Let me get this out of the way, I love monochrome, and early in the creative process of my first album, I decided to go with a monochrome theme for all my albums. I also decided then to use my children as models for the projects. The reason was simple... deep down, I felt that my music would become my “love letters” to my children and the generation that will come after them. My children also signified the purity and the innocence and the simplicity of faith that I greatly admire and yearned for:
When you found me I was living in the darkness I had no way of knowing how to get out of it Then you brought me gladness Joy ever-flowing in you
Lord it’s been some time since I have been delivered But yet sometimes I feel like I’m going back to that State of Denial What would it take to be
Totally set free…
(Excerpt from Totally Set Free, Copyright 2011)
The cover image was unique because it captured my son in an unguarded moment around the camera, when he actually let out a natural smile. Don’t get me wrong, my children are very photogenic, however they have always been such a bundle of activity that it has been quite the challenge to get decent photos out of them. In this particular instance, we were out in the playground in the spring and I managed to capture this brief moment of sheer excitement. This excitement that the image conveyed perfectly matched the title of the album, by portraying the freedom of being totally set free from sin and its power that I yearned for in the song.
That in a nutshell, is how this album cover came to be, and what it symbolizes for me.
Some days I get pretty overwhelmed, when the cares of life take hold and I feel so unproductive. It is a truly terrible place to be as an artist and a creator, when the frustration mounts and the doubts set in. Thankfully, after a big move in my life, I am beginning to feel the peace of God in my life again. Today I got to work at doing what I have been intending to do for some time now. After a night of toiling on the computer, learning the ins and the outs of hosting a website on my own personal server, I finally got it to work this morning. There is such a great feeling one feels when a breakthrough happens after many unsuccessful tries!
The new website can be accessed at both of my domains bensey.ca and benjaminsey.com. It is truly a one-stop place for all my released music, featuring a jukebox, lyrics, my photography and videography links. Best of all, it works on all devices and screen sizes! Needless to say, I am truly thankful today for the breakthrough and for the opportunity to share my passion and craft with the world.
I have always been an introspective person. I have been called aloof, an introvert, head in the clouds, you name it. Regardless, I have always considered my connection to what lies within me as more important than what often surrounds me. When I became born again, I discovered this new peace and understanding that transcended words and imagination. The word of God, the Holy Spirit and prayer filled me with such a wealth within and stirred up my gifting through music as a means of expression.
Through the many difficult periods of my life, I have depended on this inner expanse of beauty and strength to guide me, and I am a better man and a better Christian for it. This connection is really what I tap into for my music. Often times the music starts as an image, an emotion, an overwhelming feeling that demands an outlet. Each of these moments have a different color, a different texture and are very unique experiences. Thus, I have felt these “urges” in the desert of my life when I was in the midst of the trials and also in my times of celebration and joy.
The actual writing experience starts with a line, a phrase and often times a short melody. If I listen and pay heed to that moment, the rest of the music and lyrics usually flows out with such ease. As I write, with my guitar or keyboard, I often envision myself as directly talking to God. In that place there are no barriers, no pretense and oftentimes the music comes out as a simple yet profound melody and usually with an unconventional chord progression. The lyrics often do not rhyme because in that moment I often do not feel the need for that additional layer, that pause to create an impediment, when the emotions and the feelings are so profound.
I got a question from a dear friend of mine and with his permission, I am sharing this with all of you (personal details omitted). Its pretty long, but will bless you if you read it. Let me know what you think.
Question: Loved the music and everything i.e. the arrangements, very great music and I believe you will go far with this. my only thing and I can be very wrong, forgive me, I hear 'Lord' but never 'Jesus' in all the tracks, there is an inference to Him but he is not mentioned. What changes and have great effect on the consumer like myself is Christ and His name being glorified. I know you know who you are singing about but there is something that happens at the mention of His name. Just possibly an uneducated thought.
My Answer: Most of the songs in this album were written during and after a desert phase of my life. The songs are very personal prayers, they were borne out of my own trials and were often written at a time when I was in deep distress in prayer, or just delivered from a trial situation. I never set out to consciously write the lyrics and music, I allowed them to come to me (may sound strange, but that is how it works with me). In that place of prayer and brokenness, there is no pretense, I wrote as I talked to God personally. Towards the end of this period, God gave me a vision to put all these songs together in an album to help people going through similar situations in their walk. They may not appeal to you in your current place with God, but they are specifically for others going through that desert phase, and I have many testimonies from such folks to the glory of God. Truth is, I always call Jesus "Lord" when I pray. That is because, that is who he is to me personally. I was born with a rebellious streak, I did not like conforming to authority in my personal life until I met Jesus. He became my Lord, that is who is is to me and that is how I have always prayed since becoming born again. Thus, you will hear a lot of "Lord" in my music. Even my twi song uses the attribute of God "Ewurade" and not Yesu, because I call Him Ewurade when I pray. I did not set out to exclude the name of Jesus on purpose, but the songs reflect my relationship with Him. Other powerful worship music that use "Lord" instead of Jesus will be "Lord I lift your name on high", "Be still for the presence of the Lord", "Great is the Lord", "He is exalted", "Be thou my vision", "I love you Lord", "Blessed be the name of the Lord", "lift him up" by Ron Kenolly, "Mi Corazon" by Don Moen, "Ah Lord God", "Higher Ground", "Holy Holy Holy". Others don't even mention Lord or Jesus, but are still powerful because they are about Him and God's spirit inhabits His praise. Examples are "He's turned my mourning into dancing" by Ron Kenoly, "Above all" by Paul Baloche and Lenny Leblanc, "As the deer", "As we gather", "Give me oil", "I keep falling in Love with Him", and the timeless "Amazing Grace". My point is the impact of a worship or praise song is not about whether or not the name of Jesus is mentioned in it, but about the thoughts, the yearnings, the prayer that the lyrics convey in general. That said, point well taken. Just know that I have songs written that mention the name of Jesus, just not in this project. Be assured that you will be hearing His name in my music in the future and all these songs are about Him. My next album will have a worship theme and will feature some of these songs. Here are some samples:
Song #1) Jesus, my hearts deepest longing © Ben Sey, 2005
Song # 2) Jesus! © Ben and Abena Sey, 2005
Forgive me for the length of this, but I hope I explained myself without sounding rude or upset, because I honestly am impressed that you payed attention to my lyrics. Thank you.
According to the laws of physics, the greater resistance is what you will face when moving from a stationary state (a.k.a. inertia). In life, a similar law is at play; the most difficult part of achieving your dreams is getting started on it and letting go of your fears and anxieties. God has invested several desires and abilities (talents) in us. These talents were given to us to invest into the well-being of mankind in general. Most of us have recognized these talents, but only a few of us know exactly how to pursue it or make something more out of it other than just a dream. Often times we give up because we focus too much on the final destination rather than the journey to the final destination. We get ourselves overwhelmed with the near impossibility of achieving our dreams, and give up. If you have already done so, it’s not too late to salvage it, as long as you have breath in you. Don't give up on your dreams or vision; break it up into smaller, more easily achievable objectives that are all related to the whole. Now develop a plan of action. Attend seminars; teach yourself how to play that instrument if your goal is to be a better musician. My personal example, I had to teach myself to play the guitar and keyboard and to read chord music. This helped me become a better songwriter. I spent several years singing in small groups and choirs to develop my identity/style in singing. Unless you make it on American Idol, this period likely will not happen overnight for you, it may take years, so brace yourself. Before you get started on the plan of action though, consider this; do you have it in you to see the vision come to pass? One of the biggest challenges you will face is whether you have enough determination to withstand the forces that will seek to slow you down, once in motion. This too has its equivalence in the natural laws of physics. Remember that no one sets off on a journey to a distant place without first making sure that they have enough gas to last the trip, or a means to refill at the very least. The Bible gives the analogy of building a house, the lesson being that make sure you have enough building supplies to finish the house you started. In my personal life, I only recently understood why I lingered for so long in the "desert" phase. God took me through the desert for several years, in order to build character in me, and to stir up the hunger and the passion to be successful. Allow God to work on you, as you work on your dreams/vision. Don't lose hope and abandon God in the desert phase of your life, because the desert can make or break you. As Moses led the Israelites through the desert, many lost their faith, became disillusioned and perished in the desert. The message today is, get started on the vision today, don't expect success right away, accept the tests of your faith as they come and let God be your help. Blessings, Ben
I once made a vow never again to sing at social gatherings and secular events. This came from what I perceived was a lack of interest and attitudes that I felt were mocking to my purpose and vision. One particular event comes to mind; it was a multicultural luncheon and I was slated to perform. While I was singing I happened to notice that no one seemed to be paying attention to my music. Everyone seemed happy to chat and be merry while I was left frustrated, thinking what was the point of it all. Luckily for me, I have grown wiser since then. A few days ago, I found myself again in a similar situation, as I sang to colleagues of mine and my bosses at private outdoor social gathering on site. I felt honoured that I was asked to sing, even though they were very much aware I was a Christian artists. This went contrary to the trend of separation of all things to do with Christianity from workplaces, and I appreciated my bosses for asking me to do this. With this in mind, as they ate and chatted, I sang, and I sang with all of my heart, even as they rain commenced, right through the torrent and the thunder. My attitude was different this time, because I saw the opportunity to witness Christ to my colleagues and I was not going to let even the rain stop me. After it was all said and done, I got a song request and feedback that made me feel confident that I had accomplished my goal for the event. No, there was no alter call, nothing to boast about, save for that deep confirmation inside of me, the knowledge that I had sown a seed in some hearts and that ministry had been done. This is what I have learnt from this experience: no opportunity or setting is too small or "not Christian enough" to minister the good news of Christ, and that I should never judge the effectiveness of my work for God by human standards.
I would like to express my sincere thanks to all of you who have shown me incredible support in the last few days since my releases. I have been steadily rising through the charts, but most importantly, I have heard numerous stories of how these songs have been a blessing to you.
This project has been a labour of love. There were several instances along the way when it would have been much easier to quit, but somehow I stayed through with it. I am grateful to God for turning the discouragements into a positive force for me. One thing I am not in this for is money. I could honestly care less for it. I would feel accomplished if everyone of you all could have my music for free and forward them to as many of your friends and acquaintances that may need some encouragement in the faith. That is the reason I started off with the "free for download" offer, for all my songs. To this end, I will still offer my music for free to anyone who cannot afford it, even after the current free download promotion is over. All you will need to do is send me an email with your request, and its yours.
My mission is to bring heartfelt inspired Christian music to the masses, not the commercialized cookie cutter type of music that passes for "Christian" these days.
It is my sincere hope and prayer that you will be blessed as you listen. God bless you.
Yours in Christ, Ben Sey