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Check out Cheyenne Benton’s Artwork

Today we’d like to introduce you to Cheyenne Benton.

Cheyenne, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I was born in California City, CA (a little tiny desert town about 40 miles from Lancaster) on the 29th of August – around the hottest time of the year. If you were to ask my parents they’d tell you I always had a song inside of me. I spent the first four years of my life out there in the blistering heat and the bitter cold, singing away. I was singing before I could speak complete sentences. I remember running down the narrow hallways of our little humble one-story house, narrating my life through song. My parents would put on the Dixie Chicks and I’d dance around the house, putting on a show, stealing pots and pans to create my own drum sets. I nearly drove my mother insane because I was always making noise.

We moved to San Diego the summer of 2003, right before my 5th birthday. As I grew, so did my love for music. When I turned 8 I begged my dad to teach me to play guitar. He told me he would teach me if I learned on his old ukulele first. He didn’t think I was that seriously interested. but a year later he was baffled by all I had learned. He bought me my first guitar, and I’ve been playing ever since.

My freshman year of high school I got involved in musical theater shows, and that’s when I really started writing music. More than anything I loved telling a story, and I wanted to be able to do that through my music the same way I did through shows. At 16 I began playing locally at coffee houses, open mics, talent shows, on the sidewalk – wherever I could, really. I graduated high school in 2016 and began working on my five-track debut EP which I released December of last year. Since then I’ve had the opportunity to share my music with more people, perform live with a band, and even film and release my own music video.

I turn 20 this month, and I’m really excited to embark on this next chapter of my life, especially musically. I’m already back at the drawing board writing more new music that I’m almost too eager to share.

We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I’m a singer/songwriter, so my main thing is music. But I really love writing in general – poems, short stories, plays, short movies, etc. I also really love film as well as acting – I’ve been in a few short films and even made some videos of my own for fun. I dabble in freelance modeling as well – I think it’s possible to tell stories with just a single photo and a strong look.

I couldn’t really tell you how I do it. The process is almost always different every time. Most of the time it just sorts of comes to me, like I’ll get an idea or a vivid image or a narrative I want to write around – and I just sit down and it comes. Or I’ll get maybe a single lyric – and then I build my song around that.

I write for many reasons, the main one being because I just have to. It’s hard to explain, but I have a really difficult time processing emotions, especially while they’re happening in the moment. Writing is my way to basically sit down and work through how I’m feeling. Sometimes I don’t even know until it comes out in a song. Then I go over it meticulously and work through it – analyzing and processing the way that I feel. I think it sort of forces me to bring abstract ideas into the tactile world in a sense. It brings me comfort and solace.

The message I think is to just inspire people to live their authentic truth. A lot of my songs are really just stories of real things that happened to me – and I’m putting them out there because I think in this day and age it’s really hard to just be honest about who we are. It’s so easy to curate a perception through social media – to filter out our flaws and cover up the parts of ourselves that make us vulnerable. I think I’m the most honest version of myself through my music. I want people to know it’s okay to be human, it’s okay to feel, and that they aren’t alone. And I hope my music is honest enough to be able to bring people comfort when they need it most.

My artwork reflects my deepest, truest self. It’s the most me and at the same time it’s the furthest from me. It’s this strange contradiction – kind of where darkness and light meet and coexist. It comes from my soul, and that’s a strange place to be. But I want people to know it’s from the heart, and I hope that it can resonate with them on some kind of level, and make them feel something.

Have things improved for artists? What should cities do to empower artists?
That’s a loaded question, truly. I think in some ways the industry is way easier than it was 30 years ago, due to technology and social media. Artists are connected to so many valuable resources, we have all the tools at our fingertips to CONNECT with people. I can write a song, record it, and release it to thousands of random strangers on the internet. Someone in Japan could stumble across my song. That’s wild to me, and so unbelievably cool. Back in the old days I’d have to sign with a major label in order to be heard overseas, let alone in the next town over. So, I think that’s really amazing and wonderful and I’m blessed to be living in a timeline where that’s possible.

I think cities can encourage artists by BOOKING local talent. Hosting open mic nights, allowing musicians to perform at their spaces on weekends, booking local acts for events – all of these things help artists establish reputations on a local level. It can be incredibly difficult to get booked starting out. When you bring artists into your space – you’re building a community, because those artists bring their fans, who become your client base. I think it’s a win-win for everyone.

Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, Amazon, Tidal, SoundCloud, YouTube, you name it! I’m everywhere on the inter webs. Just nowhere in stores yet, but that’s a goal of mine. You can support me by literally just clicking the follow button on Instagram, by adding one of my songs to your playlist on Spotify, buying my EP if you enjoyed it, or coming out to see me when I play locally!

I think what you can do to help me the most is to just. Tell. Your. Friends. Seriously. If you like what you hear, please share it with a friend! Online or in real life. Word of mouth spreads like wildfire. And it means the absolute world to me, from the bottom of my heart.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Margaret Paredes-Rivas

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