Not many people stick with the dreams they had at 15. Many realize what they wanted at that age wasn’t in their cards and move on but not Ben Mauro. His 15-year-old self would be proud to know he’s now achieved being a professional musician out in Los Angeles, and that’s not it. Not only does Ben do his own thing, but he also tours with Lionel Richie and has worked with the likes of Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Don Felder. The Eagles member is one of the few to make him really pinch himself. Growing up a huge fan of the band he said, “When he called me to play guitar in his solo band it blew me away! Don is super cool and down to earth. Sometimes I have to admit that when we are playing the harmony guitar solo to ‘Hotel California’ and he looks over at me I really can’t believe it.”
Touring with Richie has him on the road a lot, but whenever they have some down time – he’s working hard on his own music and just this past November he dropped his debut EP, To L.A. The night before it was officially out he admitted he did have some “bubble guts” because he’d been working on it for so long and was just excited to finally share it with the world. Listening through, it’s clear that Ben has a knack for sending out good vibes through song. On that he said, “I have a very positive attitude towards life and I am glad that my positive vibe comes through in my music. I don’t think that anyone should necessarily only listen to happy music, but I am happy to put some out there in the world. I think that music is very important in people’s lives. I know that it is very important in mine. If I am having a hard day or feeling wiped out many times I will play some music to make me feel better. So yes, I am happy that my music sends out some good musical vibes,” but on the flip side he did add that sadness can make for great tunes too, “Sadness is a powerful emotion and something we have all felt and can relate to. Sometimes when I am sad I will sit down and write a song that maybe no one will ever hear, but it makes me feel better to get it out. It’s almost like if you can get it out you won’t be holding all of that stuff inside.”
Happy or sad, one thing to note about Ben is his Southern style. For an east coast boy who packed up and headed to California, he sure can play like he’s spent his life in the Big Easy. Why is that? He let us know, “One of the great things about working with Lionel Richie is that we get to travel to a lot of great places. I have been to New Orleans many times. Anytime I am in New Orleans it is just so much fun to walk around The French Quarter and listen to all the live music in the streets. I always try and absorb as much of the magic that is there that I can. I wanted to write a New Orleans style song and the idea for “This Crazy Love” just came out and came together pretty quickly. It is one my favorite tracks on tmy EP. I love the harmonica playing!”
Ben’s lived on both coasts and has traveled around the world with a music legend, so he was the best man to ask about the music scene in not only LA, but New York as well. He had a lot to say, “New York City still has a lot of great live music and there are many great musicians living there. There were a lot of things that I really enjoyed about the New York City music scene. It is really easy to see a bunch of great live bands in one night. You can walk from club to club in the Greenwich Village area. Many nights all of the professional musicians would meet up after their jobs and hang out a little. It was a real community and a lot of fun,” adding, “LA is just so much bigger. It really is the center of the entertainment world. Every club here is about a twenty-minute drive from each other, but honestly the amount and diversity of work that is available here is way more than New York City. In LA, you can audition for pop tours, play on TV shows and do studio work. All of that can happen in New York City, but on a much smaller scale.”
Traveling, recording and most importantly staying positive are things we’ve learned are very important to Ben and his career, but when you have a man like Lionel Richie in your life – what kind of advice has this singer songwriter gotten from a man like that who’s had a career that’s spanned almost half a century? According to Ben, he’s learned the way you interact with others is very important. That must be why it’s crucial to Ben that he remain true to his roots. He makes it his mission to return to his high school every year to talk to students about music and the industry, “I want them to see that even if you live in a small town that you still can make your dreams come true. Having the job of professional musician didn’t even exist in my hometown, but I still wanted to try and make it happen as my life and career. I just want to show them that someone from the school that they are going to worked hard to make his dream come true, and it happened for him. I want to inspire them to think that whatever dream they might have, however crazy it may seem, can come true.”
Now that we’ve learned about Ben Mauro, we can start to keep more tabs on him. He worked hard through the holidays in the studio working on new music and he’ll also be in Vegas with Richie for over two months as well as in Brazil, South Africa and across the UK. So stay tuned for new music from Ben and make sure to catch him on the road all year long!