Phil Bensen
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Phil Bensen

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Asbury Music Awards "Top Male Solo Performer" Nominee - Asbury Music

"White Boy With Soul"

The crowd always got a little quieter and paid more attention to the stage every time they heard Phil Bensen’s voice project from the Stone Pony stage. Mixing originals with classics from Marvin Gaye and the Tempations, Bensen created quite a stir with a booming, Motown-influenced voice. It was something the Jersey Shore hadn’t heard in a while. “People have come up to me and said, ‘I can’t believe you pulled it off,’” said Phil Bensen. “You’re the first whie boy I’ve seen pull that off.” Bensen recently released his first CD entitled “Airbrushed Memories” and will be setting up shows throughout the area. He hopes to get shows in New Jersey, New York City, Philly and in his old college town of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. When people see him live they are bound to remember that voice. It’s got the timeless quality that the best Motown songs have; hearing it just seems to take you back to memories long since forgotten. Bensen recognizes that his voice will be what takes him places, but wants to make sure he’s viewed as a complete songwriter as well. “I’m trying to get into the zone now where I’m making the songs that I write fit my voice, so I can showcase my voice,” explained Bensen. “Lyrically, when people hear you live they don’t really listen to the lyrics very much. It's more of the melody and the voice that they hear. When they have the CD in their car, they'll listen to the lyrics. When I write, I definitely don’t compromise lyrics. I’ve always wanted to write the best songs possible.” Bensen hasn’t been playing that long. The 23 year-old singer-songwriter only really started playing live while attending college. Music, it seems, was simply in his genes. His grandfather was a child star in Norway who used to sing for the King. Bensen’s father was a musician as well. “Everyone on my father’s side has powerful voices,” said Bensen. “I really got into writing songs when I heard John Mayer play. I was like, ‘Where is he getting these sounds on an acoustic guitar?’ And I just tried to learn as many chords as possible. Vocally, I’ve always loved Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder, and newer guys like Gavin DeGraw and Jason Mraz. I just want to always get that smooth but powerful... and believability when I sing.” Bensen grew up in Hazlet, New Jersey wanting to be a soccer player. That was his passion throughout his childhood. Music took over when he saw the emergence of the singer-songwriter scene. “I saw them and thought that could be me singing and playing guitar on stage.” You can catch Phil Bensen live at the Bitter End on June 5th and at the Indigo Coffeehouse on June 11th. Vist for more info. --- Gary Wien-- Upstage Magazine - Upstage Magazine

"Phil Bensen at Harry's Roadhouse"

Hazlet’s own Phil Bensen rocked the house – specifically, the recently re-opened Harry’s Roadhouse in Asbury Park- on April 1, 2004 with his first-ever CD release party. His first CD, “Airbrushed Memories”, co-produced by John Mulrenan, features 9 passionate tunes about dreaming, love lost, and life regained. But the sogns themselves are definitely not your typical 4-chord love songs. The songs have appealing chord changes, melodies, and lyrics not always characteristic of Bensen’s generation.
With a voice reminiscent of Marvin Gaye and Philip Bailey and a jazzy John Mayer-like guitar style, Bensen played a 12-song set that included most of his CD’s tunes and some great covers.
The large crowd at Harry’s included Bensen’s friends and family members, but also many future fans, which puts a big smile on the face of any up–and-coming singer/songwriter. He started off the set with “Holdin On”, a great song, not on his cd, but still got the crowd’s attention.
Next up was a top-notch version of Etta James’ “At Last”. It’s worth mentioning that you don’t often hear a 23 year old male like Phil Bensen covering such a great classic, made most famous by an R&B female legend. A pleasant surprise, indeed!
With Bensen’s next original, “Subway Girl”-a song that Bensen described as a song about a girl “way too unapproachable”- Bensen became evidently more comfortable on stage. While he and the crowd repeated his catchy lines, “damn that girl was fine” and “la da da da”, this is where one saw him swaying right to left in front of the microphone (a move he should probably patent) a lot more.
After a cover of John Mayer’s “Daughters” and his original “Pick Me Up”- which includes the clever line, “Is it the angel in her eyes or the devil in her smile?”- he did an almost-perfect Marvin Gaye medley of “Sexual Healing” and “Let’s Get it On”, with a smudge of “What’s Goin On”. Bensen’s Marvin Gaye takes have been largely requested.
For the next song, “August”, Bensen invited his friend Jesse Taylor on stage to play guitar. This is the catchiest, best tune on Airbrushed Memories and also gave Bensen his best, most heartfelt, performance of the evening. It includes the memorable chorus, “She can be my sunshine and I can be myself…August, how’d you know know me so well”.
After the original soft tune, “That Look in Your Eyes” and a cover of the Beatles’, “Don’t Let Me Down”, a song he dedicated to the “slightly old-timers”, he did a sincere rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” which would probably make Jeff Buckley take notice if he were alive today.
With his original “Yesterday’s Daydreams” as his closer and his “One More Chance” as his encore-all in all, it was a well-attended night. The only complaint heard was that it was too short of a set. But the crowd shouldn’t fear because you will be hearing a lot more of Phil Bensen in the future. He’s a true talent with a superb sense of melody.



Asbury Music Awards "Top Male Solo Performer" Nominee - Asbury Music


LP "Not Good Enough


Feeling a bit camera shy


Original, thoughtful, humble, truly talented, smiling, and amazing vocally. THIS IS PHIL BENSEN.
singer songwriter Phil Bensen calls Hazlet home, but is ready to take the country by storm with his heart pounding melodies, crisp clean chord changes and, most of all, a kick ass voice. Picking up a guitar at the age of 17, Phil has come light years. With influences from legends such as Stevie Wonder, Etta James, and Paul McCartney, Phil took his modern influences of John Mayer and Jamie Cullum, meshed it all together, and came up with his version of acoustic modern rock. Constantly taking in other styles and ideas, Phil adapts and develops as a writer. Always looking for new ways to explore chord structure or melody, Phil’s sound is unique and ever changing. Upstage Magazine dubbed Phil a, “White boy with soul.” Covering Motown influenced songs from artists like Marvin Gaye, and the Temptations, Phil uses his vocal range to cover songs like “lets get it on” and “Hallelujah.” After hearing these unique covers New Jersey Coast quoted, “he did a sincere rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” which would probably make Jeff Buckley take notice if he were alive today. {Phil} is a true talent with a superb sense of melody".
At age 23 Phil has taken his raw guitar along with his sweet vocal range and produced Airbrush Memories. 9 tracks of dreaming, lost love, unapproachable beauty, portrayed like no other artist in his age realm.