History Popular Pianists Practice Tips
My Recordings Home

Thirty-nine-year-old Ben Folds insists that his music has not changed much since he was five, the age he first began songwriting.

“The songs I wrote when I was nine years old, if I were to sit down and play them for you, you’d be shocked about how much they’re like what I write now,” he said.

The Nashville musician born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, who has a wife and two children, got his first start when he was 22, playing bass guitar in a four-member band called Majosha. The band performed local gigs and released two short albums before breaking up after two years. In 1990, Folds formed another band where he played drums, but the group only lasted a month.

In 1994, Folds and two friends formed Ben Folds Five that had a sound Folds described as "punk rock for sissies." The band was a hit, releasing a total of five records, and lasted for ten years.

Now, with only a year of piano lessons under his belt, Folds been a successful solo piano-playing pop artist for the past four years, with four albums out already.

Folds says his music is often inspired by feelings evoked when listening to a favorite record or looking at a photograph. For him, the melody comes first and easily, but lyrics often go through 10 – 15 revisions until he’s satisfied with them. Folds sings his songs “like a conversation,” sounding genuine and on the spot, rather than prepared and dressed up.

Back to Ray Charles; Next to Billy Joel

Email me