Hecho Derecho
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Hecho Derecho


Band Pop Singer/Songwriter


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The best kept secret in music


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Sink or Swim (Single) - released 11/27/2012
Oceans I Could Drown (EP) - released 2/26/2013
Down The Line (Single) - scheduled 9/17/2013
Heat from the Day (EP) - scheduled 10/8/2013


Feeling a bit camera shy


“I grew up in the car,” Ben Kreader explains, foreshadowing a fascination with the rhythm of the road that underscores his songwriting. “Our family always drove to visit relatives, and I made up my own entertainment.” On these drives, songwriting emerged as his diversion. “Our car didn’t have air conditioning so I would lean forward into the open window and make up songs as we went, singing them into the wind.”

Raised in Evanston, Illinois by his social worker father and piano teacher mother, Ben learned music from an early age. “My sister and I would hide in the back of the apartment while Mom taught students in the front half – we heard more halting versions of Scott Joplin’s ‘The Entertainer’ than I care to remember. ” Although he absorbed music theory and found his way around the piano when students weren’t there, he ended up with only basic keyboard skills. “It’s hard to learn something structured like that from a parent who’s listening to every practice session from the kitchen.” He rebelled by choosing church choir in elementary school and later trumpet in junior high and high school.

But keyboards – specifically sequenced synthesizers – came back into his life later. “I wrote my first proper songs in high school using a Yamaha DX9 and a 4-track sequencer that ran on a Commodore 64 hooked up to the TV.” Influenced by the electronic sounds of Yazoo, Depeche Mode, and Peter Gabriel as well as heartbreak and storytelling of the country music he’d listened to as a kid, Ben found an outlet for his emotions during a bleak high school career. “I survived like all of us did, but I was very isolated and just walked around school humming to myself.” Senior year he finally realized he was gay, clarifying years of conflicting and confusing feelings. “When I admitted to my friend in art class that I was following around this one boy because I liked him, everything finally made sense.”

It would be another year before he came out in college, however, and another two years before his songwriting started to reflect his own perspectives. “I wrote a lot of my early songs about other people, projecting my emotions onto characters and stories that weren’t mine.” A class covering the blues poems of Langston Hughes and a breakup with a close friend in college pushed his songwriting into more personal territory. “When she moved out, I stopped to listen to my songs and realized that everything was about somebody else. That’s when I wrote ‘Miss You’ about a guy I had a crush on who had rejected me. It was liberating to just write what I felt and sing it as me. The blues taught me the power of the personal.”

Moving from Chicago to Los Angeles after college gave him insight into the music industry when he landed a job in music licensing at a film studio. “I watched re-runs of ‘The Gong Show’ all day to identify and clear the random songs the crazy contestants would sing.” But through those game shows, Ben learned valuable lessons about what the music industry was – and what it was not. “This was before digital music online, and I struggled to see how my idiosyncratic pop songs could find their way to listeners.” Pressed to pay the bills, Ben changed course into a career in IT. “When I learned that many of the first IBM programmers were recruited from Juilliard, I understood why – music is an abstract language just like computer code. It made sense to me.”

For a time, music lost out to work. After a few years recording material as duo Bellwire with his sister Ellie singing vocals and Ben playing keyboards, Ben stopped writing and performing entirely when Bellwire disbanded. But he gradually realized he needed to get his bluesy voice in front of the microphone again. “Singing is the primary way I write and the main way I connect with my songs.” Revisiting his catalog of 100’s of tunes from the preceding 20 years, Ben curated a group of 18 that stood out as the best of the best. “These were songs I couldn’t abandon – they were too good to archive forever.” He started recording new synths and vocals at home and gradually had enough to finalize and mix.

The project gathered critical mass when Ben teamed up with co-producer and mixer Bryan Cook. “We hit it off right away – he intrinsically gets the rhythms and tone of the songs.” Bryan introduced Ben to a group of talented musicians including drummer Aaron Sterling, keyboardist Peter Adams, guitarist Meg Toohey, bassist Jonathan Ahrens, and “string machine” Stevie Blacke. The finished project – named Hecho Derecho for the Spanish phrase “made straight” and for the powerful derecho wind storms – kicked off with first EP “Oceans I Could Drown” released in late 2012. “I’m incredibly proud of how they turned out – hearing these finished recordings develop from the demos is like seeing the wooden boy made real.” Digital distribution has evolved and Hecho Derecho is now selling direct to fans through every channel imaginable. Second EP “Heat from the Day” debu