The story that has led to the inevitable rise of Alec Benjamin is as timeless as the lush, captivating sonic worlds he whisks into existence. First moving to Los Angeles in the hope of pursuing his dreams, he would soon find himself dropped by his first label and forced to move back in with his parents. Fortunately, the story does not end there, as Benjamin’s latest single finds himself reflecting on those initial moments of disappointment and subsequent isolation in preparation for his largest run of headline shows to date.
“Jesus In LA” transforms what may have been Benjamin’s darkest period into a striking moment of introspection and self-realization that plays out with a religious-like grandeur. The notion of romanticizing or vilifying Los Angeles as a nebulous city home to both nirvana and shattered dreams is nothing new, but the way in which the rising singer-songwriter balances divine imagery with retellings of deeply-held human desires and disappointments is a thing of understated beauty. Benjamin spoke further in an Instagram post on the lived inspiration behind “Jesus In LA,” sharing,
“When I first got to LA I thought that I was going to finally find the happiness that I had always been looking for. Not long after I arrived, I signed my first record deal. Got dropped. Lost friends. Spent all my money… and had to move back in with my parents. It was then that I realized the thing that I was looking for most was in front of me the whole time. My true friends and family. Even at my lowest point, being back home with my family is what made me truly happy. The song isn’t a literal take on religion or about Jesus at all. It’s about searching for hope and happiness and realizing those things aren’t always where you think you’ll find them.”
Every word, verse sung with the serene warmth of a first-person narrator elevates “Jesus In LA” to so much more than just a song that touches on escapism, the sacred idea of Los Angeles as some sort of heaven or hell on Earth, or the myriad of other themes Benjamin has the power of conveying with the breathtaking power of his poignant music. What Benjamin has done here by bearing his heart on his sleeve is deliver a moment of clarity for anyone who has ever felt lost.
Listen to “Jesus In LA” below:
For more on Alec Benjamin, revisit our review of the rapidly rising singer-songwriter’s mixtape Narrated For You.