Some of the best songs out there are ones that tell stories that cut straight through to the heart.
Ben Kunder, the troubadour, the storyteller, is bringing his stories to the Songwriter Series later this month at Donaleigh’s Irish Public House on
The Toronto-based Kunder tells BarrieToday he prefers not to focus on songs portraying life as hunky-dory… in favour of tunes that make him cry.
“I like songs that force me to reflect on my own life while still telling the story of the songwriter,” Kunder says, trying to function as two people at once. “I think those kinds of songs I connect with the most, and maybe inspire my writing the most, that can be deeply personal (whether happy or sad or any emotion in between), but give the listener the opportunity to make the story their own.”
Kunder first grabbed public attention with his 2015 album Golden, and vows to follow that effort up in a big way with Better Human, which has already spawned two songs of universal themes, such as the birth of a child (Night Sky), and finding life balance (Fight for Time).
Those aren’t necessarily Kunder’s favourite tracks off the album, however.
“I don't know if I have a favourite track right now. Jessi is a rocker and makes me want to move, I Will Be Your Arms is really personal to me and feels like a song I've always wanted to write, and Come On is beautiful in its stripped-down simplicity.”
But the title track of the Better Human album, inspired by a woman born in
“This song wasn’t meant to have a singular vision, but to have a universal message of love and connectedness: that we all need to be working harder for each other. Juliana Ledesma is a transnational adoptee from
“She’s had so much support here to be free, independent, and to live her truth, but that doesn’t leave her without struggle or pain," he says. "She is our hero in the (accompanying) music video and I wanted to share her story because it's empowering.”
Furthermore, “We must advocate for positive change and it has to start with the self. We’ve got to love ourselves before we can love anyone else.”
In expanding on what the album is all about, one can hear the pride of the artist in his creation.
“I hope that Better Human is inspiring, creating hope and personal reflection and that it makes the listener feel good. The message is strong and positive and the album sounds amazing, in my opinion.”
Tuesday, Sept. 18, furnishes the latest instalment of the Songwriter Series at Donaleigh’s, and features not only the music of Ben Kunder, but those of other celebrated composers, anxious to share their stories.
Kunder is similarly glad to share.
“I think any opportunity for an audience to get insight into what we do as songwriters is wonderful. I know I'm going to hear some great songs from Julian Taylor and Ariana Gillis and learn a few things about their process and have a lot of fun doing it. Hopefully, we'll feed off of each other’s energies and put on a really intimate and special show.”
The Songwriter Series is co-hosted by music journalist/ promoter Chas. Hay and veteran singer/ songwriter Brett Caswell, who together curate the series.
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