Undergraduate Spotlight: Benjamin Carter
In February 2021, music student Benjamin Carter released an album he created and recorded by himself entitled, Coming Out of It, an homage to self-healing and spiritual realization that he confronted during recent months of the pandemic.
Ben is a junior at UNC majoring in psychology and minoring in neuroscience and music. He usually takes voice and cello lessons, but due to COVID, is refraining from taking voice lessons this semester. His cello instructor, Professor Wissick, remarked, “He is a good cellist but also plays piano and is a singer too. I appreciate his quiet depth, and he works carefully and methodically.”
Since Ben was young, he always dreamed of wanting to be a film composer. “I always loved that kind of music; music that was more simple, but meant to express mood and experiences.” Initially, he struggled with wanting to do music out of fear of not being successful in such a competitive field. He discussed a self-realization about music, saying,
“I don’t have to be guaranteed a spot at the Oscars or something to be a successful musician, I can just make music because it makes me happy. And I realized that I just really wanted to make something for myself.”
Ben explained how he was pushed to this epiphany after the unfortunate loss of a family member and splitting from a partner over winter break, and how this encouraged him to rethink what was important to him emotionally and spiritually. “And so this album is meant to almost score those experiences. I tried to put a lot of heart and expression of what I was feeling into the album.”
He also talked about how the pandemic helped give him the space to create this album, as he wanted it to be a personal project. “If anything, COVID gave me the time to just be at home and just have all these feelings and nowhere to go and no one to see, so it allowed me to have time to just reflect and make something out of it.” Professor Wissick commented, “I like how it uses contemporary sounds to express universal emotions as part of his personal experience, and builds on his long experience with classical music, as well as skill with technology.”
As this was a quarantine album, Ben fully made the album on GarageBand at home, everything written, composed, and performed by him. He played mostly on a mini keyboard, but also cello and piano during the album. However, he did have a friend, Veronica Siebert, an opera student at the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester, perform some vocals and another friend, Jace Weyant who attends Sarah Lawrence, do some final mastering on Logic Pro to make sure it sounded professional for streaming.
Ben is excited to have his first album out in the world, and for the emotional weight that was lifted off him through the process. “I was able to put all these feelings into a place and set it aside.” The album has also opened the door for future collaborations. “I’ve already… connected with some smaller filmmakers who have talked about using my music and maybe collaborating on a project.” In fact, Ben has already begun to collaborate on some individual tracks and is glad to know that he’s capable of such a large project on his own.
He hopes listeners can take time to listen to the album closely, to understand the emotions he was trying to convey through this passion project.
by Audrey Ladele
Listen to Coming Out of It on Spotify or below.