From the moment he was born, there was no doubt that Ben Burgess, the fireman’s son would eventually incorporate music into his life. His father, a singer-songwriter in his own right, was on a night off from the station, throwing back more than a…
From the moment he was born, there was no doubt that Ben Burgess, the fireman’s son would eventually incorporate music into his life. His father, a singer-songwriter in his own right, was on a night off from the station, throwing back more than a few and playing music with his buddies when he got the call his wife was in labor. Without having chosen a name up to that point, the new parents chose Benjamin as an ode to his father’s tardiness because he had “been jammin” with the boys. Ben’s father spent his days off writing and playing music while his son spent his free time soaking up his father’s musical skills until he himself picked up a guitar and put a pen to paper… A storyteller by nature, Ben prolifically churned out songs representative of all genres and of his influences, the biggest of whom is his dad. "He would just always have a guitar. He taught me the importance of being a writer and not just a musician."
By 19 years old, Ben was playing his music out live between Dallas and then transitioning to Austin at 21. A self-proclaimed Texas hillbilly, he was just trying to make music and a living, yet hadn’t figured out how to do the two simultaneously, until he got a phone call that would be the catalyst to turn everything around for him.
Ben had been living in Austin for a few years playing shows on the infamous 6th Street at night and working for a construction company during the day. One morning while at work he got a call from a friend in California stating she had sent his song "Chillin’ in the Summertime" to the Jonas Brothers and they wanted to cut the record for their next album. Hesitant at first, Burgess eventually greed and the rest is history.
It was selling his first song and becoming aware of the other potential opportunities in Los Angeles that were the catalyst for Burgess to make the move to LA and focus on making his craft of songwriting into a full time job. It was there that he discovered the world behind the scenes, an entire network of songwriters who actually create the songs on the radio everyone knows so well. "I had no idea that any of this existed," Burgess says.
He started working with equally eclectic songwriters/producers Kevin Kadish (Willie Nelson, Stacie Orrico, Miley Cyrus, Meat Loaf, Taylor Hicks, Steve Perry and JC Chasez) and Mark Batson (Dr. Dre, Jay-Z, Eminem, 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg, James Blunt, Dave Matthews, Alicia Keys and Beyoncé). Burgess considers himself a rookie and is regarding his entire LA experience as college. "Every day I'm reinventing the way I write songs," Burgess says. "As long as I can survive and get by and play music for a living, I'll be all right."
Although his main focus in the music business was being a songwriter for other artists, once prompted by Anders, he found himself recording an album under his own name. Mixtape, his first release on Anders Deep Well Records, is described by Burgess as, “swampy, Southern, soulful, shagadelic good music. It's just like Mom's home cooking -- I'm making it for everybody else."
"Ain't Nothin' Like Home" layers a Sublime beat with swampy blues; "Big River Dreamin' " is the sort of thing a landlocked Jack Johnson might record. His influences also include everyone from Frank Zappa and John Coltrane to Bob Marley and G Love: "He kinda paved the way for the white boy on the guitar, rapping." It doesn't hurt that Mom was also once a college DJ and, according to Burgess, a hippie who played Cat Stevens, James Taylor and music from Woodstock around the house.
“I still have to pinch myself over how quickly things have changed for me already. A year or so ago I was living with a bunch of dudes, trying to find a place to play music in our garage and now I have keys to an awesome studio and I can go in to write and record every day if I want.” "I'm just a Southern boy trying to take over the world. But for now, I just wanna write a song that can make somebody's day."