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Artist Spotlight: Ben Walker

Artist Spotlight: Ben Walker

Rising Scottish singer-songwriter Ben Walker plays Sneaky Pete's, Edinburgh on Thursday 9th May. We sat down to chat with him ahead of the headline show...

What are you most excited about that you’ve got coming up this year?

Wow, where to start?!  Obviously, performing is the ultimate adrenaline rush and nothing beats being on stage with the band! TRNSMT has got to be the highlight! So far......!  It’s something you grow up watching every year and dreaming about!

Apart from that, I am getting out and about a bit this year, Germany, England... it’s great to be travelling, getting my music out to new crowds, and meeting new people!

What made you get into music & performing, is it something you’ve always wanted to do?

Growing up, music has always been part of my life - it was always on in the house.  My parents took me to my first live gigs as a kid, all different genres, and everything from small intimate gigs in venues such as The Caves, to bigger stadium gigs.

Until I picked a guitar up in school (it was that or detention one day!) it never crossed my mind to play or sing.  I found that playing the guitar helped calm my brain down when school got too much. I started singing along to keep me at the right speed and people just encouraged me from there both at home and in school.  Then Covid happened and I did a couple of Lockdown Lives and it snowballed from there really.  Local businesses asked me to do a couple of live sessions and I got the bug!

I wanted to join the RAF or work on a farm before, but after Covid, I wanted to get out and enjoy life a bit more - I decided to do an HNC in Music for a year and I have never looked back.

Who’s your biggest inspiration when it comes to your songwriting?

Songwriting to be honest is not something I have found easy. I struggled in school with English, I didn't read enough is what my teachers would say!! So, sitting down and writing stuff has not come easy. In saying that, now I have matured a bit and sat down with some amazing artists and songwriters, I have learned so much, and still am. I guess the thing about writing songs for me, is there is no right or wrong way. It’s about working out for me first of all, what am I feeling, and am I ready to think about this, far less talk about it, far less sing about it! It is a form of therapy a lot of the time I suppose! That, and about capturing a moment or a feeling. I am really enjoying working with some super talented people and just soaking up all they have to show me!

Do you have a dream venue you’ve always wanted to play?

Dream venue?!?!? Every single one!! We love playing live, it literally is the best job in the world. For me close to home would have to be the Barrowlands. It has such a history and atmosphere, it’s always something special! My Great Grandad played in the big bands there in the 40s and 50s, my Nana danced there in the 60s and my Mum’s first gig was also there. My parents have always loved it and have passed it on to me.  

What’s one song you wished you would have written and why?

Edge of Seventeen - Stevie Nicks

I was lucky enough to go on a school trip to London in 2nd year where they took us to see School of Rock Musical. I came out of the theatre after hearing this song for the first time and called my parents to tell them "I love Stevie Nicks!" - they will tell you that that was the moment they knew they had nailed parenting! (They also will tell you that they had definitely ensured I had heard it before!)

I had felt emotional hearing a song before, but nothing like that moment, it absolutely empowered me and I suppose that was the first moment that I thought getting up on stage and having the power to make people feel that level of emotion would be a pretty cool thing to do. 

Tell us about something you’ve always wished someone would’ve asked you about?

Ooh what a great question!

I think this is probably not what you are expecting here but I wish people would talk about how they are feeling more - particularly us guys.  For those that know me, they know I can talk till the cows come home (grew up with a farm around me!) and I have, like a lot of people, had some tough experiences. Talking helps. It helped me back then and it still helps me now on the days where things don't go as well or well, sometimes just because!  I wish we just asked how others were more often and it became the norm to talk about how we are feeling. We just need to get better at it.

Final tickets for Ben's show at Sneaky Pete's are available now - get yours here.