FRANCE — LIVE
When Benjamin Clementine sings, people stop what they’re doing and listen. A talent this unique is the purest of discoveries. There’s the voice: tender, powerful, fathoms deep. The self penned songs with their gut-wrenchingly personal lyrics. The way his piano lines ebb and flow, partnering the words, reinforcing the emotion. Broad shouldered, straight-backed, with a singular sense of style, the Edmonton-raised, british singer/songwriter/multi instrumentalist has already drawn parallels with
the likes of Anthony and the Johnsons and Screamin J Hawkins as well as Grace Jones, for his striking image. Indeed, if you have to stick another label on Clementine’s sound, then try Basquiat Pop. Bas Pop. It’s fine by him. The real learning started aged 11, when one of his older brothers brought a keyboard home; within a year Benjamin was the more proficient. He’s packed a lot into his 24 years: heartbreak, homelessness, a Phoenix-from-the-Ashes reinvention. Before reaching cult status in Paris, where his informal,
close-up gigs sell out, he had crowds double-taking with his performances and regularly had people missing their train stops on purpose all along the way, right up until earlier this year, before putting a stop to busking. There were thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of Parisian commuters for whom Clementine’s stardom was only ever a matter of time. And so what was born out of despair, out of a need to survive, became a calling. A delight. A career.
AT LEAST FOR NOW
BARCLEY , 2015