Singer-songwriter Alec Benjamin swung over to The Sylvee last night, May 3rd, with special guest, Sara Kays. Read the recap and check out the photos below!
As the lights dim, the front row of mostly high school and college-aged girls scream as loud as their lungs will allow. Despite the show being shy of selling out, it sounds like a full room. Although his songs are usually stripped down to light production, guitar and vocals, Alec Benjamin's four-person band is the first to walk out and begin the opener, "Older." The 27-year-old runs out in a bright orange shirt seconds before his vocals are due. Fans are definitely familiar with the lyrics.
Alec Benjamin has found huge success through the internet: his single, "The Water Fountain," has run miles on TikTok along with "Let Me Down Slowly" just taking in over a billion streams. His genre is that sad youthful pop that feels like it's coming straight from Californian teens, mid-existential crisis. It's a gen-z dominant genre, sharing listeners with Khalid, Chelsea Cutler and Noah Cyrus, and the lyrics focus on the melancholy nature of growing up, struggling with body image and learning through heartbreak. The show opener, Sara Kays, discusses similar themes in her own music, even directly mentioning her own struggles with body image as an intro to "Smaller Than This."
But even with the teary mellowness of Alec's songwriting, his shows breathe more energy into the songs, livening the set up with drums and electric guitar. For a majority of the night, he stays on an acoustic guitar, an instrument that makes an appearance in most of his recorded songs. He takes inspiration from Leonard Cohen and John Mayer, two fluent guitarists whose influence can be detected in songs like "Speakers." But Benjamin doesn't dip into rock like them--he stays planted in a pop sphere where his vocals can shine and his hooks can draw crowds.
It becomes extremely clear that his listeners stick around for more than just the musicality of it all--they adhere to his vulnerability and relatability too.