We had the good fortune of connecting with James Bene and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi James, how do you think about risk?
Its seems like my entire life has been a risk. I am no stranger to the feeling of having to jump in order to make my life happen the way I envision it to be. Choosing the life of an artist and an entrepreneur is risky business. It comes with zero guarantee! It seemed really good on paper when I was much younger and eager to give up everything to follow my dreams. As I got older I realized the amount of work it would take along with faith and determination to make it happen. As a singer/songwriter and a spiritual teacher I have learned that no matter what, you must put some sort of effort into your craft everyday without judgement or outside validation. Forget about motivation and inspiration….this comes and goes. You can’t wait until it feels right…you have to just do it. I spent a very long time wishing and hoping, trying to manifest my life in my mind instead of actively taking part in the process. Life feels risky if you are not taking a risk! When I delved head first into that energy it quickly turned to excitement and purpose. Feeling on purpose is the best feeling and when you find the flow you forget about everything…. fear, risk, discomfort and outcome! Outcome is important. When I create or work on my business I do so from a very broad perspective….seeing the biggest picture possible in my mind. I work towards that vision and then let go of the outcomes and expectations I have for my self or that others have placed upon me. Mindfulness and present moment living really helps in this instance I must say! Meditation has been a key component in keeping my anxiety at bay when I feel scared or afraid to jump. I am a member of the Kabbalah center here in LA. One thing I learned from the teachings of the Zohar that really sticks with me is this…. Your purpose and joy rarely live within your comfort zone so the act of living a joyful life takes risk and not all chose that path.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I talk so much about my spiritual life that sometimes I neglect my creative life! I have been singing and playing the piano ever since I was a young boy. Music has always been a huge escape for me. I remember sitting in my room as a kid listening to my cd player for hours….determined to learn all the words to the songs of my favorite artists…which at the time were En Vogue and Queen. I was enamored by Mozart, Beethoven and most classical music and yet fell in love with Motown and Jazz. I had very eclectic taste i guess. My love for music took me to music school and i received a BFA in Music and theatre. Music was a challenging major for me bc of the theory and mechanics of it. I found it hard to learn structure when original melodies flooded my mind endlessly and all I wanted to do was compose my own works instead of learning the works of others. Music is challenging. The music industry is even more challenging. When I was 23 I started working with a label (not going to mention which) that showed interest in my writing. I thought at the time…”this was it!” To make a long story short i ended up being stuck in a contract that was basically shelved. When that happened I felt as lost as ever. I became depressed and fell into bad habits. I stopped singing and didn’t touch a piano for what felt like years. It wasn’t until I started acting school in Nyc at William Esper that the creative juices began to flow again although I probably transferred my passion for music into acting which I was also pretty good at I must say. Well… In doing this it became clear that I was pretty unhealed. Acting brought up so many wounds that I didn’t realize I still had. I took time off to study, heal and soul search. So here I am now….recording my album in Los Angeles. I am finally allowing myself to be the artist I was born to be without restrains and self doubts. It took some time to get here but i have learned that divine timing is a thing and when you are ready to really receive your greatest good, it will come rushing in like gangbusters! My first Single “American Warrior” which in a way is an ode to my own journey, is releasing this year. I am super excited to share this with the world. My advice is to Keep the faith!!! If you believe in yourself enough you can make anything happen and secondly… heal! Take time to learn how to really love yourself. To me, this is my biggest accomplishment and although it is a work in progress…I am eternally grateful .
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I have lived in LA for a little over 4 years now and I am still learning about the cool spots to go. This last year was a wash bc of covid. I saw the inside of my apartment…which I love …so that is a plus! If someone visited me for a week I would have us drive up the coast to Big Sur. Big Sur is a magical place….God lives there. The natural beauty is unmasked and wild. There is nothing made in life that can compare to the beauty of nature. We would stop in Cambria for a day, walk the beach, visit Hearst Castle and then continue up to Big Sur. Have drinks and lunch at Nepenthe, visit Pfeiffer Beach, see some red woods then head to Carmel by the sea and visit the old mission. In LA we would visit the Roosevelt hotel and see the stars on the sidewalk, babe! Grab drinks at the Alcove Bar in Los Feliz and maybe head to Malibu for a sunset dinner with a stop at Lake Shrine…oh and drive up Beachwood for some cool Hollywood Sign shots!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I am inspired by so many friends, authors and contemporaries of mine but I would have to say that the dearly departed Kelly Pipper has been the biggest influence in changing the course of my life. Kelly was a spiritual teacher and healer on the upper east side of Manhattan. I found her at a young age when I felt most lost in life. Working with her made me realize much about myself as a soul and a creator. She helped me understand the need to heal my childhood trauma and unblocked and strengthened my own intuitive and spiritual gifts. She was like my soul mother. I felt so alone before I met her…like no one understands how I feel. She showed me the light. She introduced me to God… a God I felt like I was meeting for the first time. One that I connected with and loved. Working with a healer is the biggest gift you can give yourself….one of the reasons I am one today! Kelly inspired me to continue her work as a healer and teacher. After her death I was more emblazoned on my journey in helping others.
Other: Tik Tok: Jamebene Clubhouse: Jamesbene (High Vibe tribe Cub) Music website: Coming Soon Sound Cloud: www.soundcloud.com/JamesBene