Keith Wallen Talks Solo Project, New Single “Summer Sunday,” and Touring with Breaking Benjamin

Keith Wallen is currently touring as guitarist and backing vocalist for Breaking Benjamin but when he is not touring with the band he is still working hard on his own solo project. Wallen has one of the most dynamic vocal ranges that we have heard in a while and can almost match his vocals flawlessly with any artist as well as creating his own signature sound that is unlike any other within his own solo music (ex. “Summer Single” single). Wallen recently released his solo single, “Summer Sunday,” and spoke with us about his solo project, songwriting, how he differs his project from Breaking Benjamin, and how music came into his life. Read the full interview below.

How’s the road been treating you guys, we just saw you in Camden, NJ and it is always a great show.
KW: Hey thanks for having me! And thanks for checking out the show, this tour has been amazing!

How do you balance your solo career, songwriting, and being a full time band member with Breaking Benjamin?

KW: It can be difficult sometimes, but there’s nothing I’d rather be doing! I pretty much work on the solo stuff between tours as much as I can. I basically came to the conclusion that I wanted to make as much music as possible for as long as I’m able to.

How does your music differ from Breaking Benjamin and how do you separate the two while writing or recording new music with the two projects?
KW: It’s pretty easy to separate the two because the styles are so different. My solo music has more of an alternative sound, so I can experiment a bit more with it. Where as with BB, the band has a definite sound and style that’s been developed over the years.

What is your writing process like as a solo artist compared to when you writing with another artist or band? As we know you’ve co-written songs like “Scars in the Making” with Fuel, “She Got Over Me” with Saving Abel, and “Call to Action”/”Lose It All” with Pillar.
KW: I would say it’s the same exact approach, and that being to try and write the best song possible. Maybe there are times where I feel like I need a faster tempo song or something like that, and I’ll have that in mind going into it.

When did you decide that you wanted to begin writing and releasing music as a solo artist?
KW: It came down to one day realizing I had a bunch of song ideas that didn’t really fit anywhere else, so the next step was to finish them and see how they all fit together. It was a very therapeutic process, but I had no idea I was starting any kind of formal solo project. I just wrote some songs, and decided to put them out, and hoped people liked them.

Who influences you as a solo artist? Any artists in particular that you look up to when writing/recording your own music?
KW: There are so many great vocalists and songwriters, it’s hard to narrow it down. I’ve always loved music from the 80’s, it reminds me of being a kid. I still listen to bands like that, Genesis, Journey, Tears For Fears, Elton John. I’m sure it influences me somewhat, if even subconsciously.

Could you tell us a brief background on yourself musically and how music came into your life?
KW: I started playing guitar when I was 15. My best friend growing up could play and he showed me some chords and a few songs. After that I was hooked. Eventually a few years later we started a local cover band and that eventually turned into my first band Copper. 8 years and many shows, drummers, managers, and label showcases later, that band ended and I had a 4 year stint in Adelitas Way. After leaving that band and writing my first solo EP, the next opportunity presented itself, and here I am 4 years later. There were countless amounts of life lessons and learning about the music business and people throughout that whole time, but you wanted me to keep it brief. 😉 One key ingredient to my musical background, is persistence. I could have given up many times. Even at the beginning, learning how to play guitar is difficult. Just like a lot of things in life, you just have to stay with it. There are also so many people I would thank, because without them I wouldn’t be here. Thank You!

You recently released your single “Summer Sunday,” which is a great song and allows you to really showcase your talent of such great, dynamic vocals which also shine vibrantly during your live Breaking Benjamin shows when you sing “Sooner Or Later” and your cover of Metallica’s “Sad But True,” which is absolutely incredible live. How did you latest song “Summer Sunday” come about?
KW: Thank you so much! “Summer Sunday” came about from a writing session with two of my friends from the band Daughtry, Brian Craddock and Josh Paul. We were trying to write for something else but when the song was completed, I really liked it and wanted to record it. My other friend Colin Brittain, who is an amazing producer, was kind enough to lend his skills on the recording aspects of it. I really loved how it came out, all thanks to my talented friends.

What are your plans for releasing new music as a solo artist? Do you foresee an new EP or LP in the works or coming soon as you haven’t released an EP since 2014 as a solo artist? Can we expect any collaborative efforts with Breaking Benjamin’s frontman Ben Burnley or any of the members of Breaking Benjamin?
KW: Right now the plan is to just release single songs for a while. That seems to be the way things are going with everyone else in the industry. I feel like with putting out a whole Album or an EP, it fades out quickly because there is so much new music being released every day, it’s hard to not get lost in the shuffle. And with collaborations with the band, I’ve written a few things with Jasen for some other projects. I kind of like to keep my solo music separate, but I’ll never rule out collaborating with anyone.

What has been the fans reaction to your new solo music so far? It seems to be great as your Spotify streams seem to be rising rapidly.
KW: It has been amazing! I’ve read so many messages and comments from people telling me how much they love the song. It really means a lot, and I can’t thank everybody enough for even giving the song a listen.

You’re cover of “Wicked Game” is incredible, what made you decide to choose this song as a song to cover and include on your EP?
KW: The Wicked Game cover happened by accident. I had no intention of doing a cover on Allies. I was playing with some drum sounds and the song and the rhythm of it just popped in my head. It was a little bit slower paced than the original but it made it more eerie in a way. It was a lot of fun to do, and I have so much respect for Chris Isaak too, no one will do that song better than he does.

What is your biggest goal to pursue as a solo artist?
KW: The goal has always been to have a sustaining music career.

Do you foresee any solo project tours to come?
KW: Eventually I would like to get out there and play some more shows, but I’m having a blast on tour right now. There will be a time when it’s right.

What is coming in the near future for your solo project?
KW: More music!

Anything else you’d like to tell your fans or soon to be fans? Where can they find you online?
KW: I Love You!!! And for all news and updates follow my Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @kjwallen and my website is www.keithwallen.com

Thanks so much for sitting down to chat with us today, greatly appreciate your time.
KW: Thank you so much for having me!

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