Fans of Ben Barnes all over the globe know him as Prince Caspian from The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (from The Chronicles of Narnia franchise), Billy Russo from Marvel’s The Punisher, Logan Delos from HBO’s Westworld, and Neil McCormick, Bono’s best friend in Killing Bono. More recently, he starred as General Kirigan in Netflix’s #1 show, “Shadow and Bone” (season two has been green lit).
Today, on his 40th birthday, Barnes is celebrating the milestone in a big way and giving his fans the one gift that they’ve been waiting years for: his debut EP is finally being released this fall.
After years of being directed, written for and edited in movies and television, this is his moment to shine the light on the five songs on Songs For You, lovingly crafted at his piano at home and presented unedited and straight from the heart. The highly anticipated debut EP will be released October 15 via Label Logic, as distributed by Ingrooves.
“11:11” is a track that could not be contained to one genre. The soul-pop vocal soars over a jazzy piano, sacred-feeling organ, Queen-inspired guitars and a bursting “Penny Lane” piccolo trumpet fanfare. As Barnes reflects, “I’m fascinated in acting by the duality of people, and that we all have the capacity to feel everything and more than one emotion at a time. I feel that way too about my songs. Even if they seem to be about one thing, I’m interested in conflicting emotion and transitional feelings…the in-between. ‘11:11’ is about real love; the kind of love where you would give up all your wishes for the one you love to feel whole…even if it costs you, even if they can’t ‘be yours.’”
With the ‘70s-style, rich, entirely organic instrumentation of all the tracks on Songs For You—produced by John Alagia (Paul Simon, Dave Matthews, John Mayer, Herbie Hancock) and Jesse Siebenberg (Ke$ha, Miranda Lambert, Neil Young, Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald)—Barnes is baring his soul through his music for the first time; hopeful, joyful, passionate, nostalgic, vulnerable and loving. The lyrics to most of the songs, he explains, came from “poetry written for a loved one or just for myself, a long-forgotten phrase I jotted down in a notebook years ago, inspired by a photograph, a moment, a quotation, or in the case of one song, a story I read about a female pirate!”
For the past months, since before the pandemic started, Barnes has been filming himself in his Los Angeles home at his piano performing his favorite songs, including a stirring rendition of the Friends theme in honor of the HBO Max reunion special, which has prompted his 2.5 million social media followers to wonder and plead when he’s finally releasing music of his own.
About the EP title, Barnes shared, “Songs For You comes from one of my favorite records, ‘A Song For You’ by Leon Russell (but the Donny Hathaway version, of course), from wanting the songs to speak intimately to anyone who listens to them, and because if a song is written for you, you know who you are.”