By Paige Smart
Whitney Young

Young and full of energy, Jordan “JT” Benker is the latest up-and-coming singer/songwriter from the Chicago area. A 2009 graduate of New Trier, he attended Berklee College of Music in Boston for two years after high school.

Benker speaks with the type of free spirit that entices you to find out more about him, not only as a musician but as a person.

He said he knows all about what it takes to go for your dreams. “You can’t be afraid to take a risk,” Benker said. “You have to put yourself out there.”

Although he’s not currently signed to a label, his fan base is rapidly increasing. “I like the way he performs,” said Ashleigh Honesty, a senior at Whitney Young. “He’s one of those artists that like to have fun with his audience and he also seems really down to earth.”

Performing for his “awesome fans” is something Benker takes pride in. “I love to perform,” he said. “It’s just me up there alone and my guitar so you have to bring the energy.”

Last June, Benker released an album titled “Listen Up, Baby!” He’s currently working on a new EP. “I would call my music dance/rock even though it’s not really a genre,” Benker said laughing. “I’m doing a few shows here and there but I’m hoping to hop on a tour really soon!” He added that he can’t release tour info just yet.

Who inspires Benker, you wonder? “I grew up listening to classic rock; The Beatles are my favorite,” he said. “They really influenced me the most, but as far as modern artists, The Ready Set, All Time Low, 3OH!3, Panic! At The Disco. Bands that share that similar image and … the same kind of vibe.”

Benker writes his own songs on top of everything else he already accomplished. “Sometimes, a song will come to you at, like, 4 a.m. and you just have to go with it,” he said. “Sometimes those are the best songs.”

Benker’s newest single is called “Pull Out the Power.” Check him out at facebook.com/jtbenker or listen to his music at myspace.com/jtbenker. You can also watch his videos on YouTube.

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The Mash is the Chicago Tribune's newspaper and website written for teens, by teens. The paper is distributed for free every other Thursday at Chicago-area high schools and is written largely by high school students.

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