Telling us more about upcoming shows and all the hard work and dedication required to be one of the best around, Cheyenne Benton leads us into her Beautiful Chaos and delivers with one of the most honest interviews we’ve covered so far in 2023. Featuring stress baths, the anarchic nature of the process and how it all started in 2019, this is a brutally eye-opening interview to bookmark forever.
Hi Cheyenne, goodness me we’re so happy to chat with you. How have you been coping with life and how do you usually start your day?
Thanks for having me – I’m grateful to have the opportunity to chat with you! That’s quite an interesting question – how I’ve been coping with life… with bi-weekly therapy sessions, writing new music, and stress baths. My mornings typically begin with being awoken by a boisterous vocal performance from my orange cat, Pony. I suppose lead singer disorder runs in the family.
Please tell us all about the creative process and vision behind your new album Beautiful Chaos.
The creative process was about as anarchic as the album title, if I’m being brutally honest. The ideas for this album came about in early 2019, I knew that I wanted to produce the record myself and I wanted to thematically explore the challenges I was facing at the time – unpacking heartbreak, existentialism, substance abuse, mental illness, self-discovery, and what it means to be a young woman in the western world. The record was tremendously crucial for me in that sense – the entire project itself was self-exploration for me, not only as an artist, producer, writer, and musician – but as a person.
If you listen to this album front to back, it tells the story – the journey from codependence to independence. It’s about everything you lose along the way, and everything you gain when you find the courage to let it go. Sonically, I wanted to explore different micing techniques, different musical influences, different creative ideas – so it really is a melting pot of everything I learned during my time in school for audio engineering, blended with what I was listening to heavily at the time and this new version of myself (both in my artistic life and personal life) I was trying to create.
We love live shows! What do you have cooking for June 1st, June 8th and June 13th for us all to get excited about?
We’re performing the full Beautiful Chaos Live set for the first time! This is a show my band and I have been working hard to perfect, and we are excited to bring these songs to life on stage in a live setting.
We are opening for the band Cub Sport on June 1st at the Casbah (7:30pm), and June 8th at the Del Mar Fairgrounds on the Garden Stage (9pm). Both of these are San Diego shows.
We’ll also be performing as a stripped-back acoustic trio on June 13th at the Hotel Cafe as a part of the Writer’s Block Showcase (8pm) in Los Angeles.
Best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Back when I used to perform in musical theater as a teenager, I remember one of my directors speaking to the cast at the time and sharing this word of advice – it doesn’t matter if it’s before, during, or after you exit that stage – you are always auditioning.
That has stuck with me and served me in so many ways throughout the years. I think a lot of people, especially in the music industry, forget that others are impacted by your words and actions – both in and out of the studio, on and off the stage. You’re constantly being observed and studied, often by people you don’t even know. So say what you mean, treat people with kindness, and just be aware that whatever you say and do in the dark will eventually be brought to light. If you can’t defend your behavior when the spotlight is on you – maybe there’s character work to be done, maybe it’s time to look inward.
I’m currently 42 and can’t imagine what it’s like being a 20-something inside this confusing world with so much potential. What feelings have been most abundant lately would you say?
I really have been enveloped in an all-consuming rage. Sometimes it’s quiet, and sometimes it’s loud. But it’s pervasive and ever-present. There is an abundance of potential, but also an abundance of injustice that I’ve felt on a universal level, but more recently in ways that have impacted me personally – ways that have been intrusive to my sense of self, my womanhood, and my peace. It’s a bit of a pendulum swing between succumbing to absolute nihilism and working on what is in my control – to be the change the world needs right now.
Where are you based and how is the local music scene in your area?
I’m based in San Diego, California. The music scene is dominated pretty heavily by bands with a lot of hard rock influence, which is neat. I don’t always feel as though I fit in as the feminine indie pop, synth pop, alt rock, flowery little gremlin I am, though. However, this past year or so I’ve felt more embraced by the community than I have in previous years – getting to perform at some really cool venues and even earning a San Diego Music Award nomination for Best R&B, Funk or Soul Song. I appreciate the niche following I am building here, and the local industry veterans who are willing to give my music a listen and a platform.
Last, what are the goals for the foreseeable future and where do you see your sound headed in the next few years?
I’m already underway on my next project – which I can only describe as caustic, scathing, and sardonic. I’m looking forward to leaning into more unpleasant feelings I’ve shied away from sharing in my music. I think I have this habit of always trying to look for the good. I think sometimes, it’s okay to admit that a situation was harmful – it doesn’t have to be wrapped up in a positive bow. I’m excited to embrace that, both lyrically and sonically in this next chapter – and eager for you to hear it.
Listen up and educate the soul on Spotify.
Interview by Llewelyn Screen