Benjamin Clementine – “Cornerstone”

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).

  • ndg

    Just saw him on Jools Holland. I love proper soul and can only say that this blokes voice is not very good. His tone at times is hideous.

  • firsttime

    I thought he was brilliant! Takes all sorts i guess

  • Bmd

    I disagree I’ve just watched it too and thought his simplicity and raw edge is fantastic a real heart warming performance

  • DCS

    I also disagree, sure it wasn’t perfect but it carried a lot of emotion and i enjoyed the raw edge.

  • Louise Dransfield

    I think he is the new ” Ella “…

  • ndg

    I just re-listened to it. But this time to the studio version from this web page and must admit he sounds better. So maybe he was nervous live. Gimme Gil Scott anyday tho!

  • connie

    yes a mixture of nina simone edith piaf and all the raw sigers singing their hearts out

  • connie

    raw simplicity in music is what we need, his music moved me to tears

  • connie

    your proper soul was so edited the soul singers could not recognise themselves. i dont think if you asked benjamin if he solely classified himself as a soul singer. listen to him playing piano, to his voice range, what he is actually singing. putting a label, once again diminishes music.

  • connie

    your loss,

  • BeiK

    To me, he was a revelation, on Jools Holland just now. Never seen or heard him before. I was dumbstruck by the raw, penetrating reality he so directly, yet beautifully, put across in his songs. It felt so genuine.Must have been hard for Paul McCartney to finish off after Benjamine’s last song!

  • Pingback: Benjamin Clementine | materialwhirl()

  • cherubbubble

    Jack…you must be D.E.A.D