Benét opens up about his impassioned and empowering debut album ‘Can I go again?,’ a labor of love, personal growth, vulnerability, and perseverance that aches in all the right ways.
Stream: “Overpowering” – Benét
“My will to win is overpowering,” a calm and cool-headed Benét sings in his latest single – and it’s easy to believe those words: The Richmond, Virginia-based singer/songwriter has never sounded better than he does these days, in the lead-up to his debut album. Long in the making, Can I go again? (due September 22nd via Bayonet Records) is a labor of love, personal growth, vulnerability, and perseverance. The follow-up to 2021’s debut EP Game Over! finds Benét exposed and empowered, spilling his soul over a range of stirring indie pop, rock, and R&B songs that ache with pure passion and raw fervor.
you laced my last hit so I’d remember it
when I came to, when I came to
I almost fell for it
first chance you got to stick
now I hate you, now I hate you
I was working on a a better me
until you intervened
now i bet you rest so peacefully
after ending me
the race to fix me
has never been faster
see how you lose, see how you lose
– “Overpowering,” Benét
For the 23-year-old artist, this album is home to the most intimate and revealing music of his career. “It’s really hard to be vulnerable and make songs, and then wonder if people will connect and enjoy it,” Benét – née Benét Nutall – tells Atwood Magazine. “I’ve been really scared the past couple years, to be really honest. I’m stepping away from the pop synth sounds on this record and tapping into a side that is very vulnerable for me, but it’s still a fun record.”
To date, Benét has released two singles off his debut: The spirited indie rocker “Insensitive” came out in early July, followed by the glistening, moody groove “Overpowering” in August. The two tracks come from opposite sides of the musical spectrum, and yet both are definitively of Benét’s world.
“I like to play all kinds of stuff,” he explains. “I just am always in such different moods.” Listeners can expect to be met with an eclectic array of sounds and styles on the artist’s debut album, which came together over three years’ time and includes collaborations with a vast swath of musically-minded friends (including John Trainum, Carlos Truly, Kyle Pulley, and Daniel Murillo).
“These songs I think introduce me in a very strong way,” Benét shares. “I’m very candidly saying what I’m doing, what I’m about, and what I’ve been going through since you last heard from me. I’m really hoping that it translates that way to the listeners. I just want people to hear me and enjoy, for real.”
push me away if you want
it won’t change
oh no it won’t a thing
i know what it’s like to be mean
when i am scared
of the what ifs
i start to act in way i don’t usually
so no i’m not surprised when you do it 2 me
cause i’ve been there before
yes, i’ve been here before
ya know i’ve been there before
and yet i still want more
– “Insensitive,” Benét
Traversing the musical and emotional spectrums, Can I go again? is an impassioned, inspiring, and utterly immersive coming-of-age record.
From love and lust to heartbreak and anguish; from dance pop and indie rock to seductive soul; from self-doubt and turmoil to inner peace and self-knowing, Benét pours his full self into an album that shivers, churns, and aches in all the right ways.
This isn’t a reckoning; it’s a celebration.
Catch up with Benét in our interview below, and get lost in his album’s mesmerizing first two singles “Insensitive” and “Overpowering,” both of which are out now. Intimate and candid, unapologetic and unfiltered, this is one artist we’ll be keeping our eyes and ears on over the months to come.
Can I go again? is out September 22, 2023 via Bayonet Records!
IStream: “Insensitive” – Bent
A CONVERSATION WITH BENÉT
Atwood Magazine: Benét, congratulations on the release of “Overpowering”! Can you share a little about the story behind this song?
Benét: Thank you, yeah of course! “Overpowering” is my encouragement song – like the saying, “haters are my biggest motivators” was present in the studio when I was writing this. Lotta people try to knock you down and this song is the fuel from that fire.
“You laced my last hit so I'd remember it when I came to,” you sing at the start. It's quite the entrance.
Benét: It’s kinda based on a true story, I’m kind of doing a little bit of a play on words. When I say “hit” I’m referencing a hit song and not like a hit of anything. But like it sounds like I’m saying I mean a hit of like a drug that is laced, so it was more impactful.. which is good because, you know, that’s how strongly I felt.
“I was working on a better me before you intervened,” you go on to sing. “… The race to fix me has never been faster. See how you lose…” Do you mind sharing a bit about what these lyrics mean to you?
Benét: I think the good thing about my lyricism is how literal I can be. So literally I was working on a better me before you came in and tried to intervene on the um… trajectory of my life, with your negativity, and with the knowledge that that is what you’re trying to do – the race is on to not let it happen! To me.
Is the subject in this story someone we want to root for, someone we want to see fail, or is it more complicated than that?
Benét: The story is about me, and you definitely want to root for me. I definitely am the underdog in my story, and I would love to be rooted for.
This is the second single off your upcoming debut album, following the spirited “Insensitive.” Why did you choose for that track to be your lead single?
Benét: I think Katie Garcia, a good friend over at Bayonet, suggested this one because it was different from the other singles and I thought that was really smart to like showcase that the album isn’t really gonna be just one type of sound or one note.
Personally I love the raw, feverish rush of energy coursing through “Insensitive.” What’s the story behind this song?
Benét: Thank you, I love “Insensitive” too! [laughs] I chose that because it’s just so fun. I really liked the change of pace that it was from my last single and I kind of wanted to surprise people with the first single off the album.
“Insensitive” is about communication. I think a lot of the time people can hold back how they’re feeling, and I want listeners to know that people have experienced so much in their life before you… They’re not new to it, so don’t be scared that you won’t be understood, because chances are, you will be! You just have to say it… just do it… you know. Hopefully that makes sense.
It definitely does. “Would it be weird if I asked for a kiss? At a time like this, would it be insensitive? Let me know if it is, I don't mean to offend,” you sing. Can we talk about that lyric for a second? It’s intimate, candid, and provocative all at once.
Benét: Wow, I love those words – intimate, candid, and provocative. I love that.. Again, I’m very literal. I’m like, I know you might be a little upset with me in this moment. Like it might be weird, but I really want to kiss you! Because all of your emotions are just so beautiful to me and I don’t mean to offend you. It’s just a compliment, so yeah that’s pretty much what it means. Damn, it’s so funny to think back on where I was when writing this song.
You clearly have a range of musical sounds and styles in your arsenal. Do you have a favorite style that you love to play the most – in your heart of hearts, what kind of music, if any in particular, do you find you gravitate toward?
Benét: I like to play all kinds of stuff – I just am always in such different moods. I think one that I really go back to a lot is upbeat pop/dance. All of that is really fun for me.
A lot of the time people can hold back how they’re feeling, and I want listeners to know that people have experienced so much in their life before you… They’re not new to it, so don’t be scared that you won’t be understood!
Your debut album Can I go again? is due out in September. What’s the story behind this album title; what does it mean to you?
Benét: Can I go again? is just a continuation of my life pretty much. The first project I put out was called Game Over!, and in a lot of ways and in lot of my relationships, I felt like things were finalized, and in the making of my first record, I started to realize that, you know, sometimes I can get a redo; not everything is so permanent.
How did making a full length album compare to your experience making your EP, Game Over!? Were they similar experiences for you, or totally different?
Benét: They were so different. I was working in different rooms with a completely different people and made the EP during Covid with producer Cameron Smith only through emailed stems. So I was very much in my room alone writing some of my first full length songs ever. It’s very different, and it feels good. I think making the record was a lot scarier for me ’cause I’m like, Damn I’m in the big leagues??? Like they want me to make a record?.. 30 MINUTES!?!? That’s crazy!
How do you feel “Insensitive” and “Overpowering” reintroduce you and introduce this album? What do you hope listeners take away from these two songs?
Benét: These songs I think introduce me in a very strong way. I’m very candidly saying what I’m doing, what I’m about, and what I’ve been going through since you last heard from me. I’m really hoping that it translates that way to the listeners. I just want people to hear me and enjoy, for real.
What do you think people might be surprised by when they listen to your debut album? What might there be in store for us, that we might not expect?
Benét: They might be surprised to hear so much guitar! [laughs] I’m stepping away from the pop synth sounds on this record and tapping into a side that is very vulnerable for me, but it’s still a fun record. I also think my voice has changed a lot since my last record so that too!
What have you taken away from creating Can I go again? and now putting it out?
Benét: I’ve learned that this is hard. It’s really hard to be vulnerable and make songs, and then wonder if people will connect and enjoy it. I’ve been really scared the past couple years, to be really honest. I’m hoping to be met with kindness and understanding and relation. I don’t know, maybe that’s too deep.
Here’s something lighter! I also learned when you can sing good, the baddies surround you for real… love that.
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© courtesy of the artist
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