What's the deal with… Benjamin Clementine?

Here's everything you need to know about this soulful singer and his astonishing voice

© Micky Clement

Oh, buskers! If I hear another version of ‘Wonderwall’, I’ll scream.
Maybe you should move to Paris: apparently they have a better class of busker there.

Sure, if you’re into accordions.
Well, yes – but it’s not all like that. Benjamin Clementine used to sing on the Paris Metro, before a friend of a label boss saw him in the Place de Clichy station. Now he’s a 25-year-old rising star, with a big Koko show this Thursday almost sold out.

He doesn’t play the accordion, then?
On the contrary: he’s a self-taught pianist with a fascinating, fluid style, apparently based on hours spent alone in his bedroom listening to Classic FM.

But I’m sensing there’s more to BenClem than that.
Well, yes, there’s That Bloody Voice. His tenor sounds like some raw and godly hybrid of Nina Simone, Randy Newman and Antony Hegarty – but with an endearing London accent.

So he’s a London boy?
He grew up in Edmonton Green.

Now I know where I’m headed to discover the UK’s next soul star.
Sure, go ahead and hop on a train. Just don’t blame me if you end up being serenaded by an ageing mod with a battered copy of ‘Oasis: The Complete Chord Songbook’.

The bottom line:
Sod Tom Jones: soulful Ben’s got The Voice.


Watch Benjamin Clementine's 'Cornerstone' video


Listen to Benjamin Clementine on Spotify

Read more music features

Time Out readers' top songs of 2015

We love discovering new music that hits that special spot, so we asked some #takeovertimeout contributors: what’s your top song of 2015 so far?

Arcade Fire on teashops, London and ‘The Reflektor Tapes’

Time Out reader Joe Presley discovers five things you didn’t know about Arcade Fire

Disclosure on Sam Smith’s ring, toilet reading and ‘Caracal’

Guy and Howard Lawrence tell Time Out reader Hannah Ashraf about their new album and becoming more than just a dance band

One to Watch: Wet

Time Out reader Sarah Taylor explains why this Brooklyn trio are ones to watch

Why I love Cadogan Hall

Time Out reader Jaime Tung explores the magic of an intimate concert hall in Chelsea

See all Time Out music features