Most artists rave about how all their songs are written from personal experience; how they’ve felt and experience everything in a particular song. This is not the case for Benjamin Trillado. The 19-year-old from Melbourne confesses that he has one specific desire for his song writing: to be able to find a song in anything.
“I like to think I have a great imagination. I’ll be like ‘I wonder what is feels like to experience this.’ I was at a train station once and I was thinking about how sad it would be to have to say goodbye to someone there. So I wrote about that- someone leaving and the sadness of it. Just the other day I saw this guy holding a bouquet of flowers and waiting and I was like ‘oh I wonder what he’s going through in that moment,’ so I wrote that idea down.
“I binge-watch a lot of dramatic television shows; I love dramatic stuff that gets to me and makes me cry. I also tend to story-tell a lot, I like to write in linear form and like the idea of going from the start to the finish of a story in a song.”
Beginning music at the early age of 10, Benjamin took guitar lessons and the occasional casual singing lesson with his music teacher. He admits that it wasn’t something he necessarily wanted to do. At the start, he didn’t really care. Then after a while, he cared too much that he was reluctant to take it professionally as he didn’t want it to become a chore.
“After a while, I fell in love with it [music]. People then told me I had an alright voice, so I just kept listening to a lot of music. I’d listen to pretty much everything. Then I didn’t want to hate it, so I didn’t take any music electives or anything. Then when I finished high school I realised that I could turn professional, and that I just want to do music for the rest of my life.”
On graduating high school, Benjamin enrolled in a Bachelor of Music Performance at Collarts, where both his impending music career and song writing ability took off.
“When I was 12, I decided to write a song for my primary school graduation. I pretty much wrote this really lame song about graduating. I kind of liked it, it wasn’t bad for a 12-year-old. I really liked writing, but didn’t do it that much until I finished high school. My course has helped me a lot with my song writing. I have periods now where I don’t write at all, but I try to push through those and keep going.”
With nine years of guitar behind him, as well as experience in piano, ukulele and bass –“I’m no expert in them but” – Benjamin has found his songs often begin with the thing that began his love for music- the guitar. He often comes up with a guitar chord and then will fit a lyric over that. He utilises this to create a melody that is followed by the rest of the lyrics.
“Sometimes it’s both [the song writing process]. Sometimes I’ll change the melody to fit with the lyrics if I want certain words to stand out. I’ve only just started writing like this, I’ve been a lot more analytical in structuring the way my songs are formed.”
His progression in song writing has assisted him in becoming more descriptive and poetic with his lyrics. A huge fan of Ed Sheeran, lines such as ‘I could do without a tan on my left hand where my fourth finger meets my knuckle,’ [Wake Me Up, +, 2011] are the kinds of lines he imbues to create. And whilst Ed Sheeran may be a typical choice when it comes to an aspiring singer/songwriter’s influences, not all of them are that way.
“I have this ‘weird Frankenstein’ thing where I put together all these random influences. I’m a huge fan of Janis Ian; Beyoncé as well, Sam Smith and Lianne La Havas. I think my voice has elements of soul in it because I listen to a lot of soul singers.”
Much of his original music, as well as covers he has recorded are available on YouTube and Sound Cloud. Whilst he shares his content via social media, he recognises the importance of keeping yourself down-to-earth and not letting yourself get caught up in the craze that can be brought with social media.
“I don’t think having a huge social media platform is a huge ‘be-all-and-end-all.’ I don’t think ‘oh I have this many likes which means I now get to tour’ or anything like that. If people really care and they really want to listen to my music, they will anyway. Don’t get me wrong, social media is a great way to share your music and connect with fans, but at the end of the day it’s really all about of the music. Some artists get too obsessed with it and lose focus of what music is really about.”
Recently joining forces with the Real Songwriters of Melbourne team, Benjamin will be performing at our upcoming live show. Whilst he is excited for the event, he admits he hasn’t set any high expectations for himself.
“I just hope that people will listen. I love to play and I just want to play for people. I’m not expecting the whole world, but I just want to share my music. My goal is to have my music properly released and produced. I’d love to be touring, even if it’s just around Melbourne and maybe even opening for some of my favourite artists. I feel like this is the starting point for that.”
You can catch Benjamin at the RSOM ‘Real Songwriters Show #4’ on 19 March at The Workers Club. For more information click here.
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Written by Jordyn Hoekstra