Ben Rector is bringing sincerity to pop music.
The singer-songwriter’s latest album Brand New, released via Aptly Named Recordings, shows Rector going back to his beginnings, penning 12 sincere and humble songs brimming with a youthful spirit. Filled with lush string arrangements, driving percussion, pounding piano chords and effortless melodies,
Brand New is more than just masterful songwriting. The album is a slice of Rector’s real world – honest ruminations on life and love and the latest step in a journey he began as a teenager playing guitar in his Tulsa home.
Then, every song was a discovery – something magnetic and new – and making music was about the thrill of songwriting; turning those songs into a career was only a dream. Now, one year after his entry into the Top 10 on the Billboard 200 Chart, the 30-year-old has independently achieved over 440,000 albums and 7 million tracks consumed. His four studio albums and 2014’s Live In Denver have repeatedly put him on top of the iTunes charts, leading to sold-out shows and fans who sing along to every word in theaters and amphitheaters across the country. His debut single at radio, title track “Brand New,” reached Top 5 at Hot AC, Top 10 at AC and Top 30 on the pop chart.
In Brand New, Rector pairs his experience of writing songs and touring with the rediscovered energy of his early days.
"Growing up, I'd stay up all night playing music," he remembers. "It was my passion. But the past five years have been an intense season, lots of touring and quick album cycles, and it’s easy to lose touch with the reason I started writing. With this record, I wanted to find that feeling again — to capture songs that jump out of the speakers."
Brand New's 12 songs were written by Rector, with a handful of co-writers lending their help to several tracks. The songs draw heavily from Rector's own experiences and are rooted in powerful pop hooks and an energy reminiscent of a debut album. "I feel crazy taking pictures, hearing a thousand people scream, this is a lot for an Oklahoma kid like me," he admits during "Fear," a song that celebrates both the struggles and triumphs of touring. In "Paris," he recounts a trip abroad, and on the thoughtful "Men That Drive Me Places," he questions his position as a celebrated performer, while the taxi drivers who whisk travelers like him from location to location go unrecognized. And of course, the title track, “Brand New,” describes the elation of re-capturing the energy and innocence of youth.
Recorded in his adopted hometown of Nashville, and partially in Norman, OK, Brand New was produced by Rector and Ed Cash, Cason Cooley, and Chad Copelin. In each setting, Rector explains, "the goal was to capture a performance rather than build a performance.” Rector’s development as a songwriter and musician is clear here; the album displays his deft grasp of the tools of his trade and his strength as a dynamic live performer.
Making this album has energized Rector, an independent musician who has realized success on his own terms. Brand New shines with the charisma of a seasoned artist and the joy of a teenager writing songs for the first time.