about the artist
Welsh singer-songwriter Edie Bens grew up on a farm with a pet owl and the world's largest dog (Guinness Book of Records official). Edie found solace in songwriting and playing in Swansea pubs and Working Man's Clubs. Now, Edie has become one of the most hotly tipped emerging artists supporting the likes of Rae Morris, Tom Walker, The Felice Brothers on tour and being tipped by BBC Introducing and Greg James, as well as Matt Edmondson & Mollie King who she recently joined on BBC Radio 1 as "one of the best" interviewees they've ever had. Inspired byMore
Welsh singer-songwriter Edie Bens grew up on a farm with a pet owl and the world's largest dog (Guinness Book of Records official). Edie found solace in songwriting and playing in Swansea pubs and Working Man's Clubs. Now, Edie has become one of the most hotly tipped emerging artists supporting the likes of Rae Morris, Tom Walker, The Felice Brothers on tour and being tipped by BBC Introducing and Greg James, as well as Matt Edmondson & Mollie King who she recently joined on BBC Radio 1 as "one of the best" interviewees they've ever had. Inspired by the great stars of Alternative and Country music, on her debut "Playing Pretend" EP Edie has taken memories from the past few years of touring and falling in and out of love and weaved them into captivating stories with meticulous songwriting and emotional depth which makes you feel like you're watching them unfold in front of your eyes.
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Growing up on a farm in Wales with a pet owl and the world's largest dog (Guinness Book of Records official), Edie Bens wasn't raised within a musical family but found solace in lyricism from a young age. Finding inspiration from the artists her Dad used to play in the car, from Dolly Parton to Bruce Springsteen, she began writing her own songs when she was just 10 years old. When Bens was a teenager, she felt excluded from the music community around her, but that didn't stop her from pursuing her passion. "I didn't get a chance to play in a band or anything like that because it was exclusively a boys' thing," she explains.
By the time she was 13, Edie was desperate to start performing, she decided to make frequent visits to the local Working Men's Club — accompanied by her Dad — as it was just about the only open mic night available to her in Swansea at the time. Despite the room being filled with "super territorial" indie-Oasis-boy-band-loving men, Edie bowled over the crowds with her captivating, intricate vocals and hasn't looked back since. "I loved doing it so much I didn't care what anyone thought; I was just in my own world." says Edie.
Bens' tenacity and determination is about to pay off. Now 23 and armed with a beguiling and beautiful debut EP, the gifted singer-songwriter looks set to become the next lauded indie-pop artist holding space for female musicians, just like her influences Maggie Rogers and Holly Humberstone. "I feel so empowered by this [current] female indie-pop movement," she says. "I can really identify myself in it."
The rising star might be a newcomer to most people at the moment, but music has been at the centre of her world for most of her life. She's been singing since she discovered she was able to around the age of five and spent her youth singing along to videos on YouTube and begrudgingly attending classical singing lessons. Later, she started playing guitar at 12 — the same age that she began writing her own songs as an alternative to deciphering how to play the works of other artists.
Songwriting, she soon discovered, was something that was both an activity she enjoyed and a necessary outlet for her. "I was — and still am — quite an emotional person and it allowed me to be that without having to annoy other people with my feelings," she explains. "I could process my feelings rather than telling someone else. Communicating in that way, I usually go around in circles but when I'm writing a song I'm way less polite — I'm not thinking about it being released when I'm writing." Upcoming new track 'Don't Love You Anymore' is the perfect example, Bens telling a soon-to-be ex a cold harsh truth: "Don't wanna meet you for coffee / Don't wanna know how your grandma is."
At 18, Bens upped sticks and moved to Brighton for university, where she studied songwriting. Being surrounded by classmates who felt the same passion for music as she does was an overwhelming, important experience for her. "It was really eye-opening that so many people love this and see it as a serious thing," she says. "The people in the community and the vibe was amazing."
It was while she was studying that she decided to release her first track, the fittingly-titled, Americana-tinged 'The First One.' Released in 2019, when she was still in the first year of her course, it was less of a first bid for world fame and more a nonchalant testing of the waters. "I just threw it on Spotify, it was very much like, 'I'll just see what happens,'" she laughs. "I felt like I had nothing to lose."
Shooting her shot paid off. Despite it being her first release and with no music industry machination around her, the track made its way onto an editorial playlist on Spotify, kickstarting a slow-burn of buzz around the musician. Edie finished uni in the midst of the pandemic, but out of that dark and scary time, she managed to extract a silver lining — unlimited time to work on her music. Alongside the producers she works with — two of whom she met at uni — she spent a period living in a studio, recording. Much like her first forays into songwriting, it gave her a way to process her feelings.
She made the big move to London just last year, although it did seem like stumbling into a series of unfortunate events. In her first week of London living she was hit by a moped on a zebra crossing, immediately getting up and laughing about it, but eventually succumbing to crutches for three months. But one to always find the positive in any situation, she didn't let the accident stop her from performing and she toured the country with plastercast and crutches playing to ever-growing audiences, undeterred. Driven by her creative prowess and most importantly, her love of lyrics, Edie Bens is en route to release her most compelling work yet.
Her debut record opens with the lilting 'Don't Love You Anymore,' which details an old relationship of Bens.' "We went out for the first year of uni and then, in second year, I had this massive realisation that I really didn't like him but I stayed with him," she explains, reasoning that she didn't want to hurt his feelings.
The lush folky melodies and damning lyrics of 'Therapist,' meanwhile, were written as a joint effort between the musician and her housemates about the same ex's fake ways. "Take another drag off your cigarette," she sings over the sparkling sounds. "I should have known that you given in / Another shot for the thrill of it / Am I the only thing you'll ever quit?" "When we first started going out, he was a massive smoker and I told him I wouldn't go out with him if he didn't quit," she says. "So he did and when we broke up a week later, I saw him at the pub smoking again."
Each song on the EP weaves engaging stories that make you feel like you're watching them unfold in front of your eyes, the emotional depth in Bens' lyrics making it easy to connect with her tales. "I'm obsessed with lyrics," she smiles. "Someone like Phoebe Bridgers — people feel her lyrics so much and that's something I'd love to have, that sense that people will listen to something and identify with it even if it's a small emotion. It's so nice to find yourself in music and I had such a privilege to find myself in other people's music. I'd love to be able to let people find themselves in mine."
Finding that bond with her fans is more important to the young musician than scoring huge streaming numbers or achieving world domination. "I'd rather have 10 fans who really loved it than have 100 who were like, 'Oh, I kind of liked this bit of this song,'" she says. "The music and the songwriting are so much more important to me — as long as I'm making music that I'm proud of, I'll be happy." So far, so good — and, right now, Bens only looks like she'll keep getting better.