Emerging

Ben Cottrill

Sounds likeJames Bay, Leif Vollebekk, Ray LaMontagne, John Mayer
LocationVancouver

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Tell us a bit about yourself?
My voice is somewhere between Lennon, McCartney and a coyote; at least, that's about as close as it gets. I'm a songwriter and musician from the Vancouver area, where I live and often perform. I take tips from John Mayer and Ray LaMontagne in my music, though my sound is much more like James Bay or Leif Vollebekk. To me, giving people a great performance is something priceless and at times, unforgettable.

There are a lot of emerging artists in the UK right now. What sets you apart from the rest?
Well for starters, I'm from Vancouver, BC so that takes me out of the UK category. But I think my songs have a certain tone to them which hold some interest to people; a fairly insightful look into the genuine parts of an artist, including all the anger, loneliness and some of that love-y/sensual stuff. Sounds pretty regular, but I think writing what's on my mind without too much concern for the reaction has people connecting with my honesty. Not to mention, my live shows get a bit... wild? I guess I get pretty stoked and people either get wild and excited, or are just unsure of it. Either way, people walk away with something sorta unusual. Did I just answer the question by saying "I am unique because I am?"

What’s some back-story?
My first EP Red Lines came together very quickly (in 30hrs, aka 4 sessions) in the studio, as I was starting to move from Ontario to BC during the recording and was running out of time. The songs were pre-written months before recording but a few times I'd just write the second verse just before recording and they made it to the final cut. I was only 17 at the time and I hadn't yet developed much of a gravelly voice (now I can sort of rasp it at will), so I would take swigs of pop before singing certain parts. Don't think it actually helped much but it sounded okay in the end.

What are you working on at the moment?
Just finishing up the mixing on my new EP, coming out in the late Spring/Summer. The single from it, "Give Me Thunder" should be coming out soon too. Besides that, I've got some shows booked for the next few months which I'm really looking forward too.

What's the first song you remember hearing?
The first song I remember hearing was "Video Killed The Radio Star" by the Buggles, funny enough. I also have very clear memories of listening to "Folsom Prison Blues" by Johnny Cash, and the Beach Boys Christmas Album of course.

You're in a Karaoke Bar - What's your go to song?
If there's a lady to sing with, definitely "Ain't No Mountain High Enough". Otherwise, I'll probably go for "Bennie and the Jets". Maybe "Teenage Dirtbag".

What was the first gig you went to?
I saw quite a lot of Christian Rock bands as a kid... very 2000's-esqe kind of stuff. Wasn't by choice and it affirmed in me a distaste for Modern Rock, aka, boring music with loud electrics. But I was part of a Children's Choir in Canada and we sang at Carnegie Hall, so I guess it was the first real gig I went to. Definitely one for the books.

Which song do you wish you'd written?
All of Bob Dylan's "Blood On The Tracks" album. It's beyond words; it sums up what I hope to achieve as a songwriter.

Which song changed your life?
"Let It Be" by The Beatles. First song I learned to play outside of piano lessons and something reaaally clicked. Something in my head told me "Hey, piano is sort of cool actually". The rest is history I suppose.

Which song would you like played at your funeral?
"Old Shep" by Elvis Presley. A great song for an old, dead dog.

What song is stuck in your head right now?
"Loving Is Easy" by Rex Orange County. So good man!

What was the first Album you bought?
Ehh, probaby "100 Greatest Johnny Cash songs", which realistically ended up only being 20 good ones and a whole lotta something else. Sorry Johnny. That comes from a big fan.

Which song made you want to play music?
If "Let It Be" got me to play piano, "Piano Man" kicked my songwriting intuition into high gear. Something about that song is near ironic yet it captures a great story, a memorable chorus and melody, and some nice harmonica. I mean, I'll take any other Billy Joel song over it but I owe a lot to it.

Last words?
Thanks for stopping in, come back soon I guess?

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Ben Cottrill's Next Gig

Date Thursday 31 May 2018 at 15:00
Address Fox Cabaret, Main Street, Vancouver, BC, Canada, V5T 3C9

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