Benny Blanco: behind the boards to in the lights

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Benny Blanco: behind the boards to in the lights

Lily Marchetto, Staff Editor

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Producer and songwriter Benny Blanco is the curly haired, 30-year-old musical genius behind hits by Justin Bieber, Ed Sheeran, Kanye West, Maroon 5, Rihanna, Ariana Grande and countless others. So many others that he has to go to his Wikipedia page to remember all his chart-toppers. Although many have never heard Blanco’s name, it’s impossible to avoid his work and influence. But now, his name is becoming familiar in a way that is atypical for a pop music producer or songwriter.

For years hip-hop and dance music have credited producers as much as or even more than the singers who lend their voices to the tracks: think Mike Will Made-it, Marshmello, Diplo, Skrillex, and the late Avicii. But Benny Blanco has become one of the first to do this in pop music with his album “FRIENDS KEEP SECRETS.” On the lead single, “Eastside” many were confused to look under the song title and see Blanco’s name preceding Halsey and Khalid when Blanco never sings a note.

His extensive network of artists that he has developed from over a decade in the business makes the album possible. Already featured on the album includes Juice WRLD, Calvin Harris and Swae Lee. But because the album is Blanco’s, it’s a chance for him to release the songs he wants, on his terms. Blanco worked on Kanye West’s album, “Ye” and has formatted his album after West’s previous work by releasing a few songs at a time. For the first round of songs, Blanco was still switching out tracks and adding new ones days before the album was released. He plans to continue working to the last minute for the future releases.

“It’s very much getting what I’m thinking at that very moment,” Blanco told Rolling Stone.

“FRIENDS KEEP SECRETS,” more playlist than an album, is at once beautiful and exciting. Each song is distinct from the others, showcasing a different side of Blanco’s mastery while having some common thread that makes it distinctly his. At points FKS makes you want to dance, other times it makes you want to close your eyes and just enjoy. The album is something natural and spontaneous that is only possible in the era of music streaming.

I don’t have to promote it the same way as other artists; I don’t have to go out and do a tour and do this and do that,” Blanco said. “Kids seek out the music they want to listen to.”

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