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Benjamin Joseph Levin (born March 8, 1988), known professionally as Benny Blanco (stylized as benny blanco), is an American record producer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist. He is the recipient of the 2013 Hal David Starlight Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame.[1] He is also a five-time BMI Songwriter of the Year award winner and 2017 iHeartRadio Producer of the Year award winner.

Benny Blanco
R1-05605-0011.jpg
Levin in 2018
Background information
Birth nameBenjamin Joseph Levin
Born (1988-03-08) March 8, 1988 (age 30)
OriginReston, Virginia, U.S.
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Record producer
  • songwriter
  • record executive
  • keyboardist
  • remixer
  • entrepreneur
  • DJ
Years active2007–present
Labels
Associated acts

As a producer and songwriter, Blanco is responsible for more than 100 million album sales worldwide due to his work with artists including Ed Sheeran, Justin Bieber, Maroon 5, Rihanna, Katy Perry, Kesha, Sia, The Weeknd, Selena Gomez, Wiz Khalifa, and Kanye West. He is also the founder of two labels in collaboration with Interscope Records, Mad Love Records and Friends Keep Secrets.[2]

In July 2018, Blanco released the song "Eastside" under his own name, a collaboration with Halsey and Khalid,[3] followed by "I Found You" with Calvin Harris, "Better to Lie" with Jesse and Swae Lee, "Roses" with Juice WRLD and Brendon Urie, and culminated in the release of his first album later in the same year.[4]

Contents

Life and careerEdit

Career beginningsEdit

Blanco, a Jewish[5] native of Virginia,[6] began by producing hip-hop instrumentals in his bedroom and recording his own vocals on top of them. His first serious exposure to music came in 1994 when he was 5 years old with Nas' "The World Is Yours" and All-4-One's "I Swear" on cassette tapes, which heavily influenced his early productions.[7][7][8] After early experiments with beat making and recording himself on his boombox, Blanco's rapping earned the attention of The Source and executives at Columbia Records.

Blanco eventually secured an apprenticeship with producer Disco D after multiple trips to New York City from his home in Virginia to meet with labels and producers.[8]

2008–presentEdit

 
Levin in 2018

Blanco was mentored for several years by songwriter and producer Dr. Luke, who signed Blanco to his publishing company Prescription Songs.[9] While under Dr. Luke's tutelage, Blanco co-produced and co-wrote many songs, including hits such as Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream", Kesha's "TiK ToK", and Taio Cruz's "Dynamite".

In 2011 Blanco wrote and produced his first charting hits without Dr. Luke, among them Maroon 5's "Moves Like Jagger", Gym Class Heroes' "Stereo Hearts" and 3OH!3's "Don't Trust Me". The same year, Blanco went on to work on Maroon 5’s Platinum-selling album Overexposed and its lead single "Payphone" featuring Wiz Khalifa.[10]

On June 13, 2013, Blanco was presented with the Hal David Starlight Award at the 44th Annual Songwriters Hall of Fame ceremony, an honor awarded to young artists who have already made an impression on the music industry.[11] In his acceptance speech, he joked, "They picked the wrong person, I'm in a room with people I should probably be serving food to."[12]

In the years since, Blanco has amassed 26 total number-one songs and is recognized for his achievements with artists including Ed Sheeran, Justin Bieber, The Weeknd, Selena Gomez, Ariana Grande, Lana Del Rey, Miguel, Halsey, and Camila Cabello.

Blanco was named Producer of the Year at the 2017 iHeartRadio Music Awards.[13]

Record labelsEdit

In 2014, Blanco founded two imprint labels under Interscope Records, Mad Love Records and Friends Keep Secrets. Mad Love's releases to date include the following artists, with many of them having been initially signed to Blanco's development imprint Friends Keep Secrets:[14][15]

Artist projectsEdit

In 2007, Blanco teamed up with Baltimore rapper Spank Rock to release Spank Rock and Benny Blanco Are...Bangers & Cash, a collaborative EP for both artists based on 2 Live Crew samples that caught the attention of many in the industry and sparked connections to future collaborators Amanda Blank and Santigold. The EP received acclaim from the likes of Rolling Stone, Pitchfork and more.

In July 2018, Blanco released his debut song as a standalone solo artist, "Eastside" featuring Halsey and Khalid, on his own label Friends Keep Secrets in partnership with Interscope Records.[22] Later in 2018, he released his second, third, and fourth singles, "I Found You" with Calvin Harris, "Better to Lie" with Jesse and Swae Lee, "Roses" with Juice Wrld and Brendon Urie.[23] His debut album Friends Keep Secrets was released on December 7, 2018.[24]

DiscographyEdit

AlbumsEdit

Title Details Peak chart positions
AUS
[25]
Friends Keep Secrets 61

SinglesEdit

List of singles as lead artist, with selected chart positions, showing year released and album name
Title Year Peak chart positions Certifications Album
US
[26]
AUS
[27]
CAN
[28]
DEN
[29]
GER
[30]
IRE
[31]
NOR
[32]
NZ
[33]
SWE
[34]
UK
[35]
"Eastside"
(with Khalid and Halsey)
2018 17 2 6 2 15 1 3 1 7 1 Friends Keep Secrets
"I Found You"
(with Calvin Harris)
54 95 27
[44]
[A] 29
"Better to Lie"
(with Swae Lee and Jesse Rutherford)
88
[46]
[B] [C]
"Roses"
(with Juice Wrld featuring Brendon Urie)
[D]
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Notes

  1. ^ "I Found You" did not enter the NZ Top 40 Singles Chart, but peaked at number three on the NZ Hot Singles Chart.[45]
  2. ^ "Better to Lie" did not enter the NZ Top 40 Singles Chart, but peaked at number 15 on the NZ Hot Singles Chart.[47]
  3. ^ "Better to Lie" did not enter the Swedish Singellista Chart, but peaked at number 19 on the Swedish Heatseeker Chart.[48]
  4. ^ "Roses" did not enter the NZ Top 40 Singles Chart, but peaked at number 10 on the NZ Hot Singles Chart.[49]

Songwriting and production discographyEdit

Blanco has written and produced songs for artists including Ed Sheeran ("Don't" and "Castle on the Hill"), Justin Bieber ("Love Yourself"), Major Lazer ("Cold Water"), Maroon 5 ("Moves Like Jagger", "Don't Wanna Know", "Payphone", "Maps", "Animals"), Katy Perry ("Teenage Dream", "California Gurls"), Rihanna ("Diamonds"), Kesha ("TiK ToK"), Taio Cruz ("Dynamite"), Wiz Khalifa ("Work Hard, Play Hard"), Gym Class Heroes ("Stereo Hearts"), and Tory Lanez ("Luv").[50]

Awards and nominationsEdit

BMI AwardsEdit

Year Nominee/work Award Result
2011 Benny Blanco Songwriter of the Year Won
2012 Benny Blanco Songwriter of the Year Won
"Moves Like Jagger(Maroon 5) Most Performed Pop Song Won
2013 Benny Blanco Urban Songwriter of the Year Won
2014 Benny Blanco Songwriter of the Year Won

Golden Globe AwardsEdit

Year Nominee/work Award Result
2016 "Faith" (Stevie Wonder ft. Ariana Grande) Best Original Song Nominated

Grammy AwardsEdit

Year Nominee/work Award Result Ref.
2011 Teenage Dream Album of the Year Nominated [51]
2013 "Heart Attack" Best R&B Song Nominated
2015 x Album of the Year Nominated
2017 Purpose Nominated
"Love Yourself" Song of the Year Nominated
"Luv" Best R&B Song Nominated
Self Producer of the Year, Non-Classical Nominated
2018 "Issues" Song of the Year Nominated

iHeartRadio Music AwardsEdit

Year Nominee/work Award Result
2017 "Love Yourself" (Justin Bieber) Best Lyrics Won
Benny Blanco Producer of the Year Won
2018 Benny Blanco Producer of the Year Nominated

Ivor Novello AwardsEdit

Year Nominee/work Award Result
2018 Castle on the Hill(Ed Sheeran) PRS for Most Performed Work[52] Nominated

Songwriters Hall of FameEdit

Year Nominee/work Award Result
2013 Benny Blanco Hal David Starlight Award Won

Spotify Secret Genius AwardsEdit

Year Nominee/work Award Result
2018 Benny Blanco Secret Genius: Pop Won

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Hal David Starlight Award Winner: Benny Blanco". Songhall.org. Retrieved 8 July 2017.
  2. ^ "Universal Music Group Artists, Distributed Labels Draw Numerous Grammy Nominations..." UniversalMusic.com. Retrieved 8 July 2017.
  3. ^ "Producer Benny Blanco Teases New Track Featuring Halsey & Khalid". Billboard.com. Retrieved 11 July 2018.
  4. ^ "Calvin Harris Sings and Benny Blanco Gets Help From Friends in 'I Found You': Watch". Billboard. Retrieved 2018-11-09.
  5. ^ Insanul, Ahmed (Apr 8, 2011). "Interview: Benny Blanco On Producing Wiz KksodjxnsmBo Sleep". Complex. Retrieved 23 January 2017.
  6. ^ McVeigh, Alex (January 26, 2014). "Reston Native Benny Blanco Wins Grammy For Work on Rihanna Album". patch.com. Retrieved May 30, 2015.
  7. ^ a b "Benny Blanco Talks Being Inspired By Nas, Working With Wiz Khalifa and Advice to Producers". Vibe. 2012-07-23. Retrieved 2018-10-02.
  8. ^ a b Lipschutz, Jason (May 10, 2010). "Virginia native becomes an in-demand producer at 22". Reuters.com. Retrieved July 8, 2017.
  9. ^ McKinley Jr., James (January 4, 2013). "Only 24, and at Home in the Top 10". New York Times. Retrieved July 8, 2017.
  10. ^ Barshad, Amos (October 12, 2011). "Benny Blanco's Six-Step Plan for Becoming Superproducer at 23". Grantland.com. Retrieved July 8, 2017.
  11. ^ "Hal David Starlight Award". Songhall.org. Retrieved 8 July 2017.
  12. ^ "Sting, Billy Joel, Smokey Robinson Perform As Legends Inducted Into Songwriters Hall of Fame". Billboard.com. Associated Press. June 14, 2013.
  13. ^ Thorpe, Isha (March 5, 2017). "Here's The Complete List Of #iHeartAwards Winners". iHeartRadio.com. Retrieved March 6, 2017.
  14. ^ School Boy/Giant Little Man/Mad Love/Interscope Records. "School Boy/Giant Little Man/Mad Love/Interscope Records Sign U.K. Newcomers Rixton". prnewswire.com. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  15. ^ "Tory Lanez Premieres "Say It," Announces Deal With Benny Blanco". thefader.com. March 5, 2014. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  16. ^ "Tory Lanez Premieres "Say It," Announces Deal With Benny Blanco". The FADER. Retrieved 2018-09-28.
  17. ^ "Awkward romance: Cashmere Cat pulls back the curtain on working with LuckyMe and Ludacris - FACT Magazine: Music News, New Music". FACT Magazine: Music News, New Music. 2014-02-03. Retrieved 2018-09-28.
  18. ^ "Benny Blanco Extends Deal With Interscope Geffen A&M". Billboard. Retrieved 2018-09-28.
  19. ^ "6 dogs is the new hook god". The FADER. Retrieved 2018-09-28.
  20. ^ "Ryn Weaver's 'The Fool' Is Deeply Personal Indie Pop". Retrieved 2018-09-28.
  21. ^ "Jessie Ware and producer Benny Blanco discuss the making of her new album 'Tough Love' in new video (watch)". BrooklynVegan. Retrieved 2018-09-28.
  22. ^ "Hear Benny Blanco, Halsey, Khalid Team for Bittersweet 'Eastside'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  23. ^ "Calvin Harris Sings and Benny Blanco Gets Help From Friends in 'I Found You': Watch". Billboard. Retrieved 2018-11-18.
  24. ^ "How Benny Blanco Became the Most Popular Oddball in Pop Music". The New York Times. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  25. ^ "ARIA Chart Watch #503". auspOp. December 15, 2018. Retrieved December 15, 2018.
  26. ^ "Benny Blanco – Chart History: Billboard Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
  27. ^ Peaks in Australia:
  28. ^ "Benny Blanco – Chart History: Canadian Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
  29. ^ "Benny Blanco – Chart History: Denmark Chart History". danishcharts.dk. Retrieved October 17, 2018.
  30. ^ "Discographie von Benny Blanco" (in German). Offizielle Deutsche Charts. Retrieved October 19, 2018.
  31. ^ "Benny Blanco scores his first Irish Number 1 with Eastside: "That's insane!"". OfficialCharts.com. Retrieved August 31, 2018.
  32. ^ "Benny Blanco – Chart History: Norway Chart History". norwegiancharts.com. Retrieved October 17, 2018.
  33. ^ "Benny Blanco – Chart History: New Zealand Chart History". Retrieved July 24, 2018.
  34. ^ "Benny Blanco – Chart History: Sweden Chart History". Retrieved July 24, 2018.
  35. ^ "UK Chart History: Benny Blanco". Official Charts Company. Retrieved November 10, 2018.
  36. ^ "American single certifications – Benny Blanco – Eastside". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved November 8, 2018. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 
  37. ^ "ARIA Australian Top 50 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. November 19, 2018. Retrieved November 17, 2018.
  38. ^ "British certifications – Benny Blanco". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved November 2, 2018. Type Benny Blanco in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  39. ^ "Certificeringer | IFPI". IFPI Denmark. November 20, 2018. Retrieved November 27, 2018.
  40. ^ "IFPI" (To access, enter the search parameter "Benny Blanco" and select "SØK"). International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. Retrieved October 17, 2018.
  41. ^ "Sverigetopplistan - Sveriges Officiella Topplista" (To access, enter the search parameter "Benny Blanco" and select "Search by Keyword"). Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved October 19, 2018.
  42. ^ "Canadian certifications – Benny Blanco". Music Canada. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  43. ^ "New Zealand single certifications – Benny Blanco, Halsey and Khalid – Eastside". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved October 17, 2018.
  44. ^ "IRMA – Irish Charts". Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved December 1, 2018.
  45. ^ "NZ Hot Singles Chart". Recorded Music NZ. November 12, 2018. Retrieved November 9, 2018.
  46. ^ "IRMA – Irish Charts". Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved December 8, 2018.
  47. ^ "NZ Hot Singles Chart". Recorded Music NZ. December 10, 2018. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  48. ^ "Veckolista Heatseeker – Vecka 49, 7 december 2018". Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved December 8, 2018.
  49. ^ "NZ Hot Singles Chart". Recorded Music NZ. December 17, 2018. Retrieved December 14, 2018.
  50. ^ "Benny Blanco Credits". AllMusic.com. Retrieved 8 July 2017.
  51. ^ "Benny Blanco | Artist". Grammy.com. Recording Academy. Retrieved July 14, 2018.
  52. ^ "Ivor Novellos 2018: Ed Sheeran goes up against himself". BBC.com. Retrieved 24 April 2018.