Wednesbury-based The New Consistent leaves indie kid image behind - unsigned column
Birmingham-born Ben Ramsay remembers the first time he shed his 'indie boy' roots and found a musician who spoke to him from outside the genre.
"I was about 16 or 17 and my tastes started to broaden and branch out," says the 19-year-old, who grew up in Acocks Green. "I think the first non-indie artist I listened to was Loyle Carner."
Ben, who splits his time between living with his father in Worcester and his girlfriend in Wednesbury, is better known as The New Consistent (TNC). And since his Loyle Carner awakening, his ears have been open to all.
"I was about 14 when I first got into music, I was a proper little indie kid. For a few years I refused to listen to any other genre, which I think every kid goes through.
"But yeah, my horizons broadened very fast and a whole range of artists starting flooding my Spotify playlists just from reading about the ones I liked and then stumbling across people they’ve done a song with, or they’ve talked about. That's why everyone - including myself - loves music. It's just never ending.
"I’m discovering new artists and, therefore, new people to look up to and take inspiration from every day."
As promised, that inspiration list is as long as his arm. And a couple of local gems pop up too, including Walsall RnB star Jorja Smith and Ben's fellow Brummies - grime act Jaykae and musician, poet, author and Peaky Blinders star Benjamin Zephaniah.
"I’m inspired by the lyrics of Loyle Carner, Alex Turner and Dave, and the music of Rejjie Snow, Jorja Smith, Slowthai and Murkage Dave.
"But I also love watching interviews with people like Ocean Wisdom, Benjamin Zephaniah, AJ Tracey, Jaykae - I could go on forever here. It's because of the way they handle themselves and talk about their success. Work ethic - that's a big one - and then just their lifestyles like looking after yourself mentally and physically and being the best you can be. It's so inspiring."
TNC comes across as a well-rounded individual. His homage to his influences outside of music is particularly pleasing among the 'me, me, me' nature of some of his contemporaries.
"My mum, dad, girlfriend, and my immediate circle of mates inspire me every day," he admits. "It's good to not just look for inspiration from people who are famous and to feed off the people around you. I buzz off other people so much it's insane."
TNC is new on the block in many ways. His first ever live show only came less than three months ago. Keeping the family theme strong, getting on stage was something he and his siblings had touched upon before and will have drawn knowing smiles from his parents.
"Before June I’d never done a gig in my life," he admits with a laugh. "So I was quite nervous to do it really.
"To be fair though when I look back, I’ve always had it in me to be some sort of performer. Me, my brother and sister always used to dress up and do plays for my mum and their dad, or pretend to be in a band. There's some videos of us doing it somewhere that I really wanna find.
"I'd always had the intention to be a performer when I got into music, it just took a bit of time to find out within myself how I wanted to perform and how I wanted the world to see me as a musician. But now I’m going I cant get enough - I love it."
He really can't. Recently, his new single Rude Boys came out. And this followed on the heels of an EP - Individual Social Accounts and Commentary - which came out before that and was produced by Austin 'Ozzy' Williams of Birmingham band Swim Deep.
"I’d had Rude Boys written at the same time as I had the songs for the EP ready and it felt like it was a natural progression from those sets of songs, which is why it wasn’t included in the EP. The new stuff is taking shape and starting to fit into a certain style or sound now, so this single kind of bridges the gap between both old and new music. Its also a song I’d written and produced solely by myself."
The response has been just what he wanted.
"Because I put a lot of music out before even playing one gig I kind of did everything the opposite way to the blueprint, so it was weird building a small following online first before taking it live. It felt natural to me though, and I’ve had amazing support from blogs.
"It's helped me gain interest. I’m finding my niche and the people within that niche are slowly starting to open their ears."
And now he's jumped on stage the bug has truly set in. And the calendar for the rest of 2019 is filling up nicely, starting next weekend.
"On September 15 I’m headlining the BBC Introducing stage at Worcester Music Festival which is quite cool. Then the day after I’m playing at The Sunflower Lounge supporting Strange Cages. I’ve got more throughout the autumn booked in that are yet to be announced too.
"Into winter, I’m hopefully doing a few sessions in the new series of [former Unsigned column production] RawSound.tv, a few more features to come and I may drop one or two acoustic live sessions. Then just before Christmas I’ve got a big, big surprise that I cant wait to announce."
For updates on The New Consistent's announcements and tickets to any of the gigs mentioned, follow him on Twitter @tnewconsistent and Instagram and Facebook, both @thenewconsistent. His EP can be heard on his Spotify and Soundcloud pages.