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Ben Folds Biography


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Birth Name: Benjamin Scott Folds
Born: 1966/09/12
Birth Place: Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Years Active: 1988 — present
Genres: Piano Rock, Rock


Benjamin Scott "Ben" Folds (born September 12, 1966) is an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and the former frontman of the alternative rock trio Ben Folds Five.

Ben Folds Five formed in 1993 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. They released their debut, self-titled album in 1995. The band's biggest success was the single "Brick" from their second album, “Whatever and Ever Amen,” released in 1997. It was followed by the more somber and jazz-based 1999 album, “The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner.” Following the worldwide tour in support of The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner, the band amicably broke up in October 2000.

In 1998 he contributed to the album “Volume1” by the experimental band “Fear of Pop” comprised of Folds, John Mark Painter, Fleming McWilliams, and others.

Folds's first solo release after the breakup of the band was "Rockin' the Suburbs" in 2001 in which he played nearly all the instruments. The title track is Folds' only single thus far to make Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks chart, peaking at #28. The album peaked at #42 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart and at #11 on the Top Internet Albums chart.

In 2002, he released “Ben Folds Live,” a collection of live solo recordings. In late 2003, two solo EPs, “Speed Graphic” and “Sunny 16,” were released. A third EP, “Super D,” was released in mid-2004.

He contributed to the 2003 EP, “The Bens” as part of a group with Ben Lee and Ben Kweller dubbed The Bens. It features four original songs composed by the trio.

Folds contributed to William Shatner's 2004 album, "Has Been," as producer, arranger, musician, and backup vocalist. Shatner was also involved in Folds' "Fear of Pop" project, and contributed vocals to a number of songs on the album.

His second solo album, "Songs for Silverman" was released in April 2005. The album featured Jared Reynolds on bass and Lindsay Jamieson on drums, thus returning to the trio format. This album includes the track "Late," a tribute to the late singer-songwriter Elliott Smith, and also features backup vocals from "Weird Al" Yankovic on "Time." The album reached #13 on the Billboard 200, making it Folds' highest-charting album at the time. The first single, "Landed," reached #77 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #40 on the Adult Top 40.

In October 2006, Folds released the album "Supersunnyspeedgraphic, the LP" a compilation of songs that were originally released on the EPs "Sunny 16," "Speed Graphic," and "Super D." The single "Bitches Ain't Shit" made it onto the Hot 100 as well as the Hot Digital Tracks chart.

Folds was featured in and produced Amanda Palmer's first solo album 2008’s “Who Killed Amanda Palmer.” Songs featuring Folds included, "Astronaut: A Short Story of Nearly Nothing," "Runs in the Family," "Blake Says," "Strength Through Music," "Guitar Hero" and "Oasis."

"Way To Normal" was released in September 2008 and became Folds' highest-charting album in the U.S., debuting at #11 on the Billboard 200. In 2009, Folds re-released the album in less compressed audio quality as “Stems & Seeds,” adding various bonus tracks and providing "stems" for fans to create their own remixes.

In 2009 he produced the album, “Ben Folds Presents: University A Capella” featuring collegiate a cappella music groups from the United States. Folds became interested in a capella music after hearing his song "Brick" performed by an Ohio University group. Folds was featured as a judge on NBC's a cappella competition The Sing Off alongside Nicole Scherzinger and Shawn Stockman.

He paired with English novelist Nick Hornby for the 2010 album, “Lonely Avenue.” The album contains eleven new songs featuring music by Folds with lyrics by Hornby.