Benjamin Clementine dropped out of nowhere. Before his ascension as a musician and poet, he was drifting around Paris with no money, no connections and not much to fall back on but a keyboard, his creativity and a charisma that belied his years and circumstances. In the years since, following the release of two acclaimed albums, The New York Times saw fit to deem Clementine a “creative genius,” the British press as one of the most influential people in the UK. As with most legendary tales, Clementine’s is a story often told. In fact, he’s somewhat bored of it himself. A born raconteur, however, Clementine is writing a captivating next chapter.
Benjamin Clementine is a lesson in dichotomies: The 28-year-old pianist and songwriter exudes the wisdom of someone twice his age while questioning everything about the world around him with the vulnerability and naivety of a child. His songwriting is intensely personal, often dealing with themes of solitude and survival, and yet the artist himself is protective of the narrative surrounding his rise to fame. His story—of homelessness in Paris, attempted suicide, rags-to-riches discovery and success—is overly simplistic, he says. The
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