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A Dirty Dozen with BEN SAMAMA – June 2023

| 17 June 2023 | Reply

According to a recent press release: “Los Angeles based Grammy-nominated songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and Bigger Picture Publishing client Ben Samama celebrates the release of OneRepublics new single “Runaway” which he co-wrote and co-produced with the band. To date Ben has amassed over a billion streams across his songwriting credits, penning releases with artists such as Lukas Graham, Black Bear, MONSTA X, Lil Wayne, Lukas, John Legend, David Guetta and more! The team at Bigger Picture Publishing have been integral in Bens progress and are thrilled with this latest milestone.” We get Ben to discuss new music, influences, and more.

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

“Runaway” was a labor of love, for me and for the band as well. We went through a lot of iterations of the song before we landed on this version! For me, my favorite bit about the production is the drum sound, which the band played live, and really dialed in the crunchy, punchy sound from the 70’s that I’m so obsessed with. They really nailed it in my opinion.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

I’ve been surrounded by music from birth. My parents are classical musicians, so you could say I grew up in an orchestra hall. There was never any doubt in me that my professional life would be, in some way, in music. Up until the day I moved to the USA from Amsterdam at age 22 however, I was a jazz musician, singer and arranger. That was my life. But in the back of my head there was always this nagging voice that said: ” writing songs is where your heart truly lies”. So I packed my bags and made the big scary jump to the USA, hoping to god I would land on my feet somehow. I consider myself very lucky that I did.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

I’ll tell you my gateway drug into pop music was Sting singing ” I was brought to my senses”, which, listening back, is a very artsy, classical sounding record. But that was my first foray into pop. From there it was a very short transition into The Police, Jackson 5, Curtis Mayfield, Stevie Wonder, then to Justin Timberlake and Ne-Yo, then to everything else.

4. How has being part of Bigger Picture Publishing helped in your journey and is there anything in particular you have learned from them?

Bigger Picture have been champions of my career from the day they met me, and have been paramount in my development as a creative and professional. Their ear for hit songs has no equal and made me up my game immensely, which has done wonders.

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Sting, without question. He literally is the reason I’m in LA doing what I do.

6. What is your favorite activity when out of the studio and/or not on tour?  What do you like to do to unwind?

I describe myself as a workaholic, but that’s only because I love what I do so much I can’t, or don’t want to, turn off. For my own health though, I’ve been doing a lot of long hikes with my wife and our dog around the LA area.

7. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

This is an interesting question, because as a topliner and producer, my job is to be flexible in what I’m able to create with artists. Recently though, I’ve been finding my own voice a little and separating myself as a producer by focusing a lot on my love of 60’s and 70’s music. I call it Future Boomer hahaha!

8. What is your songwriting process like, do you start with a lyric, or a melody. Does the song start on a computer, piano or acoustic guitar?

It is usually melody and production first, because that always grabs me first in any song I love. My phone is flooded with thousands of voice notes of me humming to myself or little guitar or piano things I do so I can come back to it later. Anything that sparks my ear is worth pursuing, even if it takes a little while to get cut!

9. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

I weirdly don’t ever get starstruck. Mostly because the people I look up to the most are the writers and producers in the shadow that are just normal people doing the hard work. Though I imagine if I ever get to meet Mark Ronson I’ll get wobbly legged for a second.

10. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

The best part about it is that I love what I do so much I don’t want to stop. Honestly I’ve never had a plan B hahaha!

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

I probably should have listened to my brother and learned how to produce records a lot earlier than I did. He urged me to learn how to record when I was 14 but I didn’t honestly start making beats at age 24. That and learn how to play guitar properly which I still am terrible at.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Too many to name! If I really had to choose, it would be watching Aretha nail her vocals in a single take every time. Or maybe being able to hang out with the Wrecking Crew or Funk Brothers in their hey day. These guys (and Carol Kaye) would record 5 songs in a day and not break a sweat. The vibes must have been so thick in those rooms you could spread it on a bagel!



Category: News

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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