The Rise of Benson Boone

The last 18 months have been quite the whirlwind journey for rising pop star Benson Boone. The American singer-songwriter had already showcased his vocal prowess when he was a contestant on series 19 of American Idol and subsequently built up a large following on TikTok, however it was in October 2021 when he released his debut single ‘Ghost Town’ to critical acclaim and mainstream success that his life changed forever. The track projected Boone’s voice across the globe and in the time since its release, ‘Ghost Town’ has racked up over 216 million streams on Spotify alone. It was an incredible opening statement and its deeply emotive undertones laid the foundations for a truly touching approach to songwriting that’s endeared the artist to many. 

Born and raised in Monroe, Washington, Boone spent years totally unaware of his creative talent. Instead, he was enthralled by nature, spending much of this time undertaking extreme adventures. In rather unique circumstances, the artist only realised that he could sing in his senior year of high school and coincidentally, just a year prior to competing on American Idol. Even though being a pop star wasn’t necessarily his dream growing up, Boone firmly believes it was his calling, as he states: “Music wasn’t always part of my life. However, aspects of my artistry have been developing my whole life. I’ve always had a creative mind.” 

However it was in early 2021 that Imagine Dragons frontman, Dan Reynolds, caught eye of Boone’s talent and the artist soon found himself signed to Reynolds’ Night Street Records in partnership with Warner Records. Boone had been consistently impressing with glimpses of his own material via TikTok and with the support of such an esteemed label, he had the platform to go global. Not only that, in Reynolds, Boone had found someone who’d seen it all before and through a special friendship could prepare him for a life in the spotlight. “Dan Reynolds messaged me originally just to come out and write music with him. I was absolutely blown away that he even knew who I was!” The artist proclaims, “When we started working together we quickly got along very well and became friends. He wanted to help me in any way he could and I ended up signing to his label and he is now my mentor and friend. Just someone I can always talk to.”

His debut single, ‘Ghost Town’ saw worldwide success, however it wasn’t a track that Boone felt was going to explode in such a manner. Despite seeing its potential, he initially felt it was a “Horrible” song when writing it, but his team convinced him that this was the single that would open doors. Ultimately a sea of momentum followed and Boone followed up with ‘Room For 2’, ‘In The Stars’, and ‘Better Alone’ in 2022. Those three singles set the scene for his debut EP ‘Walk Me Home…’ a collection of eight tracks that saw the artist at his most introspective, whilst often appearing vulnerable in a totally honest display to his listeners. Such transparency is the cornerstone to his artistry and his ability to transmit emotion makes him a truly special talent. “I have always been comfortable sharing my feelings with people. I know a lot of people like to put up walls around others they don’t know in hopes that they are prevented from getting hurt. I am the opposite. I don’t fear getting hurt, I think emotional pain is something that I will experience in my life regardless of my decisions.” Boone describes, “It’s inevitable to have situations that make me sad or more emotional than others. So songwriting comes easier to me because I know I can genuinely express my feelings in my music.”

‘Walk Me Home…’ resonates with listeners in a personal manner as we hear Boone find his way in life. At just 20 years old, his music represents an emotional journey where he’s constantly growing. In fact, the artist describes himself as feeling lost when writing the EP and the title itself might sound as though a person has guided the way but it was the process of making music itself that’s helped Boone find a place in life where he can be happy. Above all the project allowed the artist to look inward and realise aspects of his personality that could be improved, as he explains: “Writing this EP helped me so much with understanding how my brain works and what I’m truly feeling. I tend to be someone that gives good advice but can sometimes not be great at taking it. This helped me get over that and start to take my own advice which has immensely helped me this year.”

With such a personal connection to a piece of music, I wondered if there was a particular message Boone was hoping to transmit to his fans, to which he responded: “I just want people to know that no matter what your experience in your life is, there is always good in the world. There will always be something that can make your day just a little bit better.” For someone who found their way from the dark into the light when creating ‘Walk Me Home…’ I think such a message is key in understanding where his music is now headed. Just a month ago he released his latest single ‘Before You’ which is certainly a change in tone from his earlier work. The track is a dedication to a new love, someone he’s found that has helped him to see life from a new angle and what we hear is a celebration of happiness. So, for an artist who’s made his fair share of sad songs, will this be the mark of a whole new chapter? Boone seems to think not.“Oh there will definitely be sad songs for the rest of my life.” He proclaims, “But this song is one that has very very deep meaning to me. It was written about someone who I love very dearly and hold close to my heart.”

In what has been a remarkable breakout year, Boone has had his fair share of pinch yourself moments. However, such a surreal feeling peaked when looking back at his numerous appearances on US television which saw him perform live on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Kelly Clarkson Show, Late Night with Seth Meyers, and The Late Late Show with James Corden. In such a short space of time the artist has transitioned from TikTok sensation to national pop star seamlessly and with each release Boone continues to mature. It’s felt like a blur at times, and he hasn’t really had the time to digest such an ascent, but what he does know is that he owes a lot of his success to the continued support of his fans. “I feel like I just jumped out of a plane with a parachute and I haven’t opened my eyes yet!” The artist exclaims, “I’m moving so fast that sometimes I fail to see what I have accomplished. I’m just starting to realise the things I’ve been able to do this year and it’s absolutely incredible to know that it’s because of the people that listen to my music. Most of which I’ll never see in person, but just to know that they have gotten me here is an incredible feeling, and quite humbling as well.”

2022 saw Boone reach heights that were previously unimagined and now the artist has his eyes firmly set on going above and beyond in 2023. With numerous accolades under his belt already that includes racking up over one billion TikTok streams as well as half a million streams on Spotify, Boone is undoubtedly an exciting young talent with the world at his feet. Taking his newfound success naturally in his stride, and with a legion of followers supporting his every step, few would bet against the artist reaching the very top of the pop world.

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Words: Jake Wright