Benjamin Francis Leftwich talks touring and being influenced by Cher​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ as he comes to Southsea’s Pie and Vinyl

Benjamin Francis Leftwich. Picture by Pip
Benjamin Francis Leftwich. Picture by Pip
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Singer-songwriter Benjamin Francis Leftwich sees his creativity as a gift so it is apt that his new album is called Gratitude.

‘I think anyone who is creative be it singer, writer or artist you are born with it and it is through privilege or luck that you make it where you want go,’ he says.

‘I think there are probably far more talented people than me in the world but their family couldn’t afford to buy them a guitar when they were 10 so they haven’t had those opportunities.

‘I feel very grateful to have the opportunity to do what I do now to create and play music.”

Growing up in York with his dad and sister Ben’s first taste of music came from his dad playing The Beatles.

‘As far as influences go The Beatles are just pure gold,’ he said.

“I remember learning to play guitar with three chords and playing really simple Beatles songs.

‘I think Nowhere Man is my favourite, but also Eleanor Rigby and Octopus's Garden they are just good songs.’

Other musical influences growing up include Placebo, Smashing Pumpkins, Damien Rice and Bat For Lashes.

‘I have only just discovered Linkin Park though,’ he said. ‘It is amazing to be able to have this entire back catalogue to dip into.’

He adds that he loves a good melody be it a pop or rap song.

‘I remember listening to the top 40 chart on a Sunday and Cher’s Believe came on, I was about six and I just thought “wow”. I love a beautiful melody that grabs your attention.’

His third album Gratitude came out on Friday, the same day his tour started in his hometown of York.

‘I am most proud of this album,’ he said.

‘I think with the first there is a buzz and you are running around trying to do everything and you want people to listen and like it.

‘With my second I was ill so it came from a different place but I am most proud of my third, there is no ambiguity with it I can tell you what each song is about.

‘It is about romance not necessarily in the traditional sense but about compassion and kindness to others and yourself.

‘I just feel grateful to be able to do what I do.”

The tour also comes to Pie and Vinyl in Portsmouth on Monday, March 18 and ends in Worthing on Friday, April 12.

He said: ‘I do get asked if I prefer being in the studio or touring but they are completely different. One is being creative whereas the other is being able to perform to people who care and want to hear your music live.’

Although he isn’t planning his fourth album he is keen to get back in the studio.

‘I just feel really creative at the moment,’ he said.

‘I don’t just want to put out an album for the sake of it, so it could be songs for a single or EP.

‘I just to want to create something beautiful and honest. I have tried to create from a place of anger but it doesn’t work.

‘I want to keep creating until I can’t anymore and then I want to gracefully exit stage left rather than milking it.”

For ticket and album information, visit benjaminfrancisleftwich.com.