Indie-alternative artist Jake Benjamin recently released the single/music video, “Hemingway.”
Explaining the song’s genesis, Jake shares, “‘Hemingway’ was inspired from a trip to Key West where I toured the Ernest Hemingway House where I learned more about his life and the different worlds and transformations his stories went through. While he is hailed as one of the greatest American writers, Hemingway also suffered greatly from constant pain and mental trauma which led to his passing. On my way home, I read The Old Man And The Sea, the final book Hemingway had written. After reading this journey of struggle, identity, and valor, I wrote this stream of consciousness lyric based off of what this story meant to me along with different Ernest Hemingway quotes.”
“Hemingway” is from Jake’s latest opus, Broken Stars, inspired by The Letters of Vincent van Gogh, a collection of letters written by Van Gogh to his brother, Theo.
According to Jake, “I decided that the songs on this record should tie into themes of the psyche and the human spirit. Some of the songs were written from famous artists’ quotes, and others were written from my own experiences with anxiety, depression, relationships, and sexuality.”
He goes on, adding, “Today, I’m open to showing all the aspects of my life, including my queerness.”
After earning his degree from the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music’s Music Business and Studio Music and Jazz programs, he took his master’s degree, studying voice, from Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. Although grounded in jazz, Jake’s sound is permeated by a “beyond pop” aesthetic influenced by Björk, Snarky Puppy, Vulfpeck, Becca Stevens, Jacob Collier, and Kneebody.
In 2018, he released his EP, Finally Back Home, along with three singles. Jake’s latest work, Broken Stars, displays the evolution of his sound, featuring 25 musicians, five engineers, and five co-writers. Produced by Jake and Pascal Pahl, Broken Stars was recorded with live band ensembles, with Jake making his debut as a producer on “Countrymen.”
Speaking about “Hemingway,” Jake states, “When composing music to this lyric, I wanted to portray a sense of imbalance that an ocean can sometimes bring. The song is about the tragic reality of an artist so close to their glory and artistic aspiration that they cannot seem to cross the line.”
“Hemingway” opens on lush layers of creamy sonic colors flowing into a jazz-lite rhythm rippling with soft, gentle horns imbuing the tune with glowing tones. Jake’s mellow, dulcet voice gives the lyrics warm compassion flavored with tender sensitive timbres.
“I’m the aimless wanderer of the sea / Never finding rooms to call home.”
A variety of rhythmic patterns infuse the song with rolling, trembling articulation, enlarging the eloquence of the intertwining musical leitmotifs. Undulating on glossy streams of hues, “Hemingway” is at once tantalizing and alluring.