Meet: Recording Academy voting member and Grammy considered artist GLENDA BENEVIDES

Updated: Oct 3

By Bobby Leigh

Q: Can you give us a brief history on your family and what it was like growing up?

My parents were blue collar working class people, that is, both parents worked all the time so I pretty much raised myself. One of the beliefs in our family was, leave it better than you found it. Even though there wasn’t a lot of money for much of anything, my parents worked hard to make sure I had what I wanted…. and I wanted to play the violin! So, for my birthday it wasn’t a violin it was a guitar! WOW! Well, I am sure that was the best answer for low cost instrument and minimal practicing noise! Living in Oregon after leaving California I felt like an outsider. I didn’t know anyone in my new school. It was deeply challenging to make new friends and I often felt like I didn’t belong. I felt very shy and tentative around other kids in class because I was dyslexic and no one knew it, including me, until I was having problems reading out loud in front of people, then I got some support. This all led me to singing and playing music. Through music I could fully express my emotions, fully express myself with clarity. The anthem of my life became never giving up, never stopping and being fearlessly free. This freedom in music and singing helped me to reach a world stage with love, understanding and a deep confidence.

Q: Was your family into music also?

No, I’m an only child and my parents were people who occasionally listened to music. I really feel I got the music talent for singing and playing an instrument from my biological father that I never knew about until I was sixteen. That’s a story in itself!

Q: Being of Scottish decent, how has The Queen’s death affected you personally and/or professionally?

It hit me particularly at the loss of key values that the Queen represented which I think are missing today. She was a woman who represented honor and duty which I think is undervalued and misunderstood. Things like being in service or standing for what’s right with full clarity, courage and commitment. Even though it might be a bit unconventional these days one still keep one’s word. There is so much more but I believe we should never forget those who have come before us and the gifts they bring and service they offered. To add that value into a contemporary world is paramount for growth, compassion, maturity and greatness. There’s a kinda acceptance as we all get older, of time being finite and I feel the question to ask is, how have I made my mark in life? Who or what am I in service to? Am I treating myself and my life like a Queen? These are good questions to ask ourselves daily and to also renew, recommit and reevaluate who I am, and am I a contribution to those around me in life. One last thought. Who am I choosing to be involved with and work with? … does it serve the greater good and uplift?

Small side note: I also found out, as my mother's side of the family was researching our family tree, that I was a descendant of Catherine Parr!

Q: When did you first discover your love of music; was it an artist or a song?

Music seemed to be on the radio so it was around me since I was four. I was in grade school when it hit me that I was going to do music. I was ten and went with a family friend to my first concert. It was David Bowie all I can think of, and I’ll never forget it, was David’s opening sequence with an art film, Un Chien Andalou. The opening scene was, well harsh! You’ll have to see it for yourself. That out of the blue shock! Well, I think it set me on a music art path for sure!

N.B.: Un Chien Andalou is a 1929 French silent short film directed by Luis Buñuel, and written by Buñuel and Salvador Dalí. Buñuel's first film.

Q: What were some of your favorite bands growing up?

Different bands for different reasons, but there were some songs that really hit me but most of it was a sound or an expression that got me caught up in the energy of a band! But, songs like, Show Me The Meaning of Being Lonely by Max Martin and Herbie Crichlow, that song just hit me in the soul when I first heard it. I had to stop the car and cry.

Emotional rich, well-crafted songs are hard to do. Tapping into real culture and being inside of and a part of what everyone’s thinking or feeling is difficult to do well, too. Mostly, I think it’s important to follow your heart and write from that place.

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Some of my favorite bands: Civil Wars, The Sisters of Mercy, The Monkees, Led Zeppelin, Steely Dan, The Cure, Prince, Tears For Fears, The Pretenders, Corporate Avengers, Depeche Mode, Sarah Vaughn, HER and above all the queen of voice and song, Rochelle Ferrell.

Love to sing with - Andrew Eldritch from Sister Of Mercy!

Q: Do you remember your first concert?

It actually wasn’t really a concert it was in the civic center of Salem and it was Rick Springfield. Lol!

Q: Other than singing, what instruments do you play?

I play guitar, piano and sometimes the mandolin, but singing is a serious craft and it takes a lot of work daily to be excellent - I take voice lessons and practice every day. Pavarotti was a master at that and he took deep care of himself on all levels. He was a masterful master vocalist! I have adopted that way of being, so I can grow and continue to fine tune my instrument. The Voice. It can be a very magical and powerful instrument if it’s cared for, tuned and fully expressed!

Q: Can you tell me about your first time performing in front of people?

I was singing at four years old with the radio and my first audience was for my parents friends that had come over. They were proud of me and such a big voice that they wanted everyone to hear. My first large audience was in ninth grade, then that following year I sang on main stage at the Salem State fair. I was sixteen and I wanted to be apart of a musical revolution of the heart.

Q: Can you tell me about some of your first bands you were in?

OH MY! Im laughing but we all need to start somewhere and someone needs to believe in You. That was what happened. My unofficial audition was when I was waitressing (my first job) and I saw a band setting up in the bar area and I said to myself. I wanna be in a band maybe that band. So, I started singing to the music that was playing, (really loudly) and one of the band members heard me and said to the other guys, “Hey, she’s got a great voice! Lets see if she’ll come audition for us!” That is how it all started. I spent the next twenty years honing my craft, learning how to entertain, touring the US, and more. I did play a few other instruments along the way. piano, drums and guitar.

Q: What are some of your major influences?

I would say Rochelle Ferrell, I love her five-octave range and she is a heavenly songwriter, Sarah Vaughn, Dakota Staton, Big Mama Thornton, Robert Johnson, Howlin Wolf. I love their style and soul. Songwriters John Paul White, Rochelle F, Kacey Musgraves - killer songwriters!

Q: I heard that you also have a podcast, What’s that about?

I do, It’s called Glenda Benevides Music and Global Badass Goddess. I started with Goddess interviews in 2018 when I was in Boston. We started as a “goddess” magazine first then we segue into YouTube channel interviews. I wanted to interview women who were standing for something, who had clarity, courage, confidence and commitment. Women from all walks of life cultures and backgrounds. I wanted their voice to be heard and to give expertise in their chosen profession a voice which supported their business visibility. Now, with Glenda Benevides Music interview I speak with other artists who have expert insight and wisdom to share with the rest of the music community and also people who are just curious. For example speaking with Elisa Fiorillo. She was off to a great start back in the 80’s with her solo career and from there she ended up singing with Prince for 6 years on the road. You see what I mean? Those behind the scene powerful stories that no one will ever necessarily hear about. - Interviews and music videos

Q: And you also have a book published? Please tell us about it.

It’s called Courage, Find Your Fire and Ignite Action In Your Life! I wrote it for several reasons. One, I was curious if I had anything to say that would uplift people and the second was to challenge my dyslexia and have a breakthrough. So, I said I will write an outline and see what comes out of it. I then said I would write thirteen chapters and I did it for fifteen days. It hit me that what I wanted to share was how I overcame obstacles to have the career I have, and what that was like to not give up. It was gonna be about four stages ones goes through to truly have what they want. I started with Clarity first, then you can access the Courage that will create Confidence which leads to Commitment. The Key is you have to choose. You’ll have to read it. It’s a glimpse inside my own journey as an artist and musician replete with challenges and triumphs.