Upcoming singer-songwriter Jess Benko has influenced listeners through her vibrant heartfelt musical style & rawly emotive vocal talents, which has received high praise from many fans & critics alike.
With songs such as “A Soulmate Who Wasn’t Meant To Be”, “Did You Ever Hurt Me?”, & “I’m Not Perfect” already creating an impact within the current music scene, there is no telling what this creative artist is capable of.
Recently, Jess released the passion-filled new single “Worst Enemy” & has kindly taken the time to speak to Fierce & Fabulous Revolution about the release, along with getting to know more from the artist behind the music.
Hey Jess, thank you so much for this interview. Can you start by telling the readers a little bit about yourself?
Jess: Hiii, i’m Jess Benko. i’m from Toronto Canada. I’m 18 years old and I’ve been making music for the past year and a half.
When did you first discover your passion for music?
Jess: I’ve been musically inclined for as long as I can remember! I was always in choir, doing musical theatre, singing whenever I could, listening to music and dancing. My life has always kind of revolved around music, but I don’t think I really understood the impact music could really have on people until a couple years ago.
When is the first time you can recall performing in front of a live audience?
Jess: My first performance of any type in in front of a live audience was in 2008 when I was six years old for a piano competition. My first time singing for an audience was in fourth grade for my school’s talent show
Have you always known that you wanted to pursue a career within the music industry?
Jess: Oh 100%, and I remember in elementary school when I would talk with my friends and be like “OK you’re gonna be my manager, and you’re gonna be my stylist” and it’s been my dream for as long as I can remember. Over the years, it’s just become more and more clear that this is what I meant to do and I absolutely love it. I’m living my dream.
How would you describe your musical style to someone unfamiliar with your music?
Jess: If you listen to my stuff from 2019 and the beginning of 2020, it’s very singer-songwriter. Now I’m kind of entering this somewhat pop world, with a bit of edginess to it. My main thing is lyrics and I think with any song I release there’s always going to be a level of honesty and vulnerability within my song writing because that’s the most important part of the song and I don’t think that’s ever going to change. I think as my sound evolves and changes at its core my lyrics are what make my music MY music.
You recently released the single “Worst Enemy”, which sounds amazing by the way. How did the idea for this song come together?
Jess: Soooo one day in September 2020 I wrote down in my notes “no one wants to cry with the radio on, shuffling my music and it’s all sad songs” and I had this idea for a song that would be called Worst Enemy. However, those were the only lyrics that I had written, and the first time I went to LA I brought those two lines up and we just started going from there. I think the concept of being your own worst enemy is something that’s very true in my day-to-day life and I just wanted to express my frustration for having those feelings. I also wanted to make a point that its so common for all of us to feel that way and that its ok.
What would you consider to be the main inspiration behind this song?
Jess: My personal experience with being my own worst enemy 100% is the inspiration behind the song. I have these episodes where either for a couple weeks at a time or even months at a time I will completely shut down and put myself in situations that are very self sabotaging.
How would you compare the creative process behind this single to your earlier releases?
Jess: It was very different as I was still getting used to being in sessions in general and writing with other people, opposed to being only person who works on my music. I think with this session in particular we knew we wanted to take it into a direction that was more upbeat and pop, but I didn’t want it to be just like the same sad sounding songs that I’ve been putting out. It was different, but I was in a stage where I was being very experimental with my sound and thought the result was pretty cool.
Did you always plan on releasing “Worst Enemy” as a single?
Jess: Yep! We knew we wanted to release Worst Enemy as soon as we got the first demo in October.
What does the song personally mean to you?
Jess: This song is a reminder for me to not let myself fall back into that stage of self sabotage, because while there is a bit of comfort in shutting down and giving no fucks, essentially every single time after I would get out of one of those episodes I would feel like absolute shit about myself. I regret letting that state of mind take up so much of my time and this song is just a reminder for me to be like OK get your shit together you’re in the real world now.
If listeners could take anything away from this song, what would you like it to be?
Jess: I think that listeners can take away that while being in a state of mind where are you are your own worst enemy and self sabotage is very prevalent that you’re not alone in those feelings and thoughts and they’re completely valid but I don’t know I I regret that I spend so much time in that mindset and I would like people to do you like yes OK what I’m feeling is valid it’s completely normal but try to not let it consume everything you do especially for a long amount of time take control of your life your decisions your future take control of it because if not you then who
What are some of the things you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Jess: OK my answers going to be a bit boring, but I really don’t do much in my spare time especially with Covid and just all the regulations and lockdowns. I have a very introverted side to me and I’m also very invested in my music career and i’m letting it take up and consume almost 100% of my life because I want to make it more than anything (whatever making it even means lol). I graduated last fall and when I was in school I did musical theatre, choir and I used to play on like four or five sports teams at a time. I really enjoyed that but I stopped but once I started making music and really realized like “OK this is my dream and I’m following it.”
Who would you consider to be your biggest inspiration?
Jess: There’s really not a lot of influences from my childhood that I take into account when making music. I think that maybe has helped me in a way because I’m not trying to sound like someone else, I am 100% myself, I’m making music the way I want to make it, and it’s sounding the way I wanted to sound. With that said, over the last couple of years I found a lot of artists that I really look up to like Dominic Fike, Billie Eilish, Jeremy Zucker, Sasha Sloan, Tate McRae, SYML, and Gracie Abrams.
What is one song you always keep on your playlist & why?
Jess: Rising Upside Down by SYML The first time I heard that song, I was in a very dark place and it felt like that was the only song that makes any sense. I felt like this song knew me, knew who I was, knew what I was going through, and came into my life at the perfect time.
What three words best describe you?
Jess: Honest, Open, and Emotional. I like to think I’m an honest person and I’m honest in my music. I’m a very open person, and it sometimes can be a bad thing but I don’t hold back on who I am and what I feel and think. I am also very emotional and I feel and think a lot of things. I don’t see it as a bad thing, but it is sometimes overwhelming haha.
If you could possess one superpower, which would you choose & why?
Jess: I’ve actually thought about this a lot. I would have to be the ability change future events and be able to make certain things either happen or not happen. I think a lot of good could be done with a super power like that.
What advice would you offer to someone looking to pursue a career within the music industry?
Jess: Surround yourself with good people you feel safe with and know have your best interest in mind. Those people will introduce you to other good people, which is so important because I think one of the scariest things is being in this industry and not feeling supported by the people you are around.
Finally, is there a message that you would like to share with the readers of Fierce & Fabulous Revolution?
Jess: Well first off I just want to say thank you to you for letting me talk about my newest release, and to the readers I want to say always remind yourself of your power. You can be revolutionary and a hero in your own way. Just be honest about who you are and surround yourself with good people. 🙂
You can check out “Worst Enemy” on Spotify below.