feature: check out the soul-shaking music of singer/songwriter benjamin clementine #soundcheck

May 6, 2014

British singer/songwriter Benjamin Clementine released his debut EP Cornerstone less than a year ago, but already he’s been compared to the great Nina Simone and boosted by none other than Sir Paul McCartney. That’s a lot for someone whose recorded output clocks in at around 20 minutes. But listening to the EP, it’s also clear that it’s more than empty hype.

By Nathan Leigh, AFROPUNK Contributor

The self-taught pianist and singer honed his skills in the Paris metro stations. Clementine taught himself piano as a teenager studying the French composer Erik Satie, whose iconically beautiful chords pop up throughout the Cornerstone EP. The haunting beauty of his piano contrasts against the raw emotion of his voice. He strains on “I Won’t Complain,” the heartbreaking optimism crashing against the piano.

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Clementine’s songs are full of longing for a sense of place. “Cornerstone” finds the man who was born to Ghanaian parents and has called London, then Paris “home” searching for a place to be. “I’ve been lonely, alone in a box of my own / And this is the place that I now belong / It’s my home.” His intake of breath after each “home” conveys more than some singers can muster in their entire discographies. 3 songs into his career, and there’s no question that Benjamin Clementine has an incredible career ahead of him.

The EP is available here.