Composer, actor, and vocalist Boychik, the musical moniker of Ben Levi Ross, shares their poignant self-titled debut album out now. Alongside the release comes a subversive, anthemic single, “Soft” where Boychik channels their quiet rage to capture the multi-dimensional power that lies within queerness. Celebrate the release with merch and much more available now at itsboychik.com.
The highly anticipated arrival of Boychik, the self-titled, ten track body of work, is years in the making. It’s one that carefully chronicles the deepest parts of the multi-disciplinary artist Boychik, and the multi-dimensional person, Ben. It necessarily brings Boychik’s queer voice and lived experiences to the forefront, bearing their heart on their sleeve, but not without bandages and bruises. “There’s a lot about the release of this record that scares me. I’ve sat on this music for many years. For a long time, writing music was a very private solitary act. But I found collaborators that created an environment for me to open up this music safely.” They continue, “Being able to expand this sound into what it is alongside Jake Luppen, Nathan Stocker and Brad Oberhofer was one of the greatest joys of my life.” With such an intimate collection of music being made public, Boychik hopes the time capsule released today is handled with care.
“Soft” is a declaration of the power that queer people hold, one that Boychik wishes to scream. “I have a sea of rage inside me that I can access, and I believe it’s actually where I hold much of my power as a queer person.” The empowering track sheds light on the multi-faceted queer experience, one that cannot be simply labeled or neatly packaged for consumption. Boychik explains, “‘Soft’ is a subversion anthem. I want to subvert the expectation that queers don’t hold power. The most powerful people I know are queer. Sissies adorning themselves with their effeminate armor every day when they leave the house. I wanted to sing for all the powerful, jagged, loud and angry queers that came before me.”
Though a tough exterior often forms naturally around queer people as a layer of protection, Boychik admits that on the inside, they are delicate. “Although throughout the song I repeat the hook “I’m not soft,” it becomes clear that underneath this powerful exclamation lies an incredibly soft person. I contain multitudes! “I cry big fat tears; they built iron over the years.” I am hard in my softness. There are dimensions to my personhood and my queerness. You cannot reduce us to a one-dimensional entity for your television program. We are layered, flawed, soft, jagged, and faggy.”
The track encourages queer people to find their own strength and resist the commonly played out trope that queer people are weak, as they’ve run into consistently throughout their acting career. “In my career as an actor, I noticed a through-line in many of the auditions I was getting. That through-line was that the roles were almost always written as either a queer person who was weak and/or bullied, or a straight cis person, but they were always a nerd or an outcast. I found it interesting that those two archetypes went hand in hand. That the only world in which I could play a straight, cis person was if they were weak, or soft. Was it because of my voice? My body? Could I only be believable as a straight, cis person if they lacked power? And the scarcity of strong, self-assertive queer roles in general was quite troubling.” Here, Boychik firmly redefines this narrative, highlighting the strength and dimensions of queer people.
After a year of studying theater at the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama, Ross exited to join a national tour of Dear Evan Hansen, where they took the titular role from 2018-2019. The LA Times wrote Ross was “sensational,” and “has a radiant strength and fills the theater with its luminosity.” The Washington Post wrote of Ross’ “rewardingly supple” voice. In 2020, they went on to star in the Kennedy Center’s production of “Next to Normal” and by 2021, they made their film debut in Netflix’s Tick..Tick..Boom!. Now, in 2022, Boychik’s artistry expands further into uncharted territory–filled with confidence, boldness and vulnerability.
Step into Boychik’s world at itsboychik.com.
Last modified: October 4, 2022