Get to know the Coffee Dad Shuffle King!
Ben Rector brought fun during the quarantine season to his listeners with his Coffee Dad Shuffle Challenge. Fans went above and beyond producing creative content for the title of best submission. As a creative and inclusive artist, Ben set the stage to ensure his loyal followers not only had a memorable song, but could participate in the music video. This new dad of twins took a moment to speak with Tonight Mag about his music, life in quarantine and more. Get to know Ben below!
How have you kept busy during quarantine?
“Initially I kind of let myself, for the first time, actually rest. I took my daughter on a walk every morning, listened to music, just kind of let myself slow down a little bit, which is not something I’ve been great at.”
Congratulations on your twin boys, they are precious! How has quarantine enhanced the newborn parenting experience?
Thanks so much! Let me be completely honest, having twins is brutal. I can’t tell if quarantine effects it all that much because for the first couple months of Jane’s life and now with the twins, we really weren’t and aren’t doing much. I do think the biggest difference is that the lack of anything to mark time with or to look forward to (a trip, getting to go out to dinner, a party of some sort) makes the ‘groundhog day’ feeling of parenting newborns a little more intense.
What was it like producing “It Would Be You” in quarantine without the normal recording experience?
“It actually felt really familiar. The end of working on a song for me has always been long distance tweaks, as I’ve ended up working a lot with a handful of guys that don’t live where I live, so the last 10% of most songs on any of my records is me making tweaks via email. The actual workflow on ‘It Would Be You‘ was really similar to the way that John Fields and I have worked together before, just not physically in the same space. It was an interesting mix of something feeling strangely familiar and new at the same time.”
How have you seen your fans connect with your music through the Coffee Dad ShuffleChallenge, especially in a time where you can’t see them live?
“I think something I didn’t anticipate was that fans would kind of all watch the videos together. At the end of the contest, a lot of people communicated that they had really enjoyed having something to look forward to and follow in the midst of an otherwise really bleak time. I thought people would have a good time making the videos, but I didn’t anticipate that it would become a little bit of a communal thing for people to follow together.”
How did you end up choosing a winner amongst the entries since there were so many amazing submissions?
Honestly, it was really tough to pick one! There were so many really great entries and I wish I could have recognized more of them. I thought the one we ended up picking did a great job of using the tools she had and capturing the spirit of the competition. She pushed past her comfort zone, she did a really great job of blending a popular meme with her interpretation of the contest, and also perfectly mimicked nearly all of my album covers.
How have you seen yourself grow as an artist when reflecting on your immense success with past releases such as “Brand New”?
“I think I’ve learned a little more about what motivates me with each record cycle. I think (and hope) I’m learning how to do it more peacefully, as there have been seasons of my career that felt pretty unsustainable. Overall I’m just incredibly thankful to get to do it as a job.”
As a fast growing artist, what is a goal you hope to accomplish, and how do you plan on achieving it?
“As cliche as it sounds, really my main goal is just to continue putting out music that is genuinely good and compelling. I feel like the rest of everything kind of follows that. The landscape of music has changed so much in the last ten or so years, so it’s hard to put my finger on a specific metric that I’m aiming for, but I’d love to put out music that people are excited about and that I’m proud of.”
Anything you would like to add? Words for new dads out there?
“Words for new dads: you’ve got this and kids get more fun as they get older.”