Life may throw all kinds of drama at us. However, BENNETT avoids it and redirects all that energy, bouncing it right back into her music. The 22-year-old Connecticut songstress matches the intensity of everyday emotional ebbs and flows with bold delivery and blunt lyrics befitting of diary entries. Amassing five million streams independently in under a year and receiving acclaim from OnesToWatch, Elevator, Lyrical Lemonade and more, she skirts the borders between R&B, soul and pop.
At the same time, she asserts herself as an unfiltered and undeniable voice on a string of singles—as well as her forthcoming 2020 debut EP.
“Everything in my life happens to be super dramatic,” she laughs. “When it comes time to write, I look back at all of the things going on. Usually, I’m talking about relationships and all these real situations where guys are being toxic or doing fucked-up shit. It might be tough to deal with, but it makes the writing easier.”
Growing up in the sleepy Connecticut suburb of Cromwell, music called to her at a young age. Her single mother worked long hours, but managed to play everything from Pink Floyd to Mötley Crüe around the house, inspiring a love for music in the kids. Her older brother played trumpet, so BENNETT followed suit in middle school and eventually joined jazz band and pep band. She witnessed Wynton Marsalis live as her first concert and went on to dive headfirst into the music of The Weeknd, Amy Winehouse, Stevie Wonder, Nirvana, and more. Filtering emotions into early compositions, she soon began writing and recording songs at a local studio.
After high school, she auditioned for the University of Connecticut music program only to face rejection. She put her head down and kept trying, nevertheless. In 2018, she launched her Soundcloud with a cover of Jorja Smith’s “I Am” before uploading the original debut single “Never Yours.” Without any promotion, the latter took off organically on Spotify, racking up 1.3 million streams and counting. Dropping out of college, she unveiled “Groupie” and “Gone. Shortly after, she quit her day job and locked herself in the studio to record her debut EP,Things I Never Said (2020).
To this day, BENNETT has only written a couple love songs. Her new music tends to more so examine the ups and downs of a doomed romance with plainspoken lyricism and vocal fireworks.
“I wanted to tell a whole story about the stages of a bad relationship,” she elaborates. “I discuss growing up without a father, all of my issues, and why I am the way I am. All of the songs connect.”
The single “Give Me A Reason” highlights the scope of her voice and power of her lyrics. A soft buzz entwines with minimal drums and jazz-y bass as she casually warns, “You don’t want to mess with me. I do things you won’t believe. If you try me, you will see.” As her vocals bleed into the beat, she leaps into a striking and soulful refrain.
“I like to be as direct as possible,” she exclaims. “I want the guy listening to know it’s about him. I’m basically telling this dude to fuck up and give me a reason to do something. I was thinking of Jazmine Sullivan’s ‘Bust Your Windows’.”
In the end, BENNETT turns real moments into equally real music—with a message.
“I want people to learn from my mistakes,” she leaves off. “I hope listeners relate. I learned that you can experience heartbreak and shit is still going to be okay at the end of the day. Maybe, they’ll feel the same way.”