benji blanco

Ben Sydoryk, whose rapper name is “The Benji Blanco,” pours a little Hennessy in front of the Maroon Bells to acknowledge friends and family he’s lost in the cover shot of his newly released EP, “Risk Takers.”

Colorado-born and raised, 26-year-old songwriter-rapper Ben Sydoryk, or “The Benji Blanco,” just released his four-song — “Kid for a Day,” “18 Karat,” “In It,” and “Never Know” — debut EP, “Risk Takers.”

His lyrics are about heartache, soul searching and the harsh realities of life. He grew up a snowboarder in Aspen who lost his father to suicide, and his songwriting details that aftermath.

 “The first song, ‘Kid for a Day,’ is my oldest,” he said. “It’s basically about how I feel about my dad dying. When I wrote most of those lyrics, I was in a bad mental place: basically depressed and in a dark place, and that's what I wanna write about until it was pretty good and solid.”

 Sydoryk continued, “The newest song, ‘Never Know,’ I heard my friend got shot in the head and he survived. So that inspired me to write a chorus and then I just made a verse from there. They're all the stuff I want to say pretty much.”

A self-described “Caucasion rhymer,” Sydoryk said he’s been into hip-hop and freestyling since he was 12, rapping in the middle school cafeteria with friends. 

“When I got to high school I was able to look up instrumentals,” the Glenwood Springs High School grad said. “I started making my own little beats on Garageband when I had access to a computer. They weren't high-quality beats at all, but then I started writing longer stuff and making my little songs to beats and to instrumentals.”

About a decade later, Sydoryk went to Hollywood to record his first EP, or extended play. Ari Blitz at Aftermast Studios — whose work includes Drake, Beyonce, Usher and Justin Timerlake — recorded and mastered the EP.

 “Recording the songs in the studio, it was a really great experience. I've never been in a professional studio, ever, so that was a dream come true right there,” Sydoryk recalled. “Working with professionals like Ari Blitz and Cas was more than I could've imagined. They helped me go through the songs, kept me motivated and advised me what energy I should have in certain lines, and it was a really fun experience. I’ve never actually put in the work and the time in a studio, and it was like eight-hour days but they felt like two hours because I was having such a good time and I loved it.”

 He said he’ll continue making music, regardless of whether it’s in a big-name studio or on his own.

 “I definitely want to keep writing new material and record it and keep going, keep making music no matter what, even if I never succeed,” he said. “I don’t even believe I will blow up as a rapper, I am just doing it for me, it's something I want to leave behind because music lives forever, people can talk about what you did after you die, but music is there forever, so I like the idea that no matter what happens to me my music will still be there and I like that.”

His songs are available on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, Amazon, and Pandora, and his Instagram is @TheBenjiBlanco.