We sat down with Benj to discuss his new single, B!ngo!, currently in the running for UK Christmas Number One, how he found his time at ACC and why he’s championing bingo as an activity for a new generation.
Hi Benj, when, where and what did you study with us?
I studied at ACC Birmingham from 2010-2012. I completed the Performing Musician Level 3 Extended Diploma. The course allowed me to understand that it is possible for you to make a career in the music industry in multiple ways and performing is just one of the fun, practical ones.
What first got you into bingo, and how does it feel to be ‘National Bingo Game Caller of the Year’?
I started bingo calling while I was searching for a music venue position after the pandemic. I came across an ad online that said “Show Host wanted” but didn’t go into much detail. When I turned up for the interview I found myself in a bingo hall. Being both the National Bingo Game Caller of the Year and Mecca Bingo’s Caller of the Year is a massive motivational boost. To think that the bingo industry sees me as an ambassador and the music industry accepts my song shows that if you’re true to yourself and consistent, great things can happen.
You’ve released a single, B!ngo!, with Mecca’s support, how has your time at ACC helped you develop the song?
One of the first things ACC teaches you is to “identify your target audience and give them something they want”. I collaborated with a massive company because it fit their target audience. We are going for Christmas number one with the song.
There are many ways to be successful in the music industry and collaboration is just one of them. Understanding the industry and where you fit within it is important.
What made you want to write and release the song?
I wrote this song after working in a bingo hall for a few weeks. The atmosphere in the hall was great, the people were happy. I hadn’t known bingo catered for all ages. I thought it was just for grannies and pops but I saw people coming in for first dates, group parties, etc. I wanted to find a way to change the perception of what bingo is.
What has the response been like to the single?
Everyone has been very supportive. I was asked to appear on ITV This Morning, Heart FM & BBC West Midlands to talk about the song, with more planned. Using the skills I learned from ACC has played a big part in the song’s success.
If you got Christmas Number One, what would that mean for you and your career?
Getting Christmas number one would be a dream come true. Just thinking how many people actually like the music I make would warm my soul. It would be amazing to know that I have added a positive feeling to that many people’s day.
Do you have any highlights from your time at ACC?
I loved our trip to Sound City, Liverpool. We experienced artists and bands performing many different genres, all over the city. I also enjoyed the workshops at ACC including PRS coming in to explain what they do or popular artists explaining how they made their product work.
Are you still in touch with any of your ACC coursemates?
I created friendships with other artists and musicians there that have proven to be great music industry assets to me, as well as supporting me in my day to day life. Having someone you trust who knows what it’s like within the music industry is a massive support.
What else have you got planned for the future?
I’m releasing another single soon and planning a UK tour. The goal is to change people’s perception of bingo and entertain with my music. I have two years as ambassador and I hope to bring a new crowd of people to Mecca.
Listen to B!ngo! By BingooBenj right here.
You can also find Benj on every social media platform under the name @BingooBenj.