Ben Diamond is Ready to Shine
Move over, Rihanna! There’s another bold/stylish/awesome musician with a charming accent on the superstar scene, and who is shining very bright, yes, like a diamond. Meet English lad, Ben Diamond, who released a five track EP in 2012 on Bandcamp albeit under the name BenAddict… and the rest is history! Okay, here’s that historical sonic summary: Underground UK hip-hop star, Dirty Dike, heard the tunes and hearted them — so much so that he shouted out the relatively unknown talent via his Facebook page which then resulted in getting music bloggers in a tizzy. More impressively and just three short weeks after DD’s public stamp of approval, Ben was contacted then flown out to LA by producer Nicholas “Aqua” McCarrell, whose impressive resume includes doing his thing on Jay-Z’s ‘Black’ LP. They became besties and within 12 days, Ben’s The Diamond LP was born. PS – you can get that super soulful swag-heavy LP via Bandcamp, which we highly recommend. Diamond can really flow, you guys. For proof, politely ask Nicholas “Aqua” McCarrell if he too will fly you on Wednesday March 20th (that’s tomorrow) to Los Angeles to check out Diamond’s gig at The Writers Room (the invite is below). Good luck with that! Oh, and did we mention we interviewed the killer musician? It’s true!
Describe your your music in five words… Fun, head-nodding, melodic, hip-hop.
What can we expect from your live shows?
A lot of energy! Me singing, rapping and everyone having an awesome time! My main aim when performing is making sure the crowd is having fun. I feel like going to a live music event should be more of a show, rather than seeing someone just rap over a cd! In the past, I’ve sometimes been disappointed with the outcome of rap shows when they’re lacking the same effect as seeing a full live band. So being aware of this, I try to fill the stage with the passion I feel for the music I’ve made.
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
I tend to try and chill out as much as possible until the half hour or so when I can’t contain my excitement anymore! It always helps when there’s a good DJ warming up the crowd. Listening to the tunes I first listened to when I discovered hip-hop before I go on stage is always a huge rush. It humbles me to remember where it all started.
For those of us who don’t live in London, what can you tell us about the underground hip-hop scene over there?
Underground UK hip-hop is a really tricky one! I love every aspect of it and have a lot to thank it for. There is a culture surrounding it about keeping it ‘real’ and not ‘selling out’ which I completely respect but feel can limit experimentation within the genre. However, there’s a lot of really dope hip-hop dropping under independent labels whose artists are constantly playing nights in the main cities across the UK. If you’re looking for a good night out in London, The Jamm in Brixton is always hosting up-and-coming UK hip-hop MCs and DJs and it’s a great place to see some fresh raw talent. There’s always big nights hosted by ‘The Doctors Orders’ not too far from Brixton, bringing established UK and US hip-hop monthly if you’re looking for a well known name!
What posters were hanging on your bedroom walls as a teen?
I’m sure I did have some posters in my room at some point. You couldn’t see them from the age I found spray paint though!
What album(s) would you say have influenced you the most as a musician?
I always find this a difficult one to answer. Going through fazes of different genres I feel like I’ve drawn from so much music, it would be difficult to list! Here goes anyway:
FOREIGN BEGGARS – ASYLUM SPEAKERS
This was my first real introduction to UK Hip Hop and I instantly fell in love with it. The writing on this album is so complex and still delivers a solid message when it seems fit.
ARTIFACTS-BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE
When I found this LP, I couldn’t stop playing it for a good month. The realness of the drum breaks and funky tones had me head banging on my way to school, that real boom-bap sound was what I searched for far and wide after being thrown in so deep by this genius record.
BRIGHT EYES-I’M WIDE AWAKE IT’S MORNING
Before I was introduced to real hip-hop I was heavily into the alternative culture and Bright Eyes was easily a favorite of mine. Lyrically I’ve drawn from this album quite a lot. Metaphorically, creatively and emotionally Connor Oberst could challenge the best of rappers and leave them out cold. I still listen to this album from time to time and still find it amazing.
AMY WINEHOUSE-BACK TO BLACK
The jazzy/soul tones of this album paired with such an incredible voice helped me through an uneasy time. The production and arrangement of the whole thing is seamless. I’d love to make a record as smooth as this one day.
AL GREEN-I’M STILL IN LOVE WITH YOU
A beautiful record and such a timeless sound.
THE CLASH-LONDON’S CALLING
This record was force-fed to me from a young age by my dad. Every car trip, any time we were in the house, it always seemed like it was playing on repeat. However, as I grew up I found comfort in the rebellion and angst of the record which I could really relate to in my teenage years! Their live shows were something else too!
What’s next for you ?
Well I’m currently Re-locating to LA, so getting all the boring stuff sorted for that! A lot of energetic live performances, the new EP I’m in the process of finishing off will be released, and some dope videos are in store! Hopefully a lot of smiles, fun and fortune to anyone and everyone that’s been involved in the making of me.