detour city1Exciting East London-based singer songwriter Detour City – 24 year-old Tabitha Benjamin – is a rightly unique, fresh and clever musician. Tabitha started out on the acoustic circuit gigging with the likes of an as-then-undiscovered Ed Sheeran…Here impressive debut track ‘Merlin (Everybody Knows)’, released on Polydor Records, it’s the perfect introduction to Detour City’s world.

Your latest single ‘Merlin (Everybody Knows)’, is a song that started life on her ukulele a decade ago…please tell us more about it.

Merlin is a song I wrote about my Grandfather – it was a wooden boat he sailed in the navy. But in the years I spent gigging it around the acoustic scene in London it came to represent different things to different people – searching for identity, making choices and the losses that always happen along the way. These are some of the themes that inspired the current video.

How did you start and when?

My family is musical, I learned instruments from a young age and I started writing music before I could even read it. When I came to London I got into the acoustic scene, but after living in Dalston amidst the resurgence of dance and electronic music – I saw a left turn and I took it.

Why did decide to call your project Detour City?

I wanted to create a project, which I was the centre of, but which had many different creative collaborators. I also wanted to create a world which people could step into to experience my music. detour city videoCan you tell us 5 things we should know about Detour City/Tabitha Benjamin?

1. Detour City is about timeless folk melodies fused with diverse electronica productions.

2. I write a song a day. Practice makes perfect.

3. My favourite synth is the Korg MS-20.

4. I have nautical themed tattoos on my arms – they are on the artwork for ‘Merlin (Everybody Knows)’

5. I love Red Wing boots and motorbikes.

What are your dreams and goals?

I want to write songs that connect with people, worldwide. I’m a live musician at heart, so I want to tour a successful live show.

Who are your musical and non-musical influences?

The Trip-Hop pioneers like Massive Attack and Portishead are a big influence for me as well as powerful female artists who’ve carved out their own spaces within music – Bjork, Annie Lennox and more recently Sia. I’ll always go back to artists like Joni Mitchell for they way they write songs and Jazz musicians like Chet Baker and Thelonious Monk who remind me of the possibility within music to always create something different.

Are you planning any live shows and what will they be like?

I play live with a band – a drummer and bassist/synth player – it’s a small, intimate set up with a powerful sound. There are definitely live shows planned before the end of the year.

If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be?

I’ve already collaborated with some amazing artists and producers – Breakage, Jakwob, Wilkinson, Grades, David Etherington and Jonas Quant to name a few. Collaborating is the most valuable thing you can do as musician – it pushes you in new directions and takes you down roads you wouldn’t have gone down.

What do you have planned next?

As well as ‘Merlin (Everybody Knows)’ I’ve got some super exciting collaborations with artists (one established, one emerging) coming out before the end of the year and much more writing and gigging too.

‘Merlin (Everybody Knows)’on iTunes

By Fabrizio Belluschi ©