Picture of Benjamin III Wounds

Benjamin III On Wounds And Exploring Creative Freedom In His Recent EP


South African singer and songwriter, Benjamin III, discusses his new EP, Wounds, which takes inspiration from Kendrick Lamar’s album, Section.80. The emerging talent was influenced by the American rapper’s unfiltered approach to creativity and the freedom of expression it brings. Incorporating storytelling into his music, he aims to immerse listeners in the emotions and experiences of his songs.

Benjamin intends to provoke introspection and inspire change by going through his own process of self-reflection. He encourages listeners to embrace pain, find healing, and strike a balance between raw emotions and a subtle sense of hope. Combining influences from artists like Michael Jackson, Miriam Makeba, Lauryn Hill, Fela Kuti, Tupac Shakur, and Kendrick Lamar, the artist shares his own artistic vision by having the courage to be himself.

Congratulations on the release of your EP; Wounds. You mentioned drawing inspiration from Kendrick Lamar’s album, Section.80. How did his work influence your creative process, and what aspects of his music did you incorporate into your own?

Kendrick Lamar’s, Section.80, inspired me to remove the filter in my work and actually say it as it is, exactly as it’s felt. That my creative process shouldn’t be predisposed to the public’s reception or expectations. And in doing so, I have found a daunting freedom of expression coupled with an artistic responsibility. Storytelling is something I picked up from his music, how Mr. Lamar puts you in the place through sound effects of that particular location, drawing you in as a part of the piece. This is what I tried to achieve, in my own way.

“Open” sounds like a deeply personal track where you express your struggles and question the presence of God in your life. Can you tell us more about the emotions and experiences that inspired this song? 

“Open” is a moment of looking in the mirror and disliking what you see. My grandmother had just passed away, my extended family was falling apart, my relationships were suffering due to my need to withdraw from everyone and everything. I didn’t want to act perfect anymore and I needed to allow myself to show my pain, my anger, my weaknesses, but I didn’t trust anyone enough to, so I turned to God and tried to find Him again.

“Wide” explores the idea that our greatest wounds come from ourselves. Can you share the specific moment in your life that led you to this self-reflective perspective?

In my isolation, sitting in my room, I kept pointing the finger at the people who were responsible for my pain. And although they were, it was only a partial responsibility on them. I realized in that moment of confrontation, the things that I had done to contribute to such an outcome and how I failed them too. How I failed me.

The title track, “Wounds,”  touches on themes of faith and the difficulties of the human condition. Could you elaborate on your personal journey in seeking understanding and connection and how it has brought about personal growth and transformation?

I’ve since realized that the condition of any human being cannot be independent from other human beings. It took me some time to realize that I needed the people around me, rather than thinking that I could do it all myself. This understanding strengthened my connection to family, friends, and the greater whole. The growth and the transformation could only come from the value that they all hold in my life. I couldn’t and I cannot do it on my own.

Your music often delves into societal issues. In what ways do you try to provoke introspection and inspire change through your artistry? 

I can only provoke introspection by going through that process myself and that then presents a mirror to the listener. It has to start with me, “Man in the Mirror” like MJ said. Then all sorts of inspiration springs forth as a result of this.

Can you talk about the significance of encouraging listeners to embrace pain and find healing? How do you strike a balance between conveying raw emotions and maintaining a sense of hope in your songs? 

It’s important for each individual to acknowledge their pain, assess it, and find help in dealing with it. We have to be accountable for our well-being despite the external factors that affect us positively or negatively. I will say that it was difficult striking that balance in the music, because it could’ve been dark all the way. But I had to express the desires I had for myself and society. It’s a very subtle optimism that is present in the EP. The mere fact that I was searching is a sign of optimism rather than completely giving up.

Michael Jackson, Miriam Makeba, Lauryn Hill, Fela Kuti, Tupac Shakur, and Kendrick Lamar, are a few of the artists who have shaped your sound. How do you combine these influences to create a style that reflects your own artistic vision?

This is a very difficult question to answer, but to put it simply, it’s the genius of being yourself that these artists achieved in their music. That’s the single most inspiring factor that I’ve taken from all of them. They had the courage to be themselves through their art and I’m on my way too.

Listen to the EP below: