Bens Brother

Biography

It doesn't take a psychologist to tell you that birth order can have a profound affect on a person's life. One look at the Gallagher Brothers shows in technicolour the impact being the first or second born can have. Such is the case with Jamie Hartman, frontman and founder of Ben's Brother, a five piece from London about to launch their engaging songs of life and love on the British public.

Jamie grew up, as second children often do, in the shadow of his elder brother, Ben. 'I always felt like the beta male in our home,' the Londoner says. 'The alpha role definitely went to Ben.'

While Jamie displayed a precocious musical talent, and started writing songs on the piano as a teenager, it was Ben's brilliance as a sportsman that made the early headlines in the Hartman household. 'I soon realised that I was trying to capture in my music the feeling says Jamie. 'A lot of my songs are about stoicism in the face of insecurity.' His first experience of unrequited love at 16 - 'I told this girl I loved her and she just said 'oh' and walked off'- helped to fuel his musical persona as the bard of sturdy also-rans.

When he taught cricket for the summer in South Africa in 1997, Ben Hartman took a CD of his kid brother's tunes with him. He gave copies to various friends he met along the way who knew nothing about the boy with the sweetly serrated voice and the heart-meltingly soulful melodies - beyond the fact that he was Ben's brother. As more copies of copies spread further, the name stuck. When Jamie ended up staying with one of Ben's South African buddies in the States in 2000, he saw it written on the sleeve of a CD-R and realised that the band he had always dreamed of playing with had already got a name.

After years of scuffling and busking on Portobello Road - 'I found I could make £70 in an hour and a half' - Jamie's songs began to turn up on other people's albums. It was when a song he had penned first hit the charts that he decided this beta male supporting role palaver had gone far enough. In 2006 he formed a band of his own. With Kiris Houston (keyboards/guitar), Dan McKinna (bass) Stuart Anning (drums) and Morgan Quaintance (guitar) completing the line-up, the music Ben's Brother play soundtracked their adolescence.

'I couldn't stand the music that was around me at that time,'Jamie says, 'It always seemed so glossy and pointless.'

After copping an old Rolling Stones album from his brother's collection, Jamie felt moved to explore the pop and rock archive. The young Rod Stewart caught his ear: 'I have no issue with Rod. He's got a great voice and he's still got all his hair.' But the vocalist he particularly gravitated to was Rod's main inspiration, one of the founding fathers of soul, the late Sam Cooke. Jamie first heard Wonderful World on a Levi's TV ad in 1996. Nobody can make the hair on your neck stand up the way Sam could.'

Well maybe, but that guy who fronts the band Ben's Brother runs him pretty damn close. Jamie Hartman's astounding voice can break your heart in one line and send it soaring in the next. Located somewhere in the middle of a spectrum of emotional conjurers that runs from Sam Cooke to (classic 70s) Elton John to Thom Yorke, Hartman already possesses a style and a timbre that are entirely his own.

Ben's Brother's songs are a pure revelation. Most of those on the album 'Beta Male Fairytales' sound like immortal classics that have been hanging around forever just waiting for somebody to turn up and sing them. The miracle is that they have all been written by Jamie Hartman. Ranging from the old school soul of the single Beauty Queen to the gloriously vulnerable ballad I Am Who I Am, the lessons in love of 'Find Me An Angel' and the emotional brace that is 'Carry On', to the heartfelt rally-cry of his first commercial single release 'Rise', they articulate a kind of tenderness that is often sad but never self-pitying. Songs of experience, songs with which everyone can relate to at some point in their life, beautifully articulated and set to soaring music, an aural lifting of the spirits. 'Most of my songs start out feeling blue but become more hopeful by the end,' says Hartman.

And everyone's a winner in this story. For Ben, a glittering cricket career gave way to an even more glittering advertising career, the brainchild behind the Virgin Train ad with the Apache Indians. But now Jamie is proving more than a match for his elder brother..

Less than a year after Jamie formed Ben's Brother, he has stepped out of the shadow for good when the record label which gave us multi-platinum selling artists Joss Stone and KT Tunstall heard his songs and couldn't get them out of their heads, giving hope to beta-males everywhere. 'Writing songs is my way of dealing with the painful complexities of life. I've realized there's a common theme which seems to unite all the best songs. The one thing we think separates us from everyone else - that sense of not fitting in, of Beta-male (or female) ness - is the one thing we all have in common.'

Read More

Ben's Brother - Stuttering (Kiss Me Again)

26th January 2012 -

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Ben's Brother - Carry On

26th January 2012 -

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Ben's Brother - Rise

26th January 2012 -

 Video

Ben's Brother - Let Me Out

26th January 2012 -

 Video

Bens Brother - Battling Giants

26th May 2009 -

 Review

Review of Ben's Brother's album Battling Giants released through Island. Jamie Hartman has written songs for the likes of Will Young, Natalie Imbruglia and Emma Bunton and he is also the singer in Ben's Brother....

Bens Brother - Stuttering (Kiss Me Again)

28th April 2008 -

 Review

Bens Brother Stuttering (Kiss Me Again) Single Review Ben's Brother are set to release their new Single "Stuttering (Kiss Me Again)" which has already been getting loads or airplay on a certain National Radio Station...

Trio Of Ivor Novello Nominations For Amy Winehouse

21st April 2008 -

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Amy Winehouse is in the running for three Ivor Novello awards after the nominations were published today.The 24-year-old has been named in the best song musically and lyrically category twice for Love is a Losing...

Fascinating Fact 4228

3rd November 2007 -

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Little known British band BEN'S BROTHER have found music fame in the U.S. on the back of a television advert for Dentyne chewing gum.

Bens Brother, Carry On Audio Stream

16th October 2007 -

 Video

Bens Brother Carry On Audio StreamCarry On The third single to be lifted from Ben's Brother debut album 'Beta Male Fairytales', will be released on November 12th 2007. London's pop band Ben's Brother...

Newcomer Nash Tops Album Charts

13th August 2007 -

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British pop newcomer KATE NASH went straight to the top of the U.K. album charts with her debut disc MADE OF BRICKS on Sunday (12Aug07). The 20-year-old singer's knocked last week's (05Aug07) number one, talent...

Ben's Brother, Let Me Out, Video

23rd July 2007 -

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Ben's Brother Let Me Out Video Already a radio mainstay and fresh from their UK tour, Bens Brother make a blazing return on August 6th with the hook-laden new single 'Let Me Out'. Hot on...

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1st January 1970 -

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The SXSW Music And Media Conference showcases hundreds of musical acts from around the globe on over fifty stages in downtown Austin. By day, conference registrants do business in the SXSW Trade Show in the...

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