George Benson advises Miami students

Jazz musician discusses Nat King Cole, advice for aspiring artists

MIAMI - Ten time Grammy award winning musician George Benson recently made a trip to South Florida to share his knowledge about the music business with students from Miami-Dade schools.

The students arrived by bus one after another to the James L. Knight Concert Hall in downtown Miami.

"It's not often you get to speak with the performers," said one student.

Benson's career has spanned four decades and his unique skills as a guitarist and vocalist have produced hit after hit.

"I came along at a good time. Songs like 'Give Me the Night,' 'Turn Your Love Around,' This Masquerade,' 'Nothing Gonna Change My Love for You' catapulted my career to place, made it into different pockets around the world," said Benson.

Benson told Local 10's Calvin Hughes he tried to emulate Nat King Cole as an aspiring artist.

"Well, you know, Nat used to talk like this. That's how I learned to talk like this. When I talked like him, I learned to sing," said Benson. "He had that thing in his throat."

For one night, Benson shared the state with Nat King Cole's younger brother Freddy Cole as part of the Adrienne Arsht Center's Jazz Roots Series.

Benson also shared some advice for young, aspiring artists.

"I think the greatest thing that happened to me in my life is I played music for the right reason. I love music. If you perform and play the things that you love, people will feel that you love this. They can hear it in your presentation. And, that will have a much bigger impact on the audience. The rest of the stuff will come," said Benson. "The success comes after people recognize you got talent. And, then they start looking for your name. They look for those idiosyncrasies that make you your own."

"So, play because you love the music. That's my advice to young people."

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