This is the first in a new series by CanCulture Magazine, called Artist Profiles. We reach out to underground Canadian artists all over the country to talk to them about their music, inspirations and future plans. We want to give them a voice and recognition for their work in the ever-changing landscape of the music industry. By: Brooke Houghton
In the province of British Columbia, a new agePiano Man has emerged filling his seaside town with piano riffs and soulful songs.
Ben Dunnill, 18, is an up-and-coming singer-songwriter whose music transcends his classical roots, branching out into modern-day jazzy tunes and indie rock.
CanCulture had the opportunity to interview the talented Dunnill from none other than his bathtub, the first of many lovable quirks that shone through in his interview. His old school vibe was a refreshing take in a sea of digital artists, not to mention his love for puns. If you don’t believe us, check out his Instagram, @bendunnill. We talked about when his next album is being released, his inspirations and plans for the future.
Q: What inspired you to get into music?
A: “My siblings were very musical. I started in theatre, both my parents played professionally. As I was growing up surrounded by music I developed a passion, and my dad started seeing this passion. He introduced me to all of these artists and amazing music. I fell in love with the craft, ever since then it was my life goal.”
Q: When did you realize you were starting to gain a large following?
A: “Probably about three years ago when I started playing at a piano bar called Bin 101 every weekend. I got a news article, then I got a magazine cover with my face on it and shortly after I was named one of the top ten musicians to look out for in 2016.”
Q: Who are your main influences when it comes to your writing style?
A: “I love old classical Mozart, some of the 70’s singer-songwriters, anyone who took the art form and made it something special. Personally, I love Jackson Browne because his lyrics really say something to me.”
Q: What piece of work are you most proud of?
A: “My favourite song I’ve ever written is ‘We Are Just Kids’. It's completely different. It’s a song that has no modern pop structure. It’s short but original and I don’t know where it came from, but I hope it can find its way into a top Broadway or on-screen production.”
Q: What do you want to accomplish most in music?
A: "I think the truest artists are those who cannot only create music for record purposes, but those who can transform sounds to create environments and atmospheres so when you close your eyes, you truly feel like you are in a different place entirely. Music is essentially going through changes and strategically using the silences in between, well I’d love for my listeners to close their eyes and feel themselves completely change. I think that’s where the true power of an artist lies; in the ability to make someone feel something different, not just hear it.”
Q: Your debut album was released in 2016. When is your next album coming out?
A: “That’s tough, I’m really critical of my work. Whenever I record something I feel the need for it be perfect, but I’m hoping it will be ready to release by next summer.”
Q: What’s next for you and your career?
A: “I recently got offered to start composing music for a television show in Vancouver, called When Paintings Come Alive. As I develop my vocal ability, I would love to focus on writing more music.”