Singer-songwriter Ben Krieger on his debut single "Burden On Me"
Singer-songwriter Ben Krieger just released his debut single “Burden On Me” this Valentines Day. The song is a lighthearted, catchy pop tune that features honest lyrics and intricate storytelling. Ben Krieger is making an outstanding impression in the music industry, putting out a pop hit like “Burden On Me” to catch your ear with clever melodies, charming rhymes, and captivating guitar riffs that get stuck in your head after the first listen.
Ben’s endearing personality and positive aura only compliments the young artist’s intriguing sound which is sure to attract attention in the music industry. Although Ben is only 17 years old and just starting off in his music career, he brings a certain level of maturity into his songwriting with introspective lyricism and complex layers. Ben Krieger is an old soul, and this charismatic singer from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida holds undoubtable talent that is sure to bring him all the way to the top.
“Burden On Me” depicts the complicated yet exciting emotions laced into experiencing love at a young age. The single fits in perfectly with today's radio hits, and “Burden On Me” is an essential addition to your bedroom pop playlists. The young singer’s striking vocals match the quality of current pop phenomena like Ben Platt, Ed Sheeran, and Joshua Bassett, with a bright tone that pulls the ear of every listener.
Although this is his debut single release, Ben has quite an eclectic background in the music and entertainment industries. Ever since a young age, Ben has been passionate about theatre, and the talented actor spent three years working in professional musical theater in productions such as Les Misérables and Fiddler on the Roof as well as the Broadway tours of Pippin the Musical, Sound of Music, and Finding Neverland. Just recently, Ben shot a Nickelodeon TV show called "California Dreamin" alongside Grammy Award winner Ryan Tedder. Ben has already racked up an impressive resume in the entertainment industry, and fans of his can look forward to a lot more exciting content on the way.
We were able to speak with Ben about the release of his new song and learn a bit about his intentions and background as a musician.
Scroll down to read the full interview and listen to Ben Krieger’s debut single “Burden On Me” out now on all streaming platforms.
You’ve been writing music for a while now, what made you decide that the song “Burden On Me” was going to be the debut single for your career?
“I wrote that song at the house of my girlfriend at the time. Her and her mom were in the kitchen, and I was in her living room with her dad’s guitar. I wrote the song in like 15 minutes. I think there was something that I just liked about it, because it came out so easily. It was really catchy, and I always wanted my debut song to be something that could get caught in people's heads. I didn't want it to be anything too out there. I wanted it to show who I was and my sound as an artist, but also sound like a pop hit. I always felt like ‘Burden On Me’ should be my first impression in front of people. I'm glad it was, because a lot of people really like it.”
Are you happy with how the drop of “Burden On Me” went? Is there anything that surprised you about the process of releasing a single?
“The only thing that surprised me was that people actually listened to it. Certain people reached out to me who I wouldn't expect to like the song. I have friends who listen to artists like Frank Ocean. I love that kind of music, but it's definitely not me. It was cool to see people who dig that kind of stuff also digging my stuff and reaching out to say how much they love it.”
Was there a specific moment or experience that prompted you to write “Burden On Me”?
“My girlfriend and I had been dating for about eight months, and I had to leave town for around two weeks for work. It was a rough time for us, but I was in her house after coming back for a week and it felt really nice to be back with her family and hanging out with her again. In that moment, I was just thinking about how there was nothing that would ever persuade me not to be with her. The line, ‘you're hurting on me if you're not a burden on me’ really displayed my feelings. I was looking at the glass half full as opposed to half empty. Sure, we had been fighting recently, but pushing for this to work was something uplifting for myself, and we are always going to love each other no matter what happens.”
Was the process for writing the single similar to how you have written songs in the past?
“Most of the songs I've written start with just me and my guitar, and I write the whole song right there. Then, I usually move to my computer and put it into the session. For this song, I already had the main guitar riff. I was sitting in her living room playing this guitar part that day, and the whole song just came out. I remember that I really loved the lyric, ‘you're hurting on me if you're not a burden on me’ because of the rhyme to it, and that was my fuel to keep going. Sometimes I'll stop after one chorus when I write because I need some time, but ‘Burden On Me’ was done in less than 25 minutes. It was so catchy that it felt like I knew the words before I even wrote them. I always felt connected to it.”
"‘Burden On Me’ was done in less than 25 minutes. It was so catchy that it felt like I knew the words before I even wrote them. I always felt connected to it.”
Do you have a favorite memory from writing “Burden On Me?”
“This was the first song where I took the session I did in my room and brought it somewhere else. I used to produce everything myself, and I tried to learn how to mix, but I never got a sound that sounded professional. This time, I called my friend Dylan, who graduated from my high school a few years ago. He's a genius at the technical side of stuff. I showed him a few songs, and he was like ‘Yeah, Burden On Me should be the first release.’ So I brought it in and asked him to just record the baseline. But then he was like, ‘Since you're in the studio, we can make these drums and trumpets real if you want.’ I thought it was a great idea. I brought my friends Sam Schwartz and Jonathan Tordi, who go to my school. Recording the trumpets was so fun. Jonathan was in the studio, and I was pressing the button to intercom, saying, ‘Okay, now do a third higher’ and ‘Now do a little more vibrato at the end and crescendo into it.’ And he was just doing it because he's so incredible. It used to be just this one trumpet line, but by the end of it we had these huge stacks of trumpets and harmonies. The whole process of that was just really cool.”
Are there any artists or songs that you were listening to during the time that you were writing this song that might have influenced how the single turned out?
“Two people who have always influenced me are John Mayer and Ed Sheeran. I started songwriting at eighth grade, and I listen to everything now, but back then I only listened to artists who were songwriters like Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, and Jon Bellion. I watched a lot of videos on Ed Sheeran back then, and I've learned a lot from watching him. I hear my music becoming a lot of what I listened to in John Mayer as well. Because of John Mayer, I've started writing with guitar parts. I always need a guitar part to start writing. Chords don't suffice. I don't really picture myself playing shows with a whole band. I picture myself kind of like Ed Sheeran, playing by myself. I need to have those dynamics with just me and my guitar, and I need to have cool parts that fill the space of where a band would be to keep it interesting.”
Do you find it easier to write in front of real instruments vs a computer?
“I'm becoming more of a producer, and I really love it. But when I'm writing on my computer, I almost don't feel like it's music, which sounds weird because it is music. It sort of feels like it's not me. Anything I end up writing on my computer, I'm just trying to make it sound cool. Writing with a guitar and a notebook feels like I'm on an island somewhere, and everything I'm creating is going to be truthful. Even writing things down in my notes app sometimes makes me a little uncomfortable. Writing with a physical pencil and paper, that's something. It's like a moment.”
"Writing with a guitar and a notebook feels like I'm on an island somewhere, and everything I'm creating is going to be truthful."
If you could describe the single in three words, what would they be?
“Fun, charming, and catchy.”
What do you hope people walk away with after listening to your music?
“This is gonna be a big part of the music that's to come, but my dream is for people to drive home from a long night or or to wake up and start off their big day listening to my songs because they either hype them up or help them work through some of their thoughts. I always think about the car for some reason, because that's where a lot of feelings ruminate for me as I listen to music. But I want people to finish doing something and think, ‘I want to listen to that one Ben Krieger song, because there's some escape in it that helps me with my emotions at this moment.’ I hope it either helps people feel, or maybe someone doesn't want to feel at all, and they listen to this song because it takes them to a different place. I want people to be able to empathize with the songs that I write so that I can help them with what's going on and take them to the place that they want to go. I'm always trying to look for the thing in my music that's going to make the listener feel something they haven't felt from any previous songs they played, because those are the good songs that stick with you.”
"I'm always trying to look for the thing in my music that's going to make the listener feel something they haven't felt from any previous songs they played, because those are the good songs that stick with you.”
If you could take credit for any existing album, what would it be?
“Songs in the Key of Life by Stevie Wonder. That is such a good album, but if I were to say something more along the lines of what I'm doing in my artistry, I would say the album Skylight by Pinegrove. The first track on that album is my favorite song of all time. If you need an example of a song that takes you somewhere else and makes you feel something, listen to the song “Rings” on that album. Also, Divide by Ed Sheeran, because those songs are really succinct and full of catchy material. I wish I could be in a place where I had Ed Sheeran’s skill level as a songwriter when he wrote that.”
Can you explain a little bit about what your musical background looks like?
“Musical theatre is what got me into music. I have always been a kid that when I get into something, I have to do it wholeheartedly. My sister was always doing musical theater, and then I decided to do Peter Pan at our student theatre. Once I did that, it stuck. There were auditions at a regional theater called the Maltz Jupiter, and they had this thing called ‘First Steps to Stardom,’ where they would audition children in the area to come in and play the kid parts. One of the shows that they were doing was Les Misérables. I auditioned for the role of Gavroche, and I got the part. A manager eventually came up to me after a show and said that they could get me auditions in New York. I had that boy soprano voice, which I wish I still had. My first audition in New York was Newsies on Broadway for the Less character. I got to the final two, but I was an inch too tall or something. Then there were a few other things, including Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, which was just coming to Broadway. I was in the final three for Charlie, and it would have been crazy to originate that role. But then, I had an audition for Theo in Pippin. I remember that I was at sleepaway camp, and when my parents came to pick me up, they were like, ‘Oh, by the way, in two weeks, we're gonna go on tour with Pippin.’ So at the age of 11, I went on tour for nine months. During my seventh month, I took a day off to audition for The Sound of Music national tour, and I got that as the swing for Kurt and Friedrich. After that, I auditioned for the role of Peter in Finding Neverland, which was one of the greatest parts I ever got to play. Then after all of that, I came home and realized how much I love guitar, so I started writing songs. Touring was one of the best experiences of my life. I still love theatre, and I take any chance I can to act.”
"Touring was one of the best experiences of my life. I still love theatre, and I take any chance I can to act.”
Do you think your background in musical theatre has impacted the sound that you have today or how you approach the songwriting process?
“It definitely put me in a rut of musical theater writing at first, but in general, I think it's helped me in my songwriting. As an actor, I think a lot about character development. I analyze characters to figure out who they are and where they come from. Every time I write a song I think, ‘What is this feeling? Why am I feeling it?’ I try to decipher what is happening and turn it into art. I learned that from doing musicals, and I would be completely lost without that theater background. Also, not every artist has albums that tell a story. I think there should be something special about listening to a record in order, as opposed to shuffling it. I think I definitely feel like that because of theatre. I want there to be a reason that my songs are in the order that they are.”
You also have some experience with acting on screen as well in the “California Dreamin,” special on Nickelodeon. Do you hope to continue acting for film and TV in the future as well?
“Definitely. My original career plan was to book a big part in a film or TV show and then launch my music career off of that. I love acting, and I always want to do it, but my end goal is playing arenas. No matter what, screen acting is something I always want to keep with me. Filming the Nickelodeon special ‘California Dreaming’ and touring were some of the coolest things I've ever done. I love when something comes in and just completely spins my life upside down. I’ve always found comfort in things not being expected.”
"I love when something comes in and just completely spins my life upside down. I’ve always found comfort in things not being expected.”
If you could have your ideal situation, where do you see yourself 5 years down the line?
“I'd be writing for other people, producing for other people, and I'd be in the studio working with famous artists. Most of all, I’d be making music as my own artist and have a go to producer on hand. I look at people like Olivia Rodrigo and Dan Nigro who have this great bond, and in five to 10 years, I hope to have that. I want to both write for other people and play sold out arenas on tour. That's the goal five years from now.”
If you could collaborate with any artist, who would it be?
“Olivia Rodrigo. I think we would make great music together. She is one talented songwriter, and I feel like I'm following in her footsteps in a way. When I listen to her music, it feels a lot like the kind of stuff that I'm starting to write.”
What other projects are you working on right now? What can fans of yours look forward to seeing from you in the near future?
“I'll just say, I'm graduating high school in like t-minus three months, and I've written a lot of songs in high school. It would be a shame to graduate without releasing a project to encapsulate the past four years.”
Scroll down to watch the music video for “Burden On Me.”
Make sure to follow Ben on Instagram in order to stay updated on his upcoming projects, and check out his website and Youtube to see all of his releases!