With his debut album, “The Bridge,” Liberian refugee turned artist Benji Cavalli strives to uplift. Mostly written in standard English and the Liberian pidgin known as “Kolloqua,” the album’s lyrics were heavily influenced by Benji’s journey from poverty and homelessness after the Liberian Civil War to success in the entertainment industry. Some tracks honor Benji’s French coupe roots.
Benji Cavalli has now made a complete body of work available, showcasing his distinctive vibrato and tenor as well as bass, percussion, and his inimitable bright energy.
As a result, listeners around the world are guaranteed to connect with the Highlife, Gbema, and Afrobeat sounds that have been linked to Liberia, Australia, America, the Ivory Coast, and other places.
Benji Cavalli shared more about his life and music in a recent interview he had with Mister Styx of musicarenagh
Get the full story below:
Social media handles
What is your stage name?
My stage name is Benji Cavalli
What was the role of music in the early years of your life?
I started as an instrumentalist, playing the drums, and can play a few bass guitar strings as well.
Who inspired you to be a part of the music industry?
I was inspired by my uncle Zack Roberts. He is a legendary Liberian singer-songwriter and artist. Since childhood I noticed he was very different from his colleagues. His sound was a mixture of zouk, calypso, and highlife music, and his messages were always about peace and unity. He was the first artist I saw live in concert, and from then I decided that was the type of artist I aspire to be.
How did you learn to sing/write/to play?
Honestly, I feel like it’s a natural thing to me. I write based on my personal life and things that are going on in the world. I learned to play the drums and bass guitar when I lived on the Coast Guard base as a child and I learned to play by ear and while watching the military band play.
How would you describe your music?
My genre is called Gbema– a style unique to Liberia– fused with Afrobeats and Highlife music. My music consists of drums, conga, bass, horn, and a few other instruments that are traditionally heard in West Africa.
Describe your creative process?
I am always creating music. Lyrics and sounds come to mind wherever I am, throughout the day, and especially while I am relaxed.
What musician do you admire most and why?
I admired the late Michael Jackson for his hard work and dedication for music. He was an international artist that anyone could relate to, and he dedicated a song to Liberian women.
Did your style evolve since the beginning of your career?
Definitely, yes. As I have matured and evolved, so has my sound and style.
Who do you see as your main competitor?
Idon’t view anyone as competition. Everyone is creative in their own way, and I am open to working with anyone that is about the culture and shares the same vision as me.
What are your interests outside of music? I like spending quality time with my family, traveling, and staying active and connected to my community through playing soccer.
If it wasn’t a music career, what would you be doing?
I feel like if I was not doing music I would’ve been a professional soccer player. I traveled to play while in college, and I still play in an adult league when I am not traveling for music.
What is the biggest problem you have encountered in the journey of music?
My biggest problem was finding balance between remaining authentic and reaching a broader audience, but I am determined to promote a unique culture and sound to the world rather than being and sounding like everyone else.
What are your plans for the coming months?
I’ve recently released my debut album entitled, The Bridge and am currently starting the U.S. leg of my album tour. Check out benjicaval….com/shows to see when I’ll be in your city!
Do you have any artistic collaboration plans?
I have collaborated with many artists from different countries based all over the world. I am always open to creating.
What message would you like to give to your fans?
I’d like to extend my appreciation to my fans for the continued love and support. They’ve motivated and supported the music, so I’ll always do my best to remain consistent and entertain my fans through music.