The swanky and sort-of-new hot spot Room 84, on the corner of Newark and Washington streets in Hoboken, isn’t just a plush lounge for Hudson County’s nightlife elite. It’s also the backdrop for a new music video by Hoboken resident Andrea Benham, who began shooting the video for her single “My Life” at the establishment back in March.
Benham, who moved to Hoboken last October, has four albums out. But before she was an up-and-coming performing artist, she was a bartender at the 84 Washington St. location back when Room 84 was the local Hoboken haunt Bar None.
“The song is basically about a girl that is continuously trying [to succeed] but no matter what she does, people are always knocking her [down],” Benham said.
“You have to take your own gratification, no matter what happens.” – Andrea Benham
“At the end of the day,” she said, “you have to take your own gratification, no matter what happens.”
The storyline of the video mirrors the strong lyrics of the song. “The video definitely represents a story,” Benham said. “I walk into a room and my boss is telling me off, and then I go to another guy and he’s like ‘I’m done with you.’” And of course, the pop dance video ends with a bang. “We have a big party scene,” she said.
But for Benham, the making of the video was anything but a party. The artist might be a talented performer, but is certainly one to micromanage.
“The hardest part of making the video was the schedule,” she said. “I was in dance classes and then I would have rehearsal. I’m kind of a do-it-yourself artist, so I did everything from the fashion of the video to the storyline, hiring camera people, the choreography. I like to do it all on my own.”
Although many artists wouldn’t have been able to juggle all the responsibilities of shooting a video, Benham said it was all in a day’s work. “This is what I love to do,” she said, “so it was a lot of fun.”
Singing since 7 years old
Benham split her time growing up between Hillsboro and Ipswich, England, where her father is originally from. “I used to spend my summer in Ipswich,” she said. “I absolutely loved it.”
She has been performing since she was 3 years old and was writing original music soon after. “I started singing at 7 years old.” The artist said that Hoboken was a natural choice for a city girl.
“I always wanted to live close to the [Manhattan] so Hoboken is perfect for me,” Benham said. “I can hop on the bus and hit up class.”
Benham studies everything from “ballet to hip hop to jazz funk” at the Broadway Dance Center. Although the artist is a well-rounded dancer, dancing is just a part of a budding pop star’s training. “I just try to keep up that part of me,” Benham said, “being a performing artist.”
When asked whether her life has changed since first writing “My Life” eight years ago, Benham was emphatic.
“Without a doubt,” she said. In 2008, she sat on the DJ Times International Artist Panel – a roundtable where long-time artists give advice to young talents. Two other notable participants at the conference: Deborah Cox and Lady Gaga.
“That was when [the Lady Gaga song] ‘Just Dance’ was about to drop,” she said. “It’s about lending your experience in the business to younger artists. It was awesome.”
Sean Allocca can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org