Badass picture from our show last night #musicians #musicbusiness #music #thisiscle #Cleveland

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On paper 2015 looked like a great year for Sean Benjamin: Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, Nashville, Festivals, hitting up Las Vegas and Memphis and much more. Let’s take a deeper dive.

PART I – TOURING IN 2015

@seanbenjaminmusic at Mad Donnas. Oh wait that’s me. I need a tan. #Nashville #nashvillemusic

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#Repost @clstlsounds with @repostapp. ・・・ Chillin time at the Root Cafe in Cleveland if you weren’t there U MISSED OUT

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Nashville
Played two shows in Nashville, one at Cafe Coco for a songwriters night where I met some amazing young songwriters who were also on tour: Celestial, Jane McKee, Sleepysycho and Ms. Later that month, I was able to secure them some shows up in the Cleveland and Canton, Ohio. The other show I played was at Mad Donnas in East Nashville with a really talented group of artists including Sarah Clanton and Isabeau Miller. In addition to performing my first ever shows in Nashville (also my first in Tennessee), I was able to check out some great spots for my love of food tourism. For instance, I had some great barbecue at Peg Leged Porker and a great burger at The Pharmacy.

Sean Benjamin on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

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Los Angeles
Until somewhat recently in my life, I had never been to southern California. To be honest, I really enjoy it there. I was under the impression that it would be overly superficial and brand oriented, but I was pleasantly surprised to be wrong and perhaps fortunate to avoid those types of destinations. While the first of my LA shows had its venue discontinue it’s music program the morning of the show, the bill was moved to a house party close to the Glendale neighborhood. The second show I played was at a really hip venue called TRIP in Santa Monica. I really enjoyed this venue and the show went great, with some old friends from back in the midwest stopping by to support. Plus I met another songwriter from Ohio named Anson Krekeler who was very cool

Time to punch in @seanbenjaminmusic in #Chicago at Elbo Room #musicians #musicbusiness #SoloSociety #music

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Chicago
The “Second City” invokes some bittersweet feelings for me. On the one hand, I’ve had some great shows there, including opening for Winslow at Blu Coral Lounge back in the day and this year teaming up with Solo Society pals Michael McFarland and Kevin Conaway at Elbo Room. I love the food in Chicago, the deep dish pizza, the Mexican food, the very cool China Town area. Yet, Chicago does also remind me a lot of a past relationship. The girl had been from the city and we had traveled there together, so it has been a little tough sometimes to go back.

State College
For years, I had wanted to hit the college town of State College, Pennsylvania. Going to a Big Ten college myself, in Ohio State, I had always wanted to visit and perform in the rest of the conference cities. I’ve hit many of them, but not all. Now, I can check State College off of my list. I traveled through the area with my Solo Society pals on our way to our show in Harlem that weekend. The Arena bar, which hosted us, had a good crowd and we would certainly stop by again.

New York
My favorite American city to visit, New York, New York. I love it. I can’t get enough of the different neighborhoods of Manhattan. Plus, this city has been so special to my career. It is where I first appeared on SiriusXMs The Opie and Anthony Show, where I was discovered by my producer Dru Boogie and where I’ve performed many many times at some great venues for some excellent crowds. This summer, the Solo Society and I hit the hip spot in Harlem called Silvana. This place take their music booking seriously and brings in acts from all over the world. It’s one of those venues that you know any night of the week is going to have a great lineup. We played with an Argentinian singer/songwriter who killed it. This trip to New York, I finally accomplished something I have been wanting to do, I touched the ancient Egyptian obelisk, brought over from Egypt to Central Park (Cleopatra’s Needle). We also had some New York slices, and had Ethiopian Food across from the legendary Comedy Cellar.

Singer Songwriter Cape May Festival
The Cape May Singer Songwriter festival brings together songwriters from all across the country to the beach front boardwalk town of Cape May, New Jersey. My friends from Solo Society had played there for years, but this was my first time. I really enjoyed the event as it celebrated the actual song and brought together many different genres with no focus on style or gimmick. I definitely want to continue going to this great event, so stay tuned to see if I am going back next year. I also met talented musician and poor taste in football clubs man, Steve Foht. 

Painesville Party in the Park crowd was great. Thanks for having us #PartyinthePark #Painesville #musicians #luckycity

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Painesville Party in the Park 
Ohio’s largest free outdoor music festival, Party in the Park, draws a big crowd to the old Ohio town of Painesville. I got to play the event for the second time this year. This year, though, I got to bring my band with me. We had a great reception and made a weekend out of the trip, playing the night before in Geneva-on-the-Lake at the Pickled Pepper and the following night in Jamestown, New York at Mojos.

Love the backdrop for my show last night at Adobe Gilas in #columbus #music #musician #acoustic #614

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Columbus
For roughly 5 years of my life, Columbus, Ohio was my home. It was where I developed the early foundation of my music career. As an OSU student, I played many of the campus-area bars and at one point had an exclusive contract to perform at on campus dining facilities, such as Mirror Lake Cafe and the various commons. In 2015, I returned yet again to columbus, performing shows in the campus area at the new World of Beers South Campus Gateway location and out in the Easton area at Adobe Gilas.

The Ryans on stage now #Canton

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@kevin_conaway and @seanbenjaminmusic 2/3 of our Solo Society of #singersongwriters #canton

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Canton
The most underrated music scene in the country right now might be Canton, Ohio. With the area establishments teaming up for regular events like First Fridays and Walk the Block, the Downtown area has seen a revitalization that should make the city proud. This year, I’ve had the pleasure of playing some shows for both of those events as well as one off shows at George’s Lounge. In early 2016, I’ll be back up at Buzzbin Art and Music Shop. Canton is home to many outstanding acts, including my friends Hey Monea! who have just released another critically acclaimed album “The Fifty”.

.@michaelmcfarland @thisisjck & myself outside our show tonight at Annabells #Akron

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#Repost @the411lowdown with @repostapp. ・・・ Ricky Miller and Sean Benjamin

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Akron
Another city that should be recognized for its support of the music scene is Akron, Ohio. Down in the rubber city, you have Musica, one of the standard bearers of music venues in the midwest, Jillys Music Room (formerly Northside Tavern) and Karma Kafe. This year, I played some shows at Karma Kafe with Michael as well as one solo on a bill with Red Sun Rising’s Ricky Miller and Flight 619’s Dakota Wilkinson and Gody Gregis. The Solo Society and I also played a cool farmers market event, overlooking the courtyard parking lot by Musica.

Cleveland
In my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio (to be clear, I have literally live in University Heights, Richmond Heights, Lyndhurst, Lakewood, Cleveland [Tremont] and Lakewood again in that order) I have historically played shows at a very high frequency. In 2015, I decided to scale back the frequency and focus on some out of town markets, recording and other ventures. That said, I played some great venues and events in the 216 this year including Walnut Wednesdays for Downtown Cleveland Alliance, the Cleveland Comedy Open (hosted by comedian Bill Squire), Brothers Lounge, Around the Corner, and the first annual Best Day Ever fest, put on by the Freemasons of Lakewood, Ohio which had probably the best musical lineup of 2015: Brent Kirby, Ray Flanagan, Rebekah Jean, The Ryans, Bad Wolfe, Mallory San Marco, Jimmy Maguire, John Patrick Halling and myself.

Brent Kirby & Ray Flanagan up at Best Day Ever fest in Lakewood #thisiscle

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Other great songwriters and acts I shared the stage with this year

Canyon at Georges Lounge

Nate Jones at Brothers

Gustavo Ecclesia at Silvana 

Myth and Company at Painesville Party in the Park

Tom Evanchuk  at Painesville Party in the Park

Paul Sforza at Singer Songwriter Cape May

The Lion Summer at Georges Lounge

This is Buffalo at Georges Lounge

The Scenic Route at Georges Lounge

Mojoflo at Musica

American Gentlemen at Annabells

Midwest State of Mind at Annabells

 

 

PART II – NON TOURING TRIPS

Made it up to a nice suite party last night #lasvegas

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Las Vegas
I had the pleasure of going back to Vegas this year for my second time. There are parts I really like about Las Vegas and parts I that really annoy me. The places I thought would draw my criticism in southern California paled in comparison to the superficial brand-centric nature of the strip. While I realize that this is an almost entirely tourist based problem, the facade that people wear in that particular city is especially dishonest. I like the architecture and the celebration of art in the casinos. I am drawn in by the pretty lights and 24-hour hospitality. However, I find that I more so enjoy the street performers than the large theater type acts and while I am annoyed by the idea of panhandling, I’m even more annoyed by the behavior of some tourists towards the people in those circumstances, often judging them for “spending the money on alcohol and drugs” when, let’s be honest, many of those people on vacation there are doing the same. Still though, I prefer going to Las Vegas to not going to Las Vegas, as I can relate with struggling to subdue one’s passions.

In Memphis.

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Memphis
When I mentioned to people I was going to Memphis, many of them showed concern for my safety as it is known to have a higher crime rate than most US cities. It probably goes without saying that the area in which I was spending time, Downtown does not suffer from such problems and was an extremely enjoyable place. The majority of people I have asked have said they prefer Nashville to Memphis and I find myself, once again being the contrarian. I found the Beale Street strip to be a bit more genuine than the Broadway strip with regards to live music. I also enjoyed the food in Memphis quite a bit, eating at Rendezvous (the birthplace of dry rub) and Gus’ Hot Chicken. I do hope to return to Memphis in 2016, this time, with my guitar in hand.

And the rolls are fricken amazing #food #foodie #missouri #eat #eating

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Springfield/Branson
I empathize with Branson. Being from Cleveland, I am used to us being a punchline in hacky comedies and cartoons. Branson is known for being a Las Vegas for the elderly. But, having been there in 2015, I found it has a lot more to ofter for a younger demographic as well. In addition to being within roll throwing distance from the famous Lamberts Cafe, Branson has developed a new lifestyle center along the river which really ties a new feel into the existing culture.

The reason I’m here ! #chelseafc #chelsea #cfc #washingtondc

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Yup DC

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Washington DC
I went to Washington DC with my dad to watch the Chelsea FC vs. FC Barcelona match in the International Champions Cup tournament. Chelsea is, as some of you know, who I support, but I also have a lot of respect for Barca. I got to see my favorite player Eden Hazard score a goal, which is awesome, and Chelsea won (something they haven’t done a lot of recently). While in DC, we stopped by a few monuments and memorials, like Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, WWII, Vietnam, The Capitol, the White House, House of the Temple and the George Washington Masonic Memorial and Museum.

PART III – YOUTUBING & RECORDING

This year I embarked on building a home video and audio recording studio. I purchased a Logitech c920 webcam, Blue Snowball USB mic, matching RØDE M5 microphones, a RØDE NTK1 vocal mic, a mic shield and acoustic treatment for the walls. Now, I need to learn how to properly use the software (Logic). I put out a few YouTube and Facebook videos from my home studio this year, but did not release an EP or LP. However, I have recorded a large bulk of material for pre-production, which means, I may release a lot of material in 2016, possibly under a few names. I would imagine that some of the music doesn’t make sense with some of the other music. Some would work well with my I Exist producer, Dru Boogie, while others I am working on with Michael McFarland and others I may do with a full band. 2016 is just beginning and I plan to get these songs out there this year. Hopefully, that is in the cards.

So, 2015 was a pretty good year. I got to see a lot of place, play a ton of great shows, but more importantly, hang with some great people. Thanks for making it a great year.

Scrolling through whichever social media news feed, waiting for the thing to set you off. That could be described as me in a day and age where people feel so open to talk about complex geo-political issues with their research about said issue being a photoshopped meme from a clearly ideologically matching source.

These posts flow over me like the river rushes over deeply lodged stones. I feel their current, but I don’t leave my place.

And then my eyes wander down, and what do I see? Coldplay are playing at the Super Bowl halftime show. Yes!! How awesome, but wait, how terrible. Because ever since the Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen mid-video game debate in the 40 Year Old Virgin, the line “You know how I know you’re gay? Cause you like Coldplay?” has been a verbal quip, a Facebook comment, and an unintentionally sentiment building line that subconsciously drives the weak minded and potentially mildly homophobic away from a band who has done nothing but put out quality music.
I present my evidence:

Exhibit 1. Clocks

Exhibit 2. Fix You

Exhibit 3. Lost + Jay Z

Exhibit 4. Violet Hill

Exhibit 5. Trouble

Exhibit 6. Paradise

Exhibit 7. Talk

Exhibit 8. The Scientist

Exhibit 9. Everything’s Not Lost (Live 2003)

Exhibit 10. If You Stand Up, They’ll Buy You All Ice Cream

and finally lets give the new video an embed. It is fun, the music, the visuals.

 

Check out this brand new song, “Fell On Me”. Hope you guys like it. Please spread the word. Share the video with your friends!

Lyrics:

Stay here please
wrapped in me
til i’m ready
to be missing

fell on me
this heavy
heart i can’t
can’t keep

not guilty
no pity
just reaching
for what we had

torment me
fell on me
slip from me
can’t keep

tried waiting
it’s grating
my patience
my senses

fail on me
just can’t see
can’t hear, feel
can’t keep

so come back please
next to me
no leaving
believe in

destiny
last with me
the love for you
that fell on me