Friday, January 08, 2021

MEET... Benjamin Clementine

Benjamin Clementine, London raised, can not merely be called a singer, but also poet, composer and actor, defying genre and style with every new album he produces. With notable influences including Claude Debussy, Leonard Cohen and William Blake, Clementine has adopted a multidisciplinary style, creating music that has all the theatrics of a play or an opera, but also the tenderness of a poetic monologue.

Born in Edmonton, London, Clementine discovered his love for music at age 11, using his brothers piano to learn songs played on Classic FM only by ear. 

Concerned that his newfound love for music would distract him from more academic routes, Clementine’s father banned the playing of musical instruments, a decision that forced the youngster to practice discreetly as his parents worked. 

Clearly, this affectation of rebellion has proceeded to influence his musical career. From creating works that range from the simplistic, such as ‘I Tell a Fly’s’ single, ‘I Won’t Complain’ to the dramatic masterpiece that is ‘To Then I Heard A Bachelors Cry’, Clementine has undoubtedly become one of the most unique and radical composers of the last decade.


The theatrics of Benjamin’s works are clearly reflective of uncertain times as a youngster, having been homeless in both London and Paris after leaving school at 16. Sleeping streets and playing bars, Clementine has all the makings of a vagabond artist, bunking in a hostel in Montmartre, a place notable for the literary figures that wrote there. There is familiar darkness that undertones Clementine’s work, replicating the human experience through lyric, tone and composition to create a style that is both relentless and quietly dactylic. 


Benjamin Clementine seems to be taking a break from his musical ventures having become a father in 2019, though I’m sure this is not the last we will be hearing from the North London raconteur.

- Daisy Howarth



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