We had the good fortune of connecting with Ben Wylen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ben, how do you think about risk?
I think most people think about risk in a straightforward manner. People often think for example, “It’s a huge risk to quit my job and start my own venture because then I won’t have any money, stability, or certainty of success.” I look at risk in the reverse manner. So in this example I’d be asking myself, “what would I be risking if I stayed in the stable job.” I am seeking something that’s often intangible whether it be happiness, fulfillment or purpose driven work. So I often view the risk of not doing what I have my heart set on. This ultimately leads me to doing the thing I most want to do and I therefore do a better job at it because I love the process of doing it.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I have been writing songs since I was a young teenager. First as the lead singer of a band, then for other artists and most recently as a solo artist. I think what truly separates me is an unwavering belief that I have what it takes and my willingness to put in the work. My career has been a series of incredible challenges and failures that needed to be overcome. Along the way I watched many other artists give up under the same pressure. It’s extremely difficult to succeed as an artist. There is no shortcut for time. I do believe that if you feel you are meant to do something in your heart, it will happen. The catch though is that it doesn’t happen on your time line. So I have learned to let go. I worry about doing the things within my control. My job is not to figure out how i’ll get my big break, my job is seize it when I see it happening. This is what happened when I went to London to record my debut album with legendary record producer, Danton Supple. After years of touring in a band and writing songs, I found myself in a session with Danton. In that moment, I realized that I had already earned the right to be there and all I needed to do was be myself. After that session Danton invited to make a record and the rest as they say is history!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I am a sucker for great food and luckily LA has some of the best restaurants in world. I would start the day with coffee on Montana Ave in Santa Monica. My spot is Bardonna. The vibe is unbeatable and the regulars (including myself) has a certain respect for each other. Then we’d spend the day surfing in Malibu. Even if you suck at surfing (I suck myself), you can’t beat the peace of sitting on the water and looking out into the distance. For dinner we’d hit Gjelina on Abbot Kinney. Easily one of the best restaurants in LA, It has an amazing ambience and the food is sensational!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
When I just graduated from college I got really into commencement addresses for some odd reason. I think I just found them to be very inspiring and so I would watch them to pump myself up when I was feeling down. One day I came across a speech by the incredible comedian Jim Carey. In this speech, he said something that I have never forgotten and it has been a guiding light in my life ever since. “You can fail at something you hate doing, so why not take a chance on something you love.”
Tom Oxley, Svet Jacqueline