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Hailing from McComb, Mississippi, Benn's early musical experiences came from singing in the choir of St. Pauls United Methodist Church, and the R&B, Soul and Blues music that was prevalent in the area. Choral music from school choirs and Broadway tunes from school musicals as well as a three year stint as Drum Major of the"Sounds Of Dynamite!" marching band at Alcorn State University,also played a part in his early education. A move to the west coast provided the opportunity to combine this early training with extensive vocal training at Blue Bear School of Music. Private voice lessions with Razz Kennedy and Stephanie Bruce along with singing in groups for each, gave him the opportunity to develop his own style and encouragement to strike out on his on. At a recording workshop Benn met pianist Dave Austin and found the most important ingredient for success, a pianist that understood and was excited by what he was trying to do. The result was 1999's style defining "Retro Nouveau!", a recording of standards given new life through updated arrangements and voicings.
Using Retro Nouveau to audition for the Rainbolt Foundation's West Coast SF Cabaret Conference, Benn won one of the eighteen spots competed for by vocalist across the country, and gave him his first major appearance at SF's Plush Room.
Participation in the conference introduced Benn to the local cabaret community where he has been mentored by such Bay Area artist as Barry Lloyd, The Kitchenettes, collectively and Linda Kosut and Lua Hadar individually.
Performing in Wayne Sutton's SF Cabaret Competition gave Benn both finalist and runner up wins and introduced him to a wider audience.
He continues a winning combination of working with David Austin as arranger, engineer and musical director on subsequent CD's "My Romance" and "What Love Is!" and 2012's "STOLEN MOMENTS" and now the most his most important recording of his career "4LOVE OF ABBEY VOL. 1" A musical tribute to singer, songwriter, actress, activist Abbey Lincoln.
Benn has studied at The Berkeley JazzSchool and is a member of CabaretWest and has received vocal training and guidance from SF’s Razz Kennedy, and Stephanie Bruce, and master classes with Faith Winthrop, Wesla Whitfield, and NY’s Ellie Ellsworth as well as the Grand Dame of Cabaret Marilyn Maye who dubbed him a grade A singer and entertainer.
He has recorded and performed with such Bay Area musicians as Jeff Neighbor, & Mark William on Bass; Jim Zimmerman, Vince Lateano, Bob Scott,and Bob Blankenship on drums and percussion; Barry Lloyd, Larry O'leno, Gary Newman, Jason Martineau, John Simon and Dave Austin on piano with whom he has been performing for the last 1 1/2 years at the Savanna Jazz Club along with Chuck Bennett/Bass, Bob Blankenship/Drums & Madaline Duran/Sax,flute,
He has appeared on the stages of Piafs, Johnny Foley Irish Cellar, The Plush Room, Club Jazz Nouveau, Martuni's, Octavia Lounge, Larkspurs Variety Platter, and Steve Murray's Viva Variety, The Hotel Nikko's Rrazz Room, LA's MBar, New York's Triad where he had his New York debut as part of Linda Kosut's show "Long As You're Living" Celebrating Oscar Brown Jr supporting her award winning CD and his own solo debut at NYC'S Don't Tell Mama sharing the sounds of Stolen Moments!
He was in the first of the Kitchenette's New Stars Of The Purple Onion evenings and along with Kate Austi-Groen completed a year long run of hosting Song Of The Month Club at Martuni's. Recently ending a three and a half year residency of monthly shawa at Bay Area Savanna Jazz Club every third Friday evening. Along with Tess Kelly he revived a defunct Song Of The Month Club at Martuni's and continues there as host monthly. He is available for private functions, corporate events, weddings and receptions, as well as a studio vocalist having provided vocals for two of SF's up and coming young talents.
Truly "The Music Is The Magic!"