Benny Sinclair is going for the championship belt in music with a move to America, digitally anyway, and signing with Round 2 Music. The way he knows best how to win? Fight for it.
Sinclair is a Hip Hop musician from Melbourne, Australia with a unique eclectic sound, fusing rap, soul, reggae & Latin. Benny raps, sings & is formerly a professional boxer & boxing trainer.
He has embraced his solo career since the release of ‘The Impeccable Word’ in 2017. Prior to his solo journey Benny was the lead rapper in the Hip Hop group ‘Bouncer’. In 2018 Benny released his 2nd solo album ‘Don’t Take it Personal’ followed by his 3rd solo album in 2019 ‘Assumptions’ featuring the acclaimed single ‘Nothing Comes Easy’.
Benny plans to record a 4th album to complete a musical representation of the four agreements he has adopted and lives by; 1) Be impeccable with your word; 2) Don’t take anything personally; 3) Don’t make assumptions; 4) Always do your best.
Since releasing his debut album Benny has performed at various venues and events in Australia and the Philippines, which have drawn crowds who have come to love and enjoy his music.
‘Nothing Comes Easy’ was met with positive reviews by rapper, Kid Frost and radio DJ, Angel Baby. The LP “Assumptions” followed and peaked at number 21 on the NCAA charts, with various tracks getting played across American and Australian radio stations.
This caught the attention of Round 2 Music C.E.O Charlie Perez, who asked Benny to come out to California & record some new music with producer Jay Shanklin & Dj Bobby B in January 2020. This lead to the signing of Benny to an exclusive 4 year deal with ‘Round 2 Music’.
I caught up with Benny. Recently to get 411 on his career.
Q&A w/Benny Sinclair
RW) Benny, How would you describe yourself as a rap artist and who were some of your music influences as a kid growing up? What music and artists did you listen to the most?
BS) In the past I’ve been described as an eclectic Rap artist, with the ability to rhyme & flow on a variety of different beats. I think my last LP ‘Assumptions’ was a good representation of what I do. Now that I’m signed to ‘Round 2 Music’ based in California, I’m intending to capture a new audience with a sound thats unique, entertaining, up beat & inspirational. When they search a Benny Sinclair track my fans will know what their going to hear! Growing up my greatest influences in music as a very young kid were artists like Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Stevie Wonder, The Beatles, Elvis, Motown and also mainstream Pop & Rock Hits that would get played across the radio & TV shows like MTV or Video Hits. At the age of 10 I heard a rap song come through on Melbourne Radio it was ‘Funky Col Medina’ by Tone Loc. Back then I thought it was the Dopest thing I’d heard on the radio & instantly dreamed of becoming a Rapper. A week later in 1989 I wrote a rhyme for my Dad which he performed on his landline answering machine, this was a couple years before ‘De La Soul’ brought out their hit ‘Ring, Ring, Ring’. I still remember the words & I’ve been writing and rapping ever since! Ive always drawn great inspiration from 80’s & 90’s Hip Hop Westcoast rappers like NWA, Snoop Dogg, Warren G, Dog Pound & 2Pac, Dj Quick & later I started to like East coast rappers too like Wu-tang, NAS, Biggie, Gang Starr, Mob Deep, LL cool J. Also Al Green, Marvin Gaye, Blackstreet, Jodeci, Boys 2 Men. My Greatest inspiration is Bob Marley, as the sense of spirituality in his lyrics & music has always moved me.
RW) Where did you grow up? What was it like growing up for you, do you have a lot of brothers and sisters?
BS) I grew up in the south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne, Australia. My Mum & Dad broke up before I was 2 years old & we moved around a lot in the early years. My mum had immigrated to Australia from Germany with her family when she was young, and I had a close relationship with my grandparents who we lived with often. I learnt a lot about the German culture & can speak the language, my grandparents were quite different as my Oma was originally from East Germany & part Jewish ethnicity, & my Opa was from Bavaria part Italian & middle eastern ethnicity. I didn’t know a great deal about Dad’s heritage until I was about 10 years old some relatives on Dads side showed me a photo of my great grandparents who were African & South Sea Islander/Indigenous decent. I assumed he was just Australian/Scottish ethnicity, before then. Both Mum & Dad remarried & I have 6 siblings, 2 brothers with Mum & 2 brothers, 2 sisters with Dad. My favourite part about living where I’m from is Its central to everything & close to the beaches which I love the most!! If you work hard & make the right choices you can live a great life in Melbourne!
RW) You live Down Under in Australia, but have come here to the states before. Have you ever performed here in the states, and is there much of a difference with the music scene in Australia than here in the States?
BS) I haven’t performed in the States just yet, I will soon & that’s something I’m really looking forward to!! I was in California in January & recorded 4 new tracks at the ‘Round 2 Music’ studios. The States is definitely the Big Stage compared to Australia, there are more opportunities for Rappers given that the States is the home of Hip Hop & Entertainment. There is a definitely a Hip Hop presence & plenty of talented artists here in Melbourne, very few are filtered through to main stream Radio & TV. I’m hoping after finding success in the States, the main stream will appreciate my music & all the hard work behind it, that’s taken me to where I am!!
RW) At what age did you start rapping, and was that something you always wanted to do?
BS) Yes absolutely Rapping & making Hits has always been something I wanted to do and I could never imagine not doing this. I started writing Rhymes from 10 years old, then busting out freestyles to my friends or at parties or events right through High School. I continued on like this until my first time recording in a professional recording studio in my early 20’s.
RW) What was your first professional performing gig, and how did you get the gig?
BS) My first professional Gig was at a club called ‘The Prince of Wales’, in a neighbourhood called St.Kilda in Melbourne. It was a massive event held as a fund raiser for the North Melbourne Football Club, which is an AFL (Australian Football League) team here in Australia. I was training a Rock musician named Tim Rogers in Boxing. Tim liked my music & hooked me up the Gig. The club was packed out well over capacity with at least 2000 people. I was sharing the backstage Green Room with Football Stars, Rock musicians & Comedians who were all frequently on main stream TV & Radio back then. I was the lead rapper in my group & we were the only Hip Hop act on the Bill that night! Given the Demographic of the audience it was a challenging gig, plus the other Rapper in the crew let his Mic chord fall out so I had to quickly jump in & cover his verse. I did get the vibe though that by the end of the set we’d won the Hearts of the Rock crowd!!!
RW) Which artist out there do you like?
BS) I like an appreciate the music of a variety of artists, I draw inspiration from so many it’s hard to say. I love searching new music & adding random tracks to my playlists & leaving my device on shuffle & just seeing what jumps out at me the most. If I was to choose the current predominantly big during past decade type Rappers that move me the most, I’d have to say artists like J.Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Drake, ASAP Rocky, Joey Badass, Pusha-T, The Game & more!
RW) Are you a musician as well, do you do beats?
BS) I’m a musician in the sense that I love & live for my music, combined with the power of my lyrics & flow of my vocal.As well as rapping I also enjoy singing on a Bluesy up tempo vibe. I have co-produced on all my LP’s, just to guide the direction & ensure things are sounding how they should. I did briefly have guitar lessons when I was a kid & I learnt a bit of keyboard in school. I prefer to focus on my vocals which gives me the freedom to express myself through my lyrics & entertain my fans!
RW) Do you find it easier to write with a melody already, or a instrumental track, or is just writing poetry for you?
BS) I started out just writing...& writing...& writing....By the first time I got into a professional recording studio I had several notebooks filled with lyrics. My Producer would give me a beat & I’d try & pick which written lyrics matched the beat or vice versa. My Lyrics would feel like they were sacred to me coz they had been in my book so long & I had rapped them accapella so many times I would be hesitant to make the necessary changes to make the lyrics fit to the beat...I just couldn’t let them go....These days I don’t believe in that! The music & the lyrics are one! Just like when we create a life it takes a seed & an egg to meet at exactly at the right time, if the timing isn’t on point & there is no chemistry, there is no life. On my last trip to California, I met with Jay Shanklin,R.I.P, God Bless & Bobby B in the Round 2 Music studio in Irvine with an idea. Jay would come up with a Fresh new Beat each session as I rapped & wrote down lyrics with Bobby B on the turntables adding scratches & cuts. We poured our hearts & souls into those tracks, we didn’t just make music, we brought music to life!
RW) We are currently in this Covid-19 Pandemic, inwhich most of the entertainment industry has been shut down. How has it affected your work, and what do you think will be different after this crisis is over, or do you think things will change much?
BS) I can’t wait to get over to the States again to work on new music & perform! Having the borders closed & everyone under restrictions has made the situation challenging. I do have a small home studio which I can work from. The past few years I’ve been running some shows & Gigs here in Melbourne & that’s also still shutdown. The crisis has given me time to think & reflect. I’ve been working on a book which I hope to develop into a movie. It’s a Biography based on the journey of my life & what lead me into Rapping & Boxing! After all this is over I’m confident I’ll Rise up, Bigger, Better, Stronger, Wiser & my Peeps that are Real will be there with me!
RW) You are munch more than a rapper, but also a pro boxer. How long have you been boxing and how did you get into that game?
BS) That’s right, I first starting kickboxing when I was 16 & had an exhibition fight not long after. I then went onto amature Boxing & I won my first few fights by KO. By 21 years old I had fought for the state middleweight title 3 times & had won it twice. I then become a nightclub Bouncer for many years, which involved late nights & unavoidable violent situations. I had more time to pursue my Rapping during these years. It helped knowing all the Dj’s in the clubs I was working at coz they would play my music. Most of the boxers my age & at my level went on to have established professional careers. I was the Guy letting them into the clubs or asking them to be part of my next music Video. Then one day it was like I had been struck with lighting & I decided I wanted to fight again as a Pro. The night I made it back into the ring for my Pro Boxing Debut it had been 15 years almost to the day since my last amature fight. This is not normally what happens in the fight game. I have never stopped training from the time I started, just lost the hunger for competition during the journey. I focused on training for fitness and self defence. I also work as a Boxing Coach and now operate a small Boxing Studio and takeaway Coffee store called ‘Bennys Boxing’.
RW) What’s your record as a boxer and what’s your biggest skill as a boxer, your jab, foot speed, allusiveness, all of those?
BS) As a Pro I had 2 fights, 1 WIN & 1 LOSS. You can look it up on Boxrec. The LOSS was my Pro Debut I’d put it down to ring rust & nerves after my 15 year break, the fight seemed surreal. I got my distancing & timing wrong fighting a taller fighter. I tried to compensate by using strength rather than tactics, which meant too much wrestling not enough punching. I also went in a little heavier than my natural fighting weight, which is definitely middleweight. The WIN was via 4th Round TKO, I was middleweight that time & felt a lot better although was still barely shaking off the ring rust, getting pumped for a 3rd fight when my trainer said ‘Retire with a WIN Son, your too old’. Lol. I trusted in my trainer Ray Giles he’s a very wise old man!
RW) I know that you signed a deal with Round 2 Music, the label based in Riverside, California which a long ways from where you live in Australia. How did you get hooked up with the label (I know that the CEO of the label, Charlie Perez, was a one-time pro boxing trainer)...?
BS) I became very good friends with a female World Boxing Champion that Charlie use to manage & she trained down at Charlie’s Gym at Capital Punishment in Riverside. We would talk about our journeys in boxing & she was impressed I was committed to making a come back after so many years. Some trainers say up to 90% of Prize fighting is mental over physical. I decided I would fly over to California, train for my second Pro fight to shake up my training routine & get my mind right. It was the first time I’d ever been to USA. My plan worked as training was amazing. I was heading back to Melbourne a better fighter & I got a small sponsorship deal with ‘Sabas’ equipment. I thanked Charlie for letting me use his facility & we got to know each other. I’ve written a track called ‘Fly Away’ from my LP “Don’t Take It Personal” which was recorded on the day I bought my plane ticket for this trip! Charlie has known I was a Rapper since we first were introduced although I think it was my last LP Assumptions that stood out to him as most of my fans. The LP also did well on the NACC (National American College & Community) charts peaking at #21 spot. Charlie, Angel Baby & Kid Frost started playing my tracks on KCAA radio & one day he called me up & said ‘Benny we gotta get you over here, to record some tracks with my guys we’re liking your sound man!’ I bought myself ticket to California again & I’ll never Look Back!!!
RW) How can our readers find you on social media?
BS) All my social links can be found on my website-
RW) Finally, if you were asked to come and give a talk to a graduating music class of young songwriters and musicians, what would your advice be to them on getting in the game and staying in it?
BS) Set yourself a Plan, Execute the plan the best you can, Never give up no matter what, Keep yourself focussed, Don’t give yourself excuses, Enjoy the process!
**Thank you Benny Sinclair. We look forward to hearing more of your music soon. Continued sucess!**
Other Features on Benny Sinclair
- Benny Sinclair Heats Up L.A. This Winter | Los Angeles, CA Patch
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Electronic Press Kit for Benny Sinclair - (myPPK - Power Press Kit) Benny Sinclair is going for the championship belt in music with a move to America, digitally anyway, and signing with Round 2 Music, the Riverside, California record label. As a prof
Check out Benny Sinclair’s Website
Set yourself a plan; Execute the plan the best you can; Never give up no matter what; Keep yourself focused; Don’t give yourself excuses; and Enjoy the process”
— Benny Sinclair ~ to any youth looking to follow their dreams
Liz Westwood from UK on June 11, 2020:
This is an interesting and well-presented article.