There’s a buzz going around the industry about a young teen singer/songwriter whose unforgettable voice is already receiving praise from major stars like Jennifer Lopez, Charlie Puth, and Charlie Walk. Hailing from South Africa, Stefan Benz is a teen sensation that originally entered the music scene after being crowned Junior Grand Champion at the 2018 World Championship of Performing Arts. His performance caught the attention of multi-platinum songwriter/producer, Manny Mijares (who has worked with Kelly Rowland, Snoop Dog, and more) who immediately signed him to his Hit Music Partners label in partnership with Charlie Walk.

Under the guidance of Manny and Charlie, Stefan began splitting time between Los Angeles and Johannesburg to continue working on his music. Stefan hit the studio and began working on his debut EP alongside hitmakers JR Rotem and Harvey Mason who have previously worked with Rihanna, Chris Brown, Justin Timberlake, and more. With his debut EP set to release later this fall, Stefan gave fans a taste of what’s to come with his first single and music video off of the project, ‘Cool 4 Me.’ Within 24 hours of its release, Stefan made history as the youngest artist to have a single featured in Spotify’s coveted New Music Friday playlist.

With more new music on the way this year, Vydia had the opportunity to interview Stefan Benz to learn more about his upcoming EP and the inspiration behind his smash hit ‘Cool 4 Me.’ Here’s what he had to say:

What motivated you to pursue a career in music?

I love how people react to my songs and voice.

Who is your biggest inspiration?

My parents are great. My mum still thinks I will be a surgeon one day. My dad knows I’m going to be a performer. I have a great team of people around me. Charlie Walk and Manny Mijares are the best.

Last year, you beat out contestants from over 60 countries to take the crown as the Junior Grand Champion at the 2018 World Championship of Performing Arts. What factors do you think sets you apart from the competition?

I don’t think I’m special. I’m just different with my young age, looks, accent, and voice.

What did you learn from this experience?

No dream is too big. If it’s meant to be it will happen.

Your unforgettable performance and unmatched vocals caught the attention of Manny Mijares who later signed you to his Hit Music Partners label. What is the best piece of advice you’ve received from this multi-platinum songwriter and producer?

Don’t be stupid, don’t be dumb, go to the mattress factory where it will be fun. Just joking. Manny taught me to push hard every day

Your music has also received praise from a variety of industry powerhouses including Jennifer Lopez, Charlie Puth, and Charlie Walk. How has this feedback further motivated you to pursue music?

Just hearing their names gives me goosebumps. How would that not be motivating? Charlie Walk is a crazy dude, but brilliant in what he does. His personality is bigger than life.

Who would be your dream collaboration?

Camilla Cabello. I love her songs and voice. She is brilliant.

You are set to release your debut EP in October! What was the biggest challenge you faced putting this project together?

It’s difficult to choose the songs to feature. They are all great and I loved writing/co-writing them. I’ve got a great team.

What are you looking forward to the most for the EP’s release?

My fans’ reactions.

What was your inspiration behind your new single “Cool 4 Me”?

Cool 4 Me is about a girl that I think is too cool for me. We all know people like that.

What can fans expect from you in 2019?

I will be dropping a new single every month.

What is a fun fact no one knows about you?

My special skill is running my eyebrows from left to right.

This is only the beginning of a very bright career for Stefan Benz. To ensure you don’t miss any of the action, follow Stefan on social media and subscribe to his YouTube channel. Keep an eye on our blog page to see who will be featured next!