MusicMag | Beck Hansen is an extremely talented and multifaceted musician who has been performing both professionally and unprofessionally since the late 80’s. As a multi-instrumentalist, singer, rapper, songwriter, and record producer, Hansen has effectively made himself into a one-man-band. Millions of people all over the world are now familiar with the name Beck, and his music has been featured in popular mainstream media such as the movie Scott Pilgrim Versus the World and won Grammys for both “Album of the Year” and “Best Rock Album” in 2015. However, Hansen’s journey to success was not always smooth sailing, and he struggled as an unknown and penniless artist trying to discover his own personal style for much of his early music career.
Madrigal Records | Beck Bio:
In Hansen’s teenage years, his music taste revolved around the blues and folk genres, and he began to perform in public spaces such as city buses as a folk musician, playing a combination of original, sometimes improvised pieces, and covers of John Hurt. He would sometimes even combine the two, singing original lyrics on top of John Hurt compositions.
Beck traveled to New York City in 1989 with little more than a guitar and some pocket change. Here, he was inspired by the level of artistic freedom that spoken word performers in the area possessed when on stage and began to write surreal, whimsical lyrics influenced by random, unremarkable thoughts and concepts, such as working at a fast food restaurant.
It was during this time that Hansen began to form the fanciful, quirky, and often capricious music style that he is known and loved for today.
Hansen made his way to LA shortly after realizing that things in New York were not quite panning out for him. Here, he would frequently play at coffee houses and art clubs. The indifference and perceived boredom of the audiences at these venues drove Hansen to take his unusual musical style a step further, making up self-proclaimed “ridiculous songs” and sometimes even donning a stormtrooper mask in a bid for the audience’s attention.
MusicMag | The Rise of Beck Hansen | Beck Bio
A turning point in Beck’s career was when he met Rob Schnapf, Carl Stephenson, and Tom Rothrock, three of the partners of an independent record label by the name of Bong Load Custom Records. Schnapf saw Beck performing live one night at a venue called Jabberjaw, and saw the young man’s potential immediately. After expressing a mild interest that he had for the hip-hop genre, Beck Hansen was introduced to Stephenson, who was a producer at Rap-a-Lot Records at the time. Shortly after their introduction, the song “Loser” was created during a collaboration between the two. However, Beck did not see the song’s true potential at the time, and thinking of it as a one-off experiment, put it on the shelf to begin delving back into his folk-inspired roots.
From “Loser” to Legend | Beck Bio
Finally, in 1993, Tom Rothrock, the man who introduced Beck to Stephenson, managed to convince Hansen to release the song “Loser” as a single, despite Hansen’s reservations about the track. To his surprise, the song almost instantly achieved radio airtime, first broadcasting throughout LA and then spreading throughout the country. The release of this single would prove to be the first step on Hansen’s path to becoming one of the most recognized and celebrated alternative rock artists in America, and effectively brought him from a disgruntled unknown artist living in a rat-infested shed in LA to one of the most beloved and inspiring music icons in the 21st century.
Beck is on tour in 2018, and you will be able to catch him at one of these cities on the upcoming dates:
- July 6th: Detroit, MI
- July 15th: Boston, MA
- July 16th: Buffalo, NY
- July 19th: New York, NY
- July 20th: Philadelphia, PA
- August 11th: San Diego, CA
- September 22nd: Morrison, CO
Madrigal Records | MusicMag ® | Beck Bio