We had the good fortune of connecting with Henri Benard and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Henri, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I pursued a creative and artistic career because I honestly believed there was no other option for the life I wanted to live. I never wanted to be controlled by a job (funny I say that now because a career as an artist is very demanding and time consuming work). I knew that if I applied my skills correctly in this world, I could work for myself and have fun while doing it. That was certainly a major motivating factor, as too many people dislike their jobs and want more fulfillment from their life than their 40 hour/week job can offer. I also knew I wanted to travel and see lots of places on this earth. I knew even back when I was just getting started that the beautiful notes of music could take me to lands afar if I worked hard and believed in my abilities. And I really wanted a life and career that I could look back on that I was proud of and most of all, that I really had fun and enjoyed my years. And I am thankful and humbled by the continued support around my life and my career as as an artist. I would not be here without so many amazing people standing in my corner. All love everyday!

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My art focuses on three categories: Music Education, Music Performance, and Music Production. I feel like this is a secret weapon I posses, because I understand the industry, and music itself, from so many different viewpoints. I know what it is like to connect with the beginner student who is just super excited about playing their instrument for the first time. I know the adult who thinks it might be too late, but is going to try their best to be fearless in learning a new skill in their life. I know the performer who is nervous and lacks confidence in themselves and wonders if they’ll ever be “good” enough. I know the performer who creates amazing connections with people that can make impacts for a lifetime. I know the person who thinks that a career in music is for them, but behind the scenes. I know the music fan and how songs can touch the soul and change your life. I know the difference between what music is like live versus the studio world. I am the creative who is fearless and will always have music in his heart. I still love writing, recording, and playing music now more than ever. And I am most proud of the fact that I have been gifted to have a real career in music and the arts. It is the path I always wanted to follow professionally and emotionally, and I still to this day feel a deep connection to my work, in whatever realm I am working in. I would say it is an even deeper connection now than it was 10 years ago, because it is a huge part of my life and identity. I don’t know where I would be without, honestly. It has definitely not been an easy road on the daily to maintain a career, but somehow, I keep finding new ways to expand and grow as an artist and professional. I certainly had my list of “I don’t think I’ll ever be able to do that” negative self talk in my life. I just have always had to leave “fear” at the door when trying new stuff, as I find that to be critical to my growth and success professionally. I just had to always believe, and continue to believe, “I belong here.” And it has benefitted my well-being immensely. Is it exactly what I thought it would be when I was 22? Absolutely not. Am I ok with this? 110 percent. It has been an amazing journey full of the highest highs, the lowest lows, and everywhere in between in the peaks and valleys of life. My path has already gifted me a lifetime worth of memories, and there is still so much to do along this journey. I am not sure what’s next, but I know that I am working at my skills daily, and when the next big challenge presents itself, I will be ready for it, because I am already manifesting today, not just when it shows up. Along the way, if there is one thing I have learned, it’s that you never know what’s coming your way next, and that you should always strive to do your best in any situation, because you never know what path that moment could potentially lead you on. Some of my greatest moments, and successes professionally and artistically, came about by total chance. Right place, right time, right ideas, and most importantly, the right preparation for that moment that can catapult your life into another dimension. You just have to be ready when the moments present themselves along your path and be thankful for what you got always!

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My favorite spots in the city, This is a tough one…since I haven’t really been going out lately due to COVID, and I really do not eat out very often, as I like to cook at home. But if I had a week with my best friend visiting me here in Phoenix, I would definitely sneak a visit to Matt’s Big Breakfast, The Farm at South Mountain, The Middle Eastern Bakery and Deli for some Lemon Orzo soup, Tacos Chiwas and La santisima for tacos, and if BBQ is their fancy, Stacy’s Off Da Hook BBQ and Soul Food. (I don’t really eat very much meat these days, but I can definitely make a “cheat” day for this dank!) We would also most likely visit The Superstitions, the McDowells, and maybe even the White Tanks if we can make the trip to the way west side. I love the nature, and there is so much great nature just outside of this city…it’s definitely worth the drive and the time. Always a recharge. I would want to go to a Suns game! Hang in downtown, show off all the great arts around the area! Head over to Crescent for a nostalgic bean and cheese burrito (and hopefully a show!) Stop by Bar Smith and dance at BFF on the rooftop. Ride some bikes, use the rail, make some mischief. And that list would go on and on! Who knows what kind of crazy we could get into with that much “vacation” time!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to give a shoutout to my mom actually. She has been my biggest supporter since day one, and has always been in my corner, cheering me on in whatever I have chosen to do. I definitely credit my strength, positive attitude, and work ethic to her. I think my life and views of this world would be so much different without her, and I am thankful that she raised me the way she did, to be open minded and never afraid to speak my mind and the truth. She made me value respect over popularity, and that is something I stand behind still to this day.

Website: henribenarddrums.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dread_choppo/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/dread_choppo
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DreadChoppo/
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1ritPe1RFjE7NWoXTT7uyg
Other: https://chklz.com https://weebeatsdrumlessons.com https://soundcloud.com/dread_choppo

Image Credits
Renee Fourie Zach Lewis Zee Peralta Harry Shoots It