French Soul troubadour Ben L'Oncle Soul unveils the intimate album 'Is It You?,' featuring singles like 'A Rose,' 'Sky Has Open Doors,' and 'Levitate.' Crafted with collaborator Gunnar Ellwanger and produced by Grammy winner Scott Jacoby, the album captivates with its heartfelt melodies, amassing over half a million online plays and earning acclaim.
Tell us a bit about your story: who are you and what has your journey looked like so far?
My name is Ben, I’m a musician originally from France. I grew up in a small town, my mom is a huge fan of Soul Music from the 60’s. I started music at church in the Gospel choir. In my teenage years, I started digging Nu Soul stuff like Antony Hamilton, D’Angelo, Eryka Badu… It’s basically what pushed me to start doing my own stuff.
Who inspires you musically and creatively?
Musically, Stevie Wonder is always on top the list, but recently there is a cool scene in the UK - music from the likes of Cleo Sol, Pip Millett, and Greentea Peng really interest me in terms of production, the way it sounds, the way it’s recorded...
What is the creative process behind your music?
I love to record live music so I work on a few ideas on my own at my house, and then I call the guys to record it. Basically we are 5 or 6 musiciens working in the studio, and we jam until we get something cool.
What’s the best advice you’ve received during your journey?
I think I got it from a documentary on 2pac recording sessions. He didn’t like when the sound engineer cut off the breaths, when he sniffed or even when he messed up a little bit the takes. He wanted to keep it raw and reel and I think that’s the best thing to do. Being 100 percent you, it doesn’t make sense to try to be somebody else.
How do you nurture your creativity?
Well I don’t know, it’s just there! I love tripping. Of course I listen to a lot of stuff but also I think it’s something I’ve alway done. I went to an art school, when I was a kid I was always drawing and watching cartoons or movies, I love cool images, Matisse, Norman Rockwell, Ernest Pignon E. I don’t know if this really affects my music though, but I love art.
What do you hope your music will reveal to your listeners?
I really don’t know, everybody is different and how they receive my music is different, but I do hope that they will want to see me live at one of my shows!
Are there any upcoming shows or projects we can look forward to?
Yes we're on a summer tour right now, and all our dates are here.
Is there any advice you want to give to new artists?
Jump into your fears! You are stronger than that.
Knitted together beautifully by Ben L’Oncle Soul’s enchanting voice, glorious lyricism, and amazing melodies, Is It You? is the French soul star’s most personal album yet. Recorded live at the world-renowned Red House in Champagne-Ardenne with his beloved tour band also known as the shock team, the nine-track album is spontaneous, acoustic and offers up the very best of R&B, jazz, and soul music. Inquisitive at its very core, Is It You? explores the theme of life and spirituality, and it is driven, not by a desire to find the answers, but to reconsider the magic of this life that unites us. As Ben L’Oncle Soul puts it:
“This album is a conversation about life. The pandemic made us have a different point of view, we had to live differently, I started to see life all over again. We had to deal with our feelings; whether it was anger, hope, or faith; I tried to find a way with music”
Make sure you listen to his latest album, below!