After the release of his debut single “Rising Sun” to a great response in July 2020, Benjamin Wood (now 16), shines through once again in his follow up single, “Shoulder”, releasing across all digital platforms today.
The Grade 10 learner at Steyn City School in Dainfern, Johannesburg, is a multi-talented artist, performer and deep thinker. Benjamin is not only a singer/songwriter, but also plays multiple instruments, is a tap and ballet dancer and an award-winning actor.
Over the past few months during COVID-19, music and song-writing has been something that has kept him going, giving him hope and most importantly, helped him to express how he, and perhaps all of us, are feeling in these current times.
Benjamin has felt that there’s nothing better than sitting down with his guitar and a notebook and letting his creativity flow during times of stress and hardship and ultimately, this is how “Shoulder” was born.
In terms of instrumentation and style, the song falls within the pop genre. It has moments of softer, acoustic elements while also making use of larger sounds from bass, drums and synthesised elements that come together to create what he believes is a vibrant, upbeat and easy-on-the-ear pop song, while also telling an important story of connectedness.
Benjamin Wood comments on “Shoulder”
“I began to reflect on what I could express through the music. A thought that really struck me was the idea that everyone is going through their own battles in the current times, but what keeps us connected and strong is our relationships with the people around us and the common struggle that everyone is facing together.
“In that way, we are isolated in our own lives and individual circumstances, but extremely connected to the current state of the world which we endure as one people. This idea is what gave rise to the chorus of the song where I attempt to express the feelings that I’ve had during current times.”
The chorus also explores our desire to reach beyond hardship now, but most importantly, in our present adversity, to use each other and human connection to overcome feelings of sorrow and loss.”
An important element to make the song unique for Benjamin, was using the words of people that he has found influential and significant in the past year, to highlight a spirit of connection and unity, but also hopefully to inspire anyone that listens to the song to know that how we successfully get through these times, is based on how successfully we help each other along the way.
These quotes ensure “Shoulder” is multi-layered and not your typical pop song.
- a line from one of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s speeches during lockdown
- a quote from Kamala Harris on the night she became the Vice President Elect of the USA
- Black Lives Matter chants from one of the many protests against injustice and racism which have informed a word wide movement towards equality,
- a quote from Marcus Rashford, whose child hunger campaigns and poverty work in the UK have been a shining example of empathy and the desire to care for each other in the face of adversity
- and lastly, Barack Obama speaking to the fact that there are better days to come from an interview he did during lockdown.
Benjamin Wood explains
“These inspirational people and movements have shaped my thinking during the past year and including them in my song was a way of highlighting their work and its importance while showcasing our capacity as a nation and world to move through these times together.”
Shoulder is written by Benjamin Wood, and co-produced by the highly successful producing team Tjaart van der Walt and Matthew Marinus.
Tjaart van der Walt had this to say:
“Benjamin is a very kind young man. Humble, honest, and sincere. He’s got a heart the size of a mountain and his lyrics come from a place of truth. He’s an absolute pleasure to work with and knows exactly what he wants. I can always rely on him to deliver a perfect vocal. I am very proud of him and feel very honoured to have had him trust me with something so close to his heart.”
Benjamin’s remarkable performance CV belies his young age, with him already having notched up many impressive performances in high profile productions.
These include Evita (at just 12), The Sound of Music, Born To Perform! Shine in 2018 and again in 2019, Jonathan Roxmouth – The Musicals and most recently, during Covid-19 in 2020, in the &Scene virtual Escape Game, ZIMA.
Musical theatre and acting are as important to him as his singing, and he plans to pursue performance arts as career going forward. He has been been a student at Stageworx School of Performing Arts since 2017, when schoolwork allows, in order to sit for the ATCL Musical Theatre Examination.
He has many acting accolades and awards won, with 2021 being a particularly busy year. He received a Special Mention Award for Acting in May’s FEDA Festival (Festival of Excellence in Dramatic Arts).
Most recently, he swept the boards at the South African Championships of the Performing Arts in October where he won the Overall Male Acting Award in the 16-24 age Category, as well as 9 solo Gold Medals, 7 solo Silver Medals, 3 solo Bronze Medals in the Acting, Singing and Modelling categories.
The future shines bright for this extremely talented and motivated young singer/songwriter who is just bursting with passion for his craft and hope for the future.
“Shoulder” is out now across all digital platforms HERE.
Watch this space for updates in the Music category on Running Wolf’s Rant.