He may be young, but 12-year-old musician Stefan Benz is wise beyond his years. So wise, in fact, that he’s crushing on older girls and penning songs, like his latest track, “Cool 4 Me,” about them.
“We all have that person, maybe at school, who you think is too cool for you and that you really don’t have a chance with. That’s what this song is about,” Stefan told us while catching up before his performance at the U.S. Open’s Arthur Ashe Kids Day. “And ‘Cool 4 Me,’ in my case, is about a grade 7 girl.”
While he wouldn’t divulge who that special middle school gal is, he did reveal how he landed in the music industry and put out a vibe-y pop single before even reaching his teen years.
“When I was eleven last year, I went to a competition in Long Beach called World Championships of Performing Arts, where [music producer] Manny Mijares was a judge,” Stefan explained. “He took a video of me in the semifinal, and he sent that video to [former president of Republic Records] Charlie Walk.”
Since then, Stefan’s been hard at work writing, recording, and performing for his growing fanbase. Oh, and he’s been flying back and forth between continents to do it.
“I’m from South Africa, but I’m immigrating to the U.S.,” he said, revealing that while he doesn’t plan on releasing much music in Afrikaans, his native language, another bilingual superstar has inspired him to consider doing so — at least once. “The other day I heard the Portuguese version of In ‘My Blood’ by Shawn Mendes, because he also speaks Portuguese. So I may do something like that in the future.”
But as for the present? Stefan’s focusing on his original music in English, like his new songs Promise Me, Over You, and of course, Cool 4 Me. During his eight-song set at Arthur Ashe Kids Day, he sang all three tracks in addition to covers of hits like Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and Jonas Brothers’ ‘Sucker,’ just to name a few.
“I’m definitely the most excited for ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’ but that’s of the covers,” Stefan said. “I think overall I’m most excited for ‘Cool 4 Me’.”
And the young singer has a lot more to be excited about, too: he plans on releasing an original song every month for the next several months, until he has enough music compiled to put out an EP. And then, he’ll tour.
“We’re gonna start being a lot more busy with performing,” he said, noting how eager he is to travel across the U.S. for the first time. “I’ve only been in three cities in America: Orlando, LA, and New York. So there’s a lot of places I haven’t been.”
Check out Stefan’s music here.