NYC Music Producer Backpack Ben Plans to Develop Music Programs for Children

HHW Staff
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Backpack Ben

There are an estimated 135,000 children adopted in the United States each year with 26% of them being born in a different country. Born in Colombia and adopted by a Jewish-American family as an infant, New York City music producer Backpack Ben belongs to that 26%. Although he felt connected to his family, it took Ben some time to develop his own identity. He explains, ”I started playing the guitar in second grade. Growing up in a White family, we listened to rock music that included mostly White artists. It wasn’t until I saw Jimmy Hendrix that I felt represented. To see a Person of Color being a rockstar was something that impressed me and inspired me. I liked the way he broke down barriers with a fearless attitude. It is as if he did not care what anybody thought about him and I respect that.”

Representation is important, especially to adopted children from different countries and cultures than the families they are adopted into. Although assimilation is important, it is also vital for an adopted child to learn about their ethnicity and cultural identity. “I never really thought much about my Colombian culture because I was adopted at such a young age. I have two brothers that were adopted with me so we were always family, regardless of where we originated. However, my upcoming project features Latin music that has brought me closer to my South American roots. It has been exciting to explore the culture through music.” 

Backpack Ben understands the power of music and wants others to experience its magic. He has goals of creating programs for children from underserved communities and has reached out to Carnegie Hall to partner on a project. “Creating a community is important for emotional support and solidarity. Children from underserved communities do not always have that support. They often lack access to creative outlets where they can express themselves in a constructive environment. I hope to develop programs that will provide that space for children to thrive through music. I know being adopted, my friend circle helped me feel like I belonged when I questioned my own place in this world. I want to create that space for other kids like me.”

In addition to creating programs for children, Backpack Ben gives emerging artists a platform to develop their artistry free of the political pressure of the music industry. On his latest project Dropped Out, Backpack Ben collaborated with nine rising stars from across the country to create an eclectic EP that drops this Fall. “As a young producer, I see potential in people and I want to create an environment that allows them to do their best work. I chose the roster that I did for Dropped Out because I can see the growth potential of each artist. I love being a part of their musical journey as they develop their careers.” 

To learn more about Backpack Ben, his EP Dropped Out, and future projects, follow him on social media @Backpack_Ben on Instagram and Twitter. There is also content available on Backpack Ben’s official YouTube page and streaming services. 

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