The Soda Bar is an up-close and personal music venue in San Diego, known to host many talented artists. Benjamin Francis Leftwich recently stopped by while on tour for his second album, “After the Rain,” before heading back to London. I had the opportunity to talk to him before the show, which I, unfortunately, was not able to attend because of age restrictions. But, Leftwich assured me that he tried his hardest to get me in. What a sweetheart!

Because this was his last show in the states, we talked about him exploring San Diego. Sadly, he had to head straight to the airport after the show. The traveling and long car rides never stop! Although, he did make it clear how humbled and fortunate he felt about being able to tour with this album.

To kick off the interview, we talked about his most recent album, “After the Rain.” Leftwich commented that the songs on this album are very much “straight to the point and clear and objective,” when compared to the music on his first album, “Last Smoke Before the Snowstorm.” Leftwich said, “This is the most honest music I’ve ever written.”

I asked if the theme of this album revolved around new beginnings, or was inspired by the recent passing of his father. Leftwich then explained that everyone has their own interpretation of his music and it’s meaning, which he encourages and appreciates.

“Music has always been a part of my life,” Leftwich said.

Throughout it all, from playing guitar and piano with his family, to forming a band with friends as a teen, to his current journey on the road, he’s made it a priority to keep family close. Leftwich spoke highly of his sister, the person he tries to talk to the most while on the road. “Music, and family, most importantly, bring me the most joy in life. I [owe] everything to that,” he stressed.

I asked Benjamin how he felt when listening to live music or his favorite artists. He told me that he grew up with the Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and Bruce Springsteen. Now, he listens to Chance the Rapper, Drake, and Frank Ocean. He maintained that it’s important to him to let those various and diverse inspirations show in his work. He added, “Sometimes I need them to get out of my own head.”

Leftwich stated that he does not get nervous before playing. He focuses on connecting with the audience. He wants his songs to be felt.

As our conversation wound down, Leftwich gave some last minute advice to anyone pursuing music as a career. He suggested, “[Don’t] be afraid to take risks. You need to be open-minded in the industry because like many have said before me, it’s not always easy.” He also encouraged people to be true to themselves. Great advice.

I personally want to thank Benajamin Francis Leftwich for the interview. Hopefully, there will be another one soon.

Featured image provided by Benjamin Francis Leftwich, 2016.