||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (August 2012)|
|This article reads like a news release, or is otherwise written in an overly promotional tone. (August 2012)|
|Born||March 8, 1988|
|Origin||Reston, Virginia, U.S.A|
|Genres||Electro, pop rock, power pop, R&B, hip hop|
|Occupations||Rapper, musician, songwriter, record producer, remixer|
Benjamin Levin (born March 8, 1988), professionally known as Benny Blanco, is an American rapper, musician, songwriter and record producer. He has written and produced songs for artists such as Katy Perry ("California Gurls", "Teenage Dream"), Maroon 5 ("Moves like Jagger, "Payphone"), Britney Spears ("Circus"), Taio Cruz ("Dynamite"), Kesha ("Tik Tok"), Gym Class Heroes ("Stereo Hearts", "Ass Back Home"), Wiz Khalifa ("Work Hard, Play Hard", "No Sleep") and Trey Songz ("Heart Attack").
Early in his career, Blanco worked with Dr. Luke, and has also collaborated with Shellback, Ryan Tedder, Bruno Mars, Nicki Minaj, Dan Wilson, Mike Posner, Max Martin, Sean Paul and Paul Epworth.
Additionally, Blanco received the Songwriter of the Year Award at the BMI Pop Awards in early 2012.
Life and career
The Beginning & Disco D
Blanco, a Virginia native, began by making beats in his bedroom and his first serious exposure to music came in 1994 with the cassette singles: Nas's "The World Is Yours" and "I Swear" by All-4-One. Blanco's rapping earned the attention of The Source and executives at Columbia Records. Levin eventually secured an apprenticeship with producer Disco D.
Blanco was mentored by songwriter/producer Dr. Luke, who helped him score some of his biggest hits. Blanco says, “That’s when I met Dr. Luke. Luke taught me all the intricacies of how to make a song. He also taught me a lot about interacting with artists. When you’re a producer you’re more than the guy who tells people what to do. You’re like a therapist. You have to know when the artist needs a break—when it’s time to stop working and collect your thoughts."
“I listen to so many different types of music,” he says. “I don’t want to have any boundaries whatsoever. If someone came to me and was like, ‘I want to make a polka album,’ I’m making the best damn polka album ever.” Much of his sonic inspiration, he says, comes from his home base of New York City. “I love that this city isn’t pretty all the time — that it’s dirty and loud. Sometimes when you’re in the studio you can actually hear car horns and fire alarms outside—I love that.”
Even with his reputation on the rise, Blanco retains all the energy that drove his earliest hustles. “Dude, I’m still waiting for the day when someone’s like, ‘All right, Benny, the jig is up—your job at Burger King will be available next weekend,” says the producer, whose extramusical activities include being a frequent guest lecturer at NYU’s Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music and the Get Well Soon Tour, a charity that Blanco started designed to bring superstar musical performances to sick kids in hospitals. “I always knew I’d do something with music if I just kept at it and was annoying enough. But every day I thank my lucky stars it turned out like this.”
Blanco is currently in the studio working with a number of diverse artists and will have songs on several major releases coming out in 2013. Some of which will see him re-teaming with some of music’s hottest names.
On June 13th, 2013, Blanco was awarded with the Hal David Starlight Award at the 44th Annual Songwriters Hall of Fame ceremony, awarded to young artists who have already made an impression on the music industry. In his acceptance speech, he joked, saying "They picked the wrong person, I'm in a room with people I should probably be serving food to."
- 2008: "I Kissed a Girl" (Katy Perry) #1
- 2008: "Hot n Cold" (Katy Perry) #1
- 2008: "Circus" (Britney Spears)
- 2009: "Don't Trust Me" (3OH!3) #1
- 2009: "Tik Tok" (Ke$ha) #1
- 2010: "Eenie Meenie" (Sean Kingston & Justin Bieber)
- 2010: "Blah Blah Blah" (Ke$ha)
- 2010: "Your Love Is My Drug" (Ke$ha) #1
- 2010: "My First Kiss" (3OH!3 & Ke$ha)
- 2010: "California Gurls" (Katy Perry & Snoop Dogg) #1
- 2010: "Please Don't Go" (Mike Posner)
- 2010: "Dynamite" (Taio Cruz) #1
- 2010: "Teenage Dream" (Katy Perry) #1
- 2010: "We R Who We R" (Ke$ha) #1
- 2011: "Blow" (Ke$ha)
- 2011: "No Sleep" (Wiz Khalifa)
- 2011: "Stereo Hearts" (Gym Class Heroes & Adam Levine) #1
- 2011: "Ass Back Home" (Gym Class Heroes)
- 2011: "Moves Like Jagger" (Maroon 5 & Christina Aguilera) #1
- 2012: "Payphone" (Maroon 5 & Wiz Khalifa) #1
- 2012: "Work Hard, Play Hard" (Wiz Khalifa)
- 2012: "Heart Attack" (Trey Songz)
- 2012: "Die Young" (Ke$ha) #1
- 2012: "Diamonds" (Rihanna) #1
- 2013: "Cannonball" (Lea Michele)
Awards and nominations
- Grammy Awards
- 2013: Best R&B Song of the Year - Heart Attack (Nominated)
- 2013: Best Pop Duo/Group Performance - Payphone (Nominated)
- 2013: Best Pop Vocal Album - Overexposed (Nominated)
- 2012: Best Pop Duo/Group Performance - Moves Like Jagger (Nominated)
- 2011: Album of the Year - Teenage Dream - Katy Perry (Nominated, as producer)
- Songwriters Hall of Fame
- 2013: Hal David Starlight Award (Won)
- BMI Awards
- 2013: Urban Songwriter of the Year (Won)
- 2012: Most Performed Pop Song - Moves Like Jagger (Won)
- 2012: Songwriter of the Year (Won)
- 2011: Songwriter of the Year (Won)