the Openair Frauenfeld every year. I must have gone about 9 times in my life. If I ever play there with an American artist, that would definitely be a dream come true and very special for me. Other venues I would love to play are the Hallenstadion in Zürich or Madison Square Garden in New York.
I understand. Lots of artists would love to play in the latter one. So speaking about venues I read that you’ll be touring with Ollie Gabriel next year. Who would be your favourite artist to tour with?
When people ask me, I always used to say my favorite artist to play for is Justin Timberlake. Bruno Mars recently took his spot though and is now definitely my dream tour. My dream tour of all time would be Michael Jackson, no doubt.
Why did Bruno Mars take JT’s spot?
Timberlake’s Futuresex/lovesound tour was just the ultimate modern pop tour for me personally. But then came Bruno Mars with his 24K Magic tour and topped it! Plus I don’t really like JT’s new record.
What’s your favourite thing about touring?
The idea of traveling to different places in the world and at the same making music is an incredible thought to me. Also getting paid for it instead of paying for it. 😉
Haha I totally understand that! So we spoke about Bruno Mars, JT and Michael Jackson. Who are your musical influences?
I had many different phases of heros and inpirations. My first album was “Yellow Submarine” by The Beatles. Later I got into Rock and Punk and went from Blink 182 to Limp Bizkit to Rage Againt The Machine. And then one day I discovered hip hop and fell deeply in love with it. My favorite rapper of all time would be Nas. My favorite album of all time “Voodoo” by D’Angelo. And my favorite artist hands down Michael Jackson. Today I mostly listen to R’n’B influenced music and love to dig out old Prince records or see what Anderson Paak is up to.
Wow that’s a pretty big range. Just like me 🙂 Now let’s fast forward 5 years where do you want to be? Sorry I know it sounds like an interview question haha
I want to be a respected and in-demand keyboard player and tour the world. Also be healthy and live a happy life in Los Angeles.
We spoke about where you want to be but not where you’ve came from. After graduating did you just pack up and leave without any job offer or did you organize everything from Switzerland?
Yes, after graduating my jazz studies in Luzern I basically packed up and left to go to Musicians Institute in Hollywood. I started planning my move around two years earlier though and had to apply for many scholarships and foundations to get the financial side of studying in the US covered.
Last question: What needs to happen that you would say „Yup I made it with my music!“ Or did this already happen?
Oh I absolutely didn’t “make it” yet. I might have a slight feeling of making it, when I’ll embark on a world tour with a famous artist. But even then, the hustle obviously doesn’t stop. You have to always be on your toes to survive this fast-paced and crazy music business. And there is always a next step, so you must consistently find new ways to “make it”.
Well that was really interesting. Thank you for speaking to me and I wish you all the best for the future!