Benny Blanco

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Benny Blanco
Birth name Benjamin Levin
Born (1988-03-08) March 8, 1988 (age 29)
Origin Reston, Virginia, US
Genres
Occupation(s)
Years active 1994–present

Benjamin Levin (born March 8, 1988), known professionally as Benny Blanco, is an American record producer, songwriter, musician and 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, 2017 iHeartRadio Producer of the Year award winner, and two-time Grammy winner.

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 many more. He is also the founder of two labels in collaboration with Interscope Records, Mad Love Records and Friends Keep Secrets.[2]

Life and career[edit]

Career beginnings[edit]

Blanco, a Jewish[3] native of Virginia,[4] 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 with the cassette singles Nas's "The World Is Yours" and All-4-One's "I Swear", which heavily influenced his early productions.[5] 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 countless trips to New York City from his home in Virginia to meet with labels and producers. [5] In 2007, Blanco and rapper Spank Rock teamed up on Bangers & Cash, a collaborative EP that caught the attention of many in the industry, including Dr. Luke, and also sparked connections to future collaborators Amanda Blank and Santigold.

2008–present[edit]

Blanco was mentored for several years by songwriter and producer Dr. Luke, who signed Blanco to his publishing company Prescription Songs.[6] 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.[7]

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;[8] 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."[9]

In the years since, Blanco has amassed 26 total #1 songs and is recognized for his achievements with Ed Sheeran, Justin Bieber, The Weeknd, Selena Gomez, Ariana Grande, Lana Del Rey, Miguel, Halsey, Camila Cabello and many more.

Blanco was named Producer of the Year at the 2017 iHeartRadio Music Awards.[10]

Record labels[edit]

In 2014, Blanco founded two imprint labels under Interscope Records: Mad Love Records and Friends Keep Secrets. Mad Love's releases to date include Tory Lanez, Cashmere Cat, Ryn Weaver, and the band Rixton, with many of these acts having been intially signed to Blanco's development imprint Friends Keep Secrets, which is still home to Jessie Ware and BenZel (Blanco's own artist project with Two Inch Punch).[11][12]

Discography[edit]

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"), Tory Lanez ("Luv") and many more.[13]

Awards and nominations[edit]

BMI Awards[edit]

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

Grammy Awards[edit]

Year Nominee/work Award Result
2011 Teenage Dream (Katy Perry) Album of the Year Nominated
2012 "Moves Like Jagger(Maroon 5) Best Pop Duo/Group Performance Nominated
2013 Payphone(Maroon 5) Best Pop Duo/Group Performance Nominated
Heart Attack(Trey Songz) Best R&B Song Nominated
Overexposed (Maroon 5) Best Pop Vocal Album Nominated
Unorthodox Jukebox (Bruno Mars) Best Pop Vocal Album Won
Unapologetic (Rihanna) Best Urban Contemporary Album Won
2014 x (Ed Sheeran) Best Pop Vocal Album Nominated
x (Ed Sheeran) Album of the Year Nominated
Unorthodox Jukebox Best Pop Vocal Album Won
2017 Purpose (Justin Bieber) Album of the Year Nominated
"Love Yourself" (Justin Bieber) Record of the Year Nominated
Luv(Tory Lanez) Best R&B Song Nominated
Benny Blanco Producer of the Year, Non-Classical Nominated

iHeartRadio Music Awards[edit]

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

Songwriters Hall of Fame[edit]

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

References[edit]

  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. ^ Insanul, Ahmed (Apr 8, 2011). "Interview: Benny Blanco On Producing Wiz Khalifa's "No Sleep"". Complex. Retrieved 23 January 2017. 
  4. ^ McVeigh, Alex (January 26, 2014). "Reston Native Benny Blanco Wins Grammy For Work on Rihanna Album". patch.com. Retrieved May 30, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b Lipschutz, Jason (May 10, 2010). "Virginia native becomes an in-demand producer at 22". Reuters.com. Retrieved July 8, 2017. 
  6. ^ McKinley Jr., James (January 4, 2013). "Only 24, and at Home in the Top 10". New York Times. Retrieved July 8, 2017. 
  7. ^ Barshad, Amos (October 12, 2011). "Benny Blanco’s Six-Step Plan for Becoming Superproducer at 23". Grantland.com. Retrieved July 8, 2017. 
  8. ^ "Hal David Starlight Award". Songhall.org. Retrieved 8 July 2017. 
  9. ^ "Sting, Billy Joel, Smokey Robinson Perform As Legends Inducted Into Songwriters Hall of Fame". Billboard.com. Associated Press. June 14, 2013. 
  10. ^ Thorpe, Isha (March 5, 2017). "Here's The Complete List Of #iHeartAwards Winners". iHeartRadio.com. Retrieved March 6, 2017. 
  11. ^ 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. 
  12. ^ "Tory Lanez Premieres “Say It,” Announces Deal With Benny Blanco". thefader.com. March 5, 2014. Retrieved 26 April 2017. 
  13. ^ "Benny Blanco Credits". AllMusic.com. Retrieved 8 July 2017. 

External links[edit]