The first thing that strikes you about Benjamin Clementine is his stunning, rich voice. It is guttural, powerful, and projects years of hurt and emotion with every word. Although he is only 24, Clementine certainly has stories to tell. He left London for Paris at age 20, and ended up sleeping rough and busking in the Place de Clichy metro station for two years to get together enough money to move to a hostel and eventually his own room.
Even without the backstory though, “Cornerstone” is a quite frankly brilliant song. It’s a simple, soulful, ballad which is still a little rough around the edges, but that is part of its charm and appeal. And the way his voice breaks and twist at the end of the “alone in a box of my own” line… Spine-tingling stuff.
Listen to “Cornerstone” below. It’s the title-track of Benjamin Clementine’s EP, which is out now (buy here).