Ben Sharkey
Gig Seeker Pro

Ben Sharkey

Royal Oak, Michigan, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2010 | SELF

Royal Oak, Michigan, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2010
Band Jazz Pop




"At Home with Ben Sharkey"

earlier this summer i had the great pleasure of interviewing the immensely talented Ben Sharkey,,, who also happens to be the voice, writer & talent behind the song, "When I think of Love', that plays on the ksp website.

from the moment i knocked at his door, Ben welcomed me openly into his home & we proceeded to chat as if we were friends who just hadn't seen each other in awhile; let alone it being the first time we had actually met in person! there was an instant connection, which isn't too hard to believe... it doesn't take very long for one to know that Ben is one of the friendliest people. ever.

we talked, we laughed, i snapped some pics, we talked, we laughed. at the end of it all, even as i was leaving -literally walking to my car- we were still chatting away! someone had to cut us off.

i had asked Ben all sorts of questions, however somehow in the midst of all our chatter, i had forgotten to ask him a very important one,,,
(which i then emailed him later) :

what is to YOU ?!

Passion to me is very similar to an obsession - It's almost an unexplainable phenomenon, a drive that is fueled by something deep within you to reach a certain goal, or live a certain way. I think Passion can be used for something good, but it can also be used for something bad, as well. Either way, it's life consuming. The word may be thrown around a lot just like the word "Love" but I think that if you're truly passionate about something, that passion is linked to your inner soul and will follow you, or guide you in your path.

Life? I think it's an answer that we are all striving to find out and will never really know the true answer. I do think that each person's life is their own quest, and there are certain reasons why we are all here and I do believe that we are here for a reason, Not all quests are the same. The only hard evidence we have about life is that we are born, we live, and we die. We don't know for certain what happens before or after, so my mantra is:
You only have one life, Do with it what you can. Be the best you can be and don't let anyone hold you back from your true potential.

Love. It's a powerful force of nature, It is gravity. It's the glue that bonds everything together. the essence of life. Love is essential to our development. It's a drug, and highly addictive. It's both primordially simple and passionately complex. It's Happiness and despair. Life without love is robotic and cold. Life isn't life without love. I think that's why love songs will always be timeless. I have my dreams, my passions, my life, but the most important thing to me is love, and true love is really the ultimate goal and driving force in my life.

even with all my notes,,,
i don't think any more words could really sum up what an incredible person Ben is as he did so eloquently above.

- To read the rest of the blog as well as photos visit and search for Ben Sharkey - Ksenija Savic Photography

"One Degree Closer to Ben Sharkey"

" Armed with a "deep-rooted love for the city" of Detroit and an overflowing amount of artistic ability, Benjamin Sharkey is ready to leave his mark on this town any way he can. An avid artist in both the visual and musical sense, Sharkey became a YouTube sensation by nearly topping the 2 million total video views mark and has more than 5,00 subscribers tuning into his
original and cover performances, featuring most notable his keyboard and acoustic talents.Sharkey is confident he can reach his peak as an artist housed in Motown and maintains this optimism despite the problematic economic times facing the state. " I see Detroit as a place for the opportunity to start something big. This city raises some pretty amazing and talented people. Unfortunately a large amount of them leave the city. I don't want to be one of them; I have faith in the city and i see it's potential. "playing into that belief is the impressions his patrons leave with him after experiencing one of his paintings or musical pieces. "It's nice to know that a part of me will play a part in their daily lives and I helped make their environment more authentic to their Being."
- 6 degrees Magazine

"Double Lives"

There's full amplitude to singer Ben Sharkey's daily show. Working as a 3D artist for visualization tech firm Real Time Technology (RTT) is his day gig. Nights and weekends he belts out jazz-pop ballads around Metro Detroit nightspots. He's painting a series for his inaugural art exhibition. Seems like the needle never stops moving, and it's been that way his whole life.

The 31-year-old's flair was seeded early. Growing up with a mother who sang and played the guitar, Sharkey never had professional voice lessons, but still wrote songs and did the talent show circuit to good response. Raised in Stockbridge, a speck of a village (pop. circa 1,300), Sharkey struck out for the hotspot life his senior year of high school. He made "a rebel move" to the closest big city, Ann Arbor, for its jazz clubs like the Firefly and fine dining venues.

Sharkey went on to receive his BFA in digital animation from the College for Creative Studies in 2007. Post graduation he worked as a commissioned artist, painting for a stable of private residences and local businesses. When custom jobs slowed down, he took employment as a 3-D designer at RTT's Royal Oak office.

And he kept his vocal chords honey-smooth at night. Jazz fit the Birmingham resident's new urbanity. "I've always wanted to be a metropolitan kind of guy," Sharkey says. "I like the country, but I've always liked culture and the arts and lots of different types of people and diversity. I think jazz definitely captures a big city feel, and I think that's what really drew me to it."

In the early days at RTT, he made and posted videos on YouTube as an experiment. Turned out to be a case of right place, right time. In 2007, YouTube featured him singing, "Can I" (by Canadian songwriter Elijah Lucian). It got almost 300,000 views in one week's time. "I didn't know I was going to get as much recognition as I did," he recalls. Cue to turn pro as a performing artist.

For the past two years Sharkey's been singing with The Ben Sharkey Quartet (or Quintet, depending on the size of his entourage). He thinks Detroit is the right place for his career.

"It would be easier for an artist to build themselves in Detroit than it would be for them to just go to New York or L.A., because I feel you'd just get swallowed up so easily out there. That's probably why a lot of big people, big names come out of Detroit and Michigan, because it's a good incubator for talent." He cites the music program at Wayne State University, where nearly all of his band members have studied, as part if that dynamic.

Sharkey is frequently on at Detroit's Cliff Bell's and Baker's Keyboard Lounge and has played at Crave Sushi Lounge in Dearborn and the Hamilton Room in Birmingham. Shoppers and ladies who lunch can find him some afternoons at Neiman Marcus. And he's opened for Robin Thicke at the Royal Oak Music Theatre. Lots of variety there, but he'd love for the Fox Theatre to come calling.

Including weddings, six to 10 performances a month is enough to live on, he says, but he likes design work and the stability of a day job. He's funneling his earnings into his first album, "Day Into Night", a compilation of nine original songs and two covers. The album will have some familiars - like "Actually", about a serially spurned lover who's movin' out - along with new originals.

His songwriting is on the spot, as the mood strikes - or maybe best described as on the jot. "I have tons of Moleskines in my desk and on me, or I take notes on my phone of different lyrics that might come to mind - or phrases or haikus," he laughs.

Up to this point he's been completing the arrangement, finalizing songs and laying down tracks. Eric Hoegemeyer, who's worked with the up-and-coming Jessica Hernandez and The Deltas, is producer. The album will be recorded at Rustbelt Studios and is set for an October release.

He's already got a big-city sized cadre of followers online; his YouTube viewings have passed the five-million mark. The vids have an intimate close-in feel; his torso against a backdrop of his own artworks often fills the frame. Three thousand viewers click on Sharkey every day.

"I have Michael Bublé to thank for that," he says by way of explanation. He's posted his take-offs on the doll-beautiful Grammy winner's chipper love vocals (which get You Tube views in the tens of millions apiece), to warm reception. One piece in particular, "Won't You Come Back to Me?", a Sharkey original about the silent treatment, has tabbed over 685,000 hits. Sharkey will say only that the Internet works in mysterious ways. "I'm not exactly sure how that one got so many views."

Other than getting the occasional double take from visitors to RTT's office or while traveling, web hype hasn't impacted him much. He corresponds with fans online, he says, but "there's a little bit of separation between your regular life and your popularity on the internet."

A good chunk of his regular life is spent designing for RTT, a supplier of high-end visualization technology often used in print, online, and TV advertising. He's worked with shoe and apparel brands, but the main focus has been on ads for cars, like the Chevy Volt. The creative is up to him. "You have control over how much glass reflects or the thickness of the glass or how much cushion a leather seat has."

Seeing a Volt ad as a top banner on YouTube was a funny coincidence, "especially since I have my own videos on You Tube as far as the music goes. To be able to go on YouTube and see something that I did for my day job, that was kind of ironic."

It's easier to make a living in visual arts if you're computer savvy, Sharkey says, but he's still loyal to canvas. A new set of oils is due for an exhibition he'll be holding in either Detroit or an Oakland County downtown this fall. Over the last year-and-a-half, he's been brushing on a "Doll Face" series.

"It's kind of a commentary on our view of beauty and the modern world. It touches on plastic surgery and Photo-Shopping and all that kind of stuff." Expect seven bug faces in a large format, with a sub-series based around that.

"I'll probably end up releasing an album and having an exhibition around the same time," he says exultantly.

A fan of Salvador Dalí, Sharkey coins his painting style "pop-surrealism". Could be a pop surreal experience for him and his fans when the album lands too. Look and listen.

Tanya Muzumdar is the assistant editor for Metromode and Concentrate. She is also Concentrate's development news editor and a damn fine freelance writer. Her previous article was "Metro Detroit YPs Get Game". - Metromode

"20 Questions with Ben Sharkey"

Jazz Crooner Ben Sharkey is a Science Nerd

By Rachel Schostak

Ben Sharkey is a local treasure. The classic looking crooner with velvety vocals, romantic standards and jazz renditions has us swooning. Not only does he write, sing and perform, but he is also an accomplished painter and self-proclaimed science nerd. And did we mention handsome?
We recently caught up with Ben, who can be seen performing all over the Detroit area, to learn a little more about what is behind that beautiful voice (and face)!

3 words to describe yourself? Creative, Ambitious, Inspired.

Theme song if your life was a tv show or movie? This is a decision that would take some serious R&D.. but I think a good placeholder would be “Sunny Side of the Street” Sinatra does a great rendition.

The first song you ever performed? I performed a mash up between Harry Connick’s “You didn’t know me when” and Ladae’s “Party 2 nite” at my High School talent show. I dressed up in “nerd” costume and as soon as the jazzy intro turned into an R&B song, I threw in some choreography and took off the glasses and jacket to reveal a more hip hop look. haha.. I was a new student at the school and everybody knew who I was after that.

Who inspires you in the creative or business world? (or in general) I could name off a bunch of well known celebrities who inspire me, but what I think is more important is looking to your peers for inspiration, even if they are not in your own field of business. A lot of my friends, and acquaintances, inspire me every day. I know quite a few people who are making a lot of impact in and around Detroit. It’s always good to surround yourself with people who are motivated because it makes your goals and dreams seem more attainable.

Who or what inspires your style? I pull my inspiration from various different places. Musicians, Movies, Street Style from various travel destinations. Bloggers on Instagram and Pinterest help.

Favorite song that makes you happy when you hear it? Oh.. that’s a tough one. There is so much music out there that makes me happy, I have a playlist on Spotify called “Easy Sunday Morning” that include songs to celebrate my one day off and at the top of the list is “San Francisco Street” by Sun Rai.

Favorite musical? The one that really inspired me was Selma’s Songs which starred Bjork. It was incredibly dark and at times saccharine. The production of the music was facinating. It’s one of my favorite soundtracks.

Favorite movie (of all time)? Great Expectations with Ethan Hawke, Gweneth Paltrow, and Robert De Niro. I feel like I can really relate to Finn.

Currently reading? (book, magazine or online publication?) Currently, a LOT of news.. and we all know who is the hot topic lately.

Best jingle if you’ve ever heard? “Hot Pocket” it’s the most catchy, with the least amount of effort. lol

Favorite spot in Detroit? Why? Detroit Institute of Arts, It is filled with wonder for me. All the different eras of expression of the human condition. It’s endlessly fascinating to me.

Favorite spot for cocktails? (can be anywhere in Michigan) Standby, Wright & Co, Bad Luck Bar.

Cocktail of choice? Don Julio Reposado and Margarita mix with a muddled jalapeno.

Morning OR Night person? (rooster or night owl) Both, I can’t get enough out of the day.

Coffee or Tea? Coffee in the morning, afternoon tea.

Your go to spot for the above? Commonwealth in Birmingham, Atomic in Royal Oak, and Astro Coffee in Corktown.

Favorite food? Anything made with loving hands.

If you had a free ticket to anywhere in the world – where would you go? I would love to go to Rome again, the air is thick with history.

One thing most people don’t know about you (fun fact)? I’m a bit of a science, nerd. Specifically planetary science. Neil deGrasse Tyson is my hero.

Favorite quote or “words to live by”? Carpe Diem – Sieze the day. I have it tattoo’ed on my left arm.

Sigh. He is dreamy. - Neighborhood SEEN Magazine


Try As I Might - EP

Day Into Night - LP

Available on iTunes



Genre: Jazz/Pop/Soul
Origin: Detroit
Official Band Website:
Management contact: Zak Yatim

With performances that have been viewed more than five million times on YouTube alone, Ben Sharkey has been delighting fans worldwide with his romantic style and velvet vocals on old swing and jazz standards that would make old Blue Eyes himself green with envy. His original compositions bear his soul and tug at the listener's heart strings. Ben Sharkey's charm and impassioned music make him a creative tour de force. His intimate interpretations of jazz classics and ability to make them sound fresh and new. His elegant renditions of the music of the american songbook are both powerful and personal. His original music (available on iTunes) is heartfelt and instantly catching!

Band Members