Benjamin Clementine: Midnight Chats – Episode 32

Our recent break in the series wasn't planned - now our fortnightly podcast is back

If you’re a regular listener to Midnight Chats you’ll know it’s been about six weeks since the last episode. Sadly, that break wasn’t planned. It was an enforced after our offices were burgled and all of our stuff was stolen. That included our recording equipment, and two new episodes of the podcast – with Tom Morello and The War On Drugs – which won’t ever be heard. It’s a shame, but maybe those guests will come back on one day.

So here we are – the first episode back after an unplanned summer holiday, and I can’t think of a more interesting guest. Benjamin Clementine came to many peoples’ attention after he won the 2015 Mercury Prize for his debut album ‘At Least For Now’. It brought not only his talents to a larger audience, but spread his remarkable story much wider. He grew up in Edmonton, north London, with strict religious parents. He taught himself how to play piano at the local public library. At the age of 16, he left home, and was between addresses in Camden for a while before he took himself to Paris. There he was sleeping rough, but at the same time he was busking. That’s where he was spotted, and eventually went on to make his award-winning debut.

This is where we’re at – almost two years later. On 29 September he’ll release ‘I Tell A Fly’ his second album. Honestly, we barely got a chance to touch on that. Instead, the conversation went other directions. Like how he was living in a Parisian “brothel” at the time of his Mercury win, why the £25,000 he won is still in a bank account and how the arts, more generally, are insufficiently funded and under-appreciated in the UK. A fascinating character, and hopefully, the resumption of more chats like this into the autumn and beyond.

Thank you for waiting. Enjoy.