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Fairview Grad Zoe Benson Releases First EP "Songs from the Basement"

By Sara McCrea in Arts & Culture

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Zoe Benson's EP Cover

Fairview alumna Zoe Benson released her first EP “Songs From the Basement” on October 13th, 2015 (An EP album is a collection of songs by a musician and is used to showcase their talent). The young singer/songwriter released four originals on the EP which she had been working on for two years. Her youtube channel has over 700 subscribers, and her first upload has over 42,000 views. And she only graduated Fairview last year.

“It’s called “Songs from the Basement” because I used to sing and write in my basement, so it was kind of my space for music,” said Benson.

The four tracks on the album , “Pretty When I Cry,” “Up Late,” “Again,” and “Little While,” are all written and arranged by Zoe herself. “I do everything by ear and from there figure out the chords, tempos, and keys,” said Benson. “There’s no specific formula with arranging.”

Benson has been singing as long as she can remember, but only started composing two years ago. “‘Little While’ was the first song I wrote, which appears on the EP.”

Even though Zoe is relatively new to composing, her lyrics reflect deep insight and powerful emotions. Her songs are the perfect mix of unexpected heartache and beautiful love songs that you will surely play on a loop. Benson’s rich voice has a sweetness that perfectly matches the full instrumentals on the tracks and has the versatility to sound amazing in many genres.

According to Zoe, EP’s are usually not produced with as much instrumentation, but because of her connection with Mike Binder at MBG Records, she was able to work with them to produce a much fuller sound, which is very evident. The strings added into “Up Late” beautifully compliment the love song, and are enough to bring tears to your eyes.

Though the tracks on her EP are originals, the videos with the most views so far on Benson’s YouTube channels are her covers.

“I’ve done Frank Ocean and Black Keys covers. I like to do covers by singers that aren’t just girls with guitars so I can make them my own and make them different,” said Benson.

When making an EP, there’s a lot more that goes into it than just the writing and recording of the songs.

“I had all of these songs sitting around that I knew I wanted to do something with, so I started thinking about (an EP) middle of last year… Figuring out copyright and all of the technical stuff took a while, but the whole thing was finished before I moved to New York,” said Benson.

As for what Zoe’s up to now, she has begun her freshman year at The New School in New York City.

“I’m studying contemporary music, which so far is just like reading about music. I’ve done some open mics since I’ve got here, but I guess what’s next is to focus on school work and focus on writing, since New York is such a great new place for inspiration,” said Benson. “There aren’t great places here like my basement where I can sit and put pieces together, so for right now I’ve just been writing pieces of songs, and focusing on the lyrics portion.”

Check out Zoe's EP "Songs from the Basement" at http://www.zoebensonmusic.com

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