We had the good fortune of connecting with Benjamin Fortin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Benjamin, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I decided to pursue an artistic career because I wanted to inspire and reach out to others through my music. I learned very quickly that music is one of the most powerful things we have in this life. Without music, I honestly don’t know what I what do with myself! My decision to study and pursue music as a career was the only thing that made sense for me to do with my life.
When I was in High School, I would literally just lock myself in my room and play my guitars for hours everyday after school. When I went to college, I did the same exact thing except I learned how to play my instrument at a professional level. At that time, I literally played so much my fingers constantly bled.
I also pursued an artistic career because of my passion for playing live music. When I play on a stage, I feel empowered and I feel proud that I have taken on an artistic career. The feeling I get from plugging in my guitar into a loud amplifier is the most special thing in the world to me. I get goosebumps when my sound just gets thrown through my chest. Playing live is a short time in which I realize that I have the power to make others feel what I have gone through in my lifetime. I get to take them on an experience with my instrument and with my music! Playing live is also special because you are showing people your hard work and your passion. Sometimes my best ideas come out on stage when I replay certain events or times from my life almost like a film reel. I honestly can’t think of any other career that has this kind of emotional power.
Music is my way of expressing my ideas and feelings that go on in my head and in my heart. Pursuing this kind of career allows me to have music be the center piece of my life. I feel that my artistic career is just something that I was meant to do!
I like to think that throughout my life, I can hopefully inspire others to pursue what they love to do no matter what risks, sacrifices, or hardships they might need to take in order to achieve it. That is why I pursued an artistic career.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My music is focused heavily on my understanding and connection with my instrument. I would say what sets me apart from others is that I have worked hard to get great tone and feel from my guitar. Each performance, I always strive to make everyone’s chest rumble in the best way possible. In my opinion, I feel that it is important to play something that people in the audience will think about when they leave. I put my heart and soul into my playing so that others can hopefully feel something afterwards. One of my strongest areas musically is improvising on stage. I think it is because I love how unpredictable it can be! I find comfort in improvising as well because you’re always taking yourself and the listener to new places throughout the performance. Not to mention, you might surprise yourself with what you come up with!
I do a lot of work for local LA independent artists, and I also play in a cover band called Agent 18. I am also very excited to be working with a new upcoming local artist “Tambor”. On top of that, I am going to start releasing my own music later this year!
I also run the music program for a local music school in Santa Clarita, CA. It is one of the most challenging and yet rewarding things in my career I have done so far. My students continue to inspire me every time I see them.
It has taken a tremendous amount of hard work and hardships to get to where I am today, and I am sure as I move forward it will continue to be that way. When I first moved to LA over 5 years ago, I was still just a kid. I had such a hard time playing in bars and breaking into the scene because I wasn’t even old enough to be in them. I can’t even begin to tell you the amount of rejection and failure I have had to go through to find my path in the industry. What got me through some of my toughest times here is just remembering to never give up. You have to always believe in yourself so that others can believe in you. And most importantly, work hard. There would be days where I worked so much throughout the week that I felt physically ill from being so tired. I will never forget one time when I played a gig at Lucky Strike Live a couple years ago. After I played our set, I was so tired that thought I couldn’t make it home with all my gear cause I would just fall over from exhaustion. I think some of the things that got me through those times was just remembering to never give up and to keep moving forward. I want everyone who has heard my story to always remember to chase their passion.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Well first of all, I would have to take them to get the best tacos of their life in North Hollywood at Angel’s Tijuana Tacos. I would then take them to the lighthouse in Palos Verdes, the Observatory, Downtown LA, and probably Manhattan Beach or El Matador Beach. Not to mention Universal Studios or Disney Land! We would also have to drive up to Santa Barbara and San Diego as well. I think you can find so many fun and exciting things to do by just driving around. If you ever run out of things to do, just take a drive on the Pacific Coast Highway.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I wouldn’t be where I am without my friends and my family at home. They have given me the best support system I could have ever asked for, and have been there for me through it all. I also want to thank everyone who has taught me guitar throughout the years. Especially everybody from Ralph’s House of Tone, and all of my guitar teachers from MI. You all changed my life forever.