RHYTHM AND MUSE ARTIST SPOTLIGHT
Hi, I’m Author Susan Joyner-Stumpf. Being a Published Author and Certified Graphics Artist myself, I am always curious to uncover the artist BEHIND their work, whether it be a writer, artist who draws, musician and/or singer/songwriter. Here on my site, Rhythm and Muse Artist Spotlight, I interview Artists of all genres and talk about their inspirations, their current endeavors and future projects. If you’re looking for a good book to read, maybe you will find it after reading the Interview; or wanting to discover new art to look at and possibly buy? Or music to listen to? Come to Rhythm and Muse Artist Spotlight Interviews and meet the Artists that keep Art Alive and Breathing in our world today!!
Today we will be interviewing Benjamin Hyatt of
the Benjamin Hyatt Band.
[Susan] Benjamin, hi, and thank you for coming today and allowing me to Interview you. Could you please start off by telling us a little bit about yourself?
[Benjamin Hyatt] Hello Susan, thanks for the interview, I feel like our upbringing and choices thereafter help to form who we are and how we write. It is the little differences that make us all unique and help to form our style. I was homeschooled until the 8th grade and as a result, I used to be very shy until I went into the military. I served in that type of field for almost 10 years where I underwent five duty related surgeries. After going through some very difficult times with my family, I now had a “scar I could talk about” as Rob Thomas of Matchbox Twenty would say.
[Susan] Wow, Benjamin, thank you for your service in the military. Sorry about the duty related surgeries, however, and the breakup, that’s never easy. Please tell us when you started singing and why?
[Benjamin Hyatt] I started singing around the age of four, my mother is very musically inclined as well, but she sacrificed a lot for her kids and family. She was very busy raising and homeschooling me and my brother and two sisters. We were raised in a very strict Christian home and my first outside musical influence was a wonderful singer/songwriter named Steven Curtis Chapman. His passion for life, other people, and his prolific songwriting really captured my attention.
[Susan] That’s very early, four. Would love to see videos of that. Benjamin, do you write your own stuff as well?
[Benjamin Hyatt] I started writing at the age of 10. I wrote some really terrible stuff! But to me, writing is like learning a language. Something in me finally just clicked and many times I just wake up with lyrics and melody in my head. My song “South Carolina Tan” came to me in a dream.
[Susan] We all don’t start off with home runs, that’s right. It’s a learning curve. I remember listening to that song, South Carolina Tan, love it. How many albums have you released?
[Benjamin Hyatt] There is currently one full-length album titled “The Way You Move” and about 13 other singles.
[Susan] That’s great, Benjamin. Where do you record?
[Benjamin Hyatt] My first album was recorded in Chandler, Arizona with a great producer named Craig Lawrence. He had done some major work with Joe Strummer who some call the father of the punk music genre. I have also recorded at Mattlind Studios with Gary Neiman. I am currently working on a project with Lawrence Buck of Swirve Records (Lawrencebuck.com) and Matt Richards of Hope Studios (hopestudiosmusic.com). They are great guys and very talented.
[Susan] Benjamin, how important or critical do you think, are Titles and Album Covers?
[Benjamin Hyatt] The music industry is very competitive, so you have to have something that reaches out and grabs the listener’s attention from the get-go, so I would say that you want something that really exemplifies the feeling or concept behind your project.
[Susan] Who are your major influences and inspirations behind your own works?
[Benjamin Hyatt] Early on I was only allowed to listen to Christian music. I think this helped to set my sound apart from others and makes it unique. My first three influences, in order of importance, are Mom, Steven Curtis Chapman and a group called Acapella. Later on in my late teen and early adult years, I was heavily influenced by Rob Thomas from Matchbox Twenty and Darius Rucker from Hootie and the Blowfish, but I listen to almost every style because I believe that it can only help me become a better artist. I’m currently in love with an Artist called Andy Mineo, his records “Know That’s Right and “Desperados” are nutrition for the ears!
[Susan] Have you read any good books lately or discovered any new music that you could you share that with us?
[Benjamin Hyatt] Certainly, I just finished reading “Sycamore Row” by John Grisham which was a very pleasant read. I should also mention that my military background has made me a very big fan of Tom Clancy and his writing. Also, on the music front, my new favorite rock band are also friends of mine named “Nothing More”.
[Susan] John Grisham is great, I enjoy his novels. And naturally you would have friends that are musicians in the Industry; that makes sense. Benjamin, is there is a recurring “theme” that runs through the vein of your writing?
[Benjamin Hyatt] For me, the reoccurring theme is the soul. I write things that others can relate to that we may all experience at some point. I think that others can feel the passion and how real it is and that’s why it works.
[Susan] Do you personally have a favorite poem by any writer that has inspired you?
[Benjamin Hyatt] Most of my favorite “poetry” is born of music lyrics. Some of my favorites are written by a band out of Florida called Anberlin.
[Susan] Yes I can understand the link between poetry and lyrics. I KNOW this is a hard one, and probably, like for many of us, there isn’t just ONE: but do you have a favorite author?
[Benjamin Hyatt] I think that J. R. R. Tolkien is an amazing fantasy writer. The analogies from his works are endless.
[Susan] How do you go about choosing titles for your books, songs, stories or poems?
[Benjamin Hyatt] I simply hold in and focus the feeling that I am trying to portray and I channel that energy and more often than not, it turns into poetry or melody or both.
[Susan] Do you write anything OTHER than strictly Poetry and songs and which do you prefer? The reason I’m asking is because I’ve always heard, strangely enough, that not all your well-known-established Novelists are Poets, but many Poets out there, like myself, are Prose writers, Songwriters, Short Story writers, and Novelists. Do you know what I mean?
[Benjamin Hyatt] Absolutely, I think that if you are creative, it usually spills over into more than one thing. I started by singing and writing lyrics and moved into poetry and I dabble in short stories. I also love to act and would love to get more involved with producing other artists.
[Susan] That all sounds great, I didn’t know about the acting aspect of your talents, Benjamin. Can you tell us what you are currently working on?
[Benjamin Hyatt] Other than the project I mentioned earlier, I am writing for several artists that show a lot of potential such as Holly Taylor, a client of Lawrence Buck with Swirve Records, and may be working with Onyx Ravenwood, Hannah Louise Stevens and hopefully a duet with Katie Jacobs in the near future.
[Susan] I wish you success in all your endeavors, acting, producing, singing, writing, you sound like you are doing everything just right, Benjamin. How do you feel about sharing your work on Social Media?
[Benjamin Hyatt] It’s something that is necessary now-a-days because social media is so prevalent. Many people are scared of sharing their stuff on social media because they are afraid it will be stolen. I say, copyright and share, if your work is good enough, it will probably be stolen at some point, but if you don’t share, how will you be discovered?
[Susan] That’s true, Benjamin, I agree Social Media gives us all an equal playing field of being “discovered” more or less, or least getting a name for ourselves. It’s up to Us how we market ourselves to the public, however, to be widely known.
How do you feel about entering contests and have you won any?
[Benjamin Hyatt] I think it’s good to put yourself under the pressure of competition, it helps an artist to grow. I have lost more competitions than I have won, but you have to keep doing it to get yourself out there.
[Susan] And let’s be honest here, too. Winning or not winning a contest is no reflection on skillset. Many think it will make or break their careers and I hate for them to feel that way, for many talented Authors and Musicians fall between the cracks, don’t they? Fly under the radar, so …. losing a contest does NOT mean you are not goo.
Benjamin, do you know how a poem or song is going to end or do you just allow it to write itself?
[Benjamin Hyatt] I do both, sometimes the poetry or lyrics take me where they want to go and other times I have a full-fledged idea and do my best to make it work.
[Susan] Do you write your poems-lyrics freehand in a notebook and then type it directly on the computer or straight smack on the computer or Cell phone, or all of the above, just depending? Peoples’ methods fascinate me . . .
[Benjamin Hyatt] I have done all of the above, but my preferred method is a nice sharp pencil and a blank page of card stock paper. It makes it feel more classic.
[Susan] What genre would you call your music?
[Benjamin Hyatt] I write mostly pop/rock, but I write for artists in almost every genre. It seems that romance and philosophy tend to be my go-to themes.
[Susan] If you have family with young children or pets crawling all over you; a spouse who doesn’t understand your writing “zone,” do you require the need for private space with little to no distraction or does it not phase you? Like TV or music in the background? Telephone ringing off the hook?
[Benjamin Hyatt] I like to turn all the lights off and set up candles that make it just bright enough to see what I’m writing. I usually turn some soft relaxing music on in the background and go to work.
[Susan] I put the candles on too and soft rock. Is there a method to your madness, lol, as to your writing process?
[Benjamin Hyatt] It changes, but lately, I set about six or seven pieces of paper and work on whatever ideas come to me. This allows me to be inspired by another idea if the first thing I started dries up.
[Susan] In a few sentences, describe your life as a writer/musician. For instance, has anything changed or not at all?
[Benjamin Hyatt] I think my writing has allowed me to understand and read people better. I am constantly writing down phrases that I hear and building off of them.
[Susan] Would you like to see writing as a Profitable, Professional Career or is it more or less a hobby, a Labor of Love, at this point?
[Benjamin Hyatt] Eventually, I would love to make my creative side also my main career, but we all have responsibilities and I couldn’t live with myself if I were selfish enough to forsake other responsibilities to pursue my passions, so….I do both. Is it tiring? It is exhausting, but it’s worth it.
[Susan] Are people from your past, like Grammar School and High School, childhood friends, aware of what you have accomplished in the literary and music world?
[Benjamin Hyatt] Many of them do, I’ve had a lot of support that I’m thankful and blessed to have. But I will also say that people who think they know you are your biggest critics and tend to dismiss your talent without even checking it out and that’s ok because there are plenty of other fish in the sea! When I released the 1st album, I had people from all over the U.S. and some overseas calling me and messaging that they heard me on the radio.
[Susan] I guess they would be our best critics because they know you the best. What do you say to those who thought you’d never get this far? Or do you even care?
[Benjamin Hyatt] I say, let the work speak for itself. I am still disappointed by the haters and those who mock what I am trying to do, but that is what we sign up for when we put ourselves out there in such a raw and descriptive form.
[Susan] That’s true, Benjamin. We signed up for this once we put ourselves out there for the first time. You’re so right.
Name one person whom you feel is instrumental in your success today as a writer/musician, anyone you would like to personally thank for believing in you when no one else did?
[Benjamin Hyatt] My Mother has always believed in me, but has pushed me to use my gifts for others instead of just myself. Also, my first producer, Craig Lawrence and Lawrence Buck who I mentioned earlier, have always believed in me. Too many people give up when they are not immediately accepted by society. It is really up to yourself to keep going when you feel discouraged. No one but you can say whether you have something special to share.
[Susan] What does it feel like to know that tens of thousands of people could discover you and be touched and inspired by your work?
[Benjamin Hyatt] I feel grateful for the opportunity and the talent that I started with. The best compliments I have received are those from people that tell me I touched them or helped them deal with emotions in some way.
[Susan] Is there anything you would like to say to your fans/followers and other aspiring writers out there who may want to follow in your literary and musical footsteps?
[Benjamin Hyatt] Believe in what you do, share it with everyone you come across. Passion should not be hidden and greatness cannot be covered up.
[Susan] That’s very inspiring, Benjamin. Now, you can MEET any famous person you want, dead or alive. Who would it be?
[Benjamin Hyatt] I’d like to meet Rob Thomas because I think we write in a similar fashion and I’d love to find out if he has felt the same things about his writing and of course, I’d love to talk to Jesus.
[Susan] Two great ones, Benjamin. Ok, what do you find the most CHALLENGING about writing?
[Benjamin Hyatt] It’s those times that you cannot find motivation. Some call it writer’s block, but you have to keep living life to gain new experience to be able to share.
[Susan] What do you ENJOY most about writing?
[Benjamin Hyatt] For me, it’s being able to make someone feel what it is you were feeling in that moment.
[Susan] What do you think is the biggest misconception about Poetry or Poets in general today?
[Benjamin Hyatt] I think one of the biggest misconceptions is that if you are talented and write, record or sing something good enough, it will be enough to be discovered. It normally takes so much more than talent to “make it.”
[Susan] Do you think Poetry is a dying art form because maybe it doesn’t get the attention and respect it deserves? And if so, how would YOU go about changing that?
[Benjamin Hyatt] I do, but that is really our own faults, someone will come along and inspire enough people in a new way or in a deep way that will shine the spotlight back on poetry. The cool thing is, that it could be any one of us.
[Susan] Hey ~ it could be YOU, Benjamin. What are your chief interests and aspirations?
[Benjamin Hyatt] One of the things I most want to do is inspire others. If I can bring positivity and hope to people’s lives, at least I am doing something right.
[Susan] How do you find time to write? Do you write every day?
[Benjamin Hyatt] I think if you want to be a writer, musician or anything else, then you should try to do it at least five days a week.
[Susan] What is the title of your latest project?
[Benjamin Hyatt] My latest project is probably going to be titled “The Villain in Me.” It’s in pre-production now and will be a very introspective, personal record.
[Susan] Sounds great, Benjamin. Good luck. Benjamin, when you’re NOT writing or playing in your band, where can we find you and what are you doing?
[Benjamin Hyatt] I love spending time with my family and close friends and I am 2 classes from being finished with my Master’s, so that takes up a lot of my time.
[Susan] Oh that’s great, Benjamin. Do you like eBooks or physical books? Or both?
[Benjamin Hyatt] Physical books are so much more classic to me than eBooks, but I do find myself listening to audio books more often.
[Susan] Benjamin, I’m reading on a Poetry Forum site. Why would I stop and read yours out of fifty others? How do you make sure YOU stand out above the rest?
[Benjamin Hyatt] If you write from your heart and are very honest, I think the work will stand out. Put in more heart and time than others and you will stand out or figure out that it is not your calling.
[Susan] So true, and excellent advice. Do you promote and/or self-market your works, books, music? If so, what avenue do you utilize to “put yourself out there” for exposure purposes?
[Benjamin Hyatt] There are many services I use to market my own work such as Jango.com, but I also use the standard social media such as Facebook and Twitter.
[Susan] And don’t forget YouTube, you’ve shared some of your music with me on there too. Benjamin, is it possible to share a poem here of yours for the readers?
《Touch ¤f Madness》
It can take a touch of madness
Drawing beauty from the strain
Find the message in the cypher
Feel the sunshine in the rain
Some say it’s just relentless
Some Inflexible / insane
But it pays to be tenacious
Moving forward through the pain
There’s a lesson in discomfort
PRINT the screen & SAVE the page
You’re not JUST another jumper
Paying bills and going grey
Dare to dream a diff€r€nt color
Beauty never looks the same
Find yourself, find your brothers
Find the reason you were made
There’s a force that fights within you
From the moment of your birth
Not everyone’s an angel
Some men revel in their curse
Don’t fall for their seduction
Stand your ground, put in work
Death is merely introduction
To the one who made this Earth
[Susan] That is awesome; I can see the songwriter in you, impeccable rhyme scheme, unforced, so natural. I’d love to HEAR this. Benjamin, is there anything else you’d like to add or share before we close?
[Benjamin Hyatt] If you have a gift, share it, it’s something that many others do not have. You may just inspire someone. Please add me at Facebook.com/benhyattband
[Susan] Benjamin, one last thing. What would you like to be KNOWN for and how would you like to be best remembered for future generations?
[Benjamin Hyatt] Susan, I would love to be remembered as a very caring and passionate soul that put others before himself.
Benjamin, you WILL be remembered . . . and from what I know about you, you ARE all those things and more. Thank you for allowing us all here today to get to know the ARTIST behind their works. I wish you tremendous success in all your endeavors. I will be posting your Interview soon here on the Rhythm and Muse Blogsite, multiple Website Forums I’m on (Twitter, Google +, TSU, etc.), plus also on Facebook in several different places, of course with your permission. Have a great day Benjamin and thanks again so much for all your time.
Where the Artist can be found, their books, etc.:
Benjamin Hyatt Band on YouTube (One of Many songs)