After his Monologue reached our Christian music video charts for back to back weeks, we reached out to Toronto artist R3fugee to learn more about the story and motivations behind his music.
Who are you?
My name is Benjamin Gideon. I go by the stage name of R3fugee (pronounced refugee). I call myself “R3fugee” because a refugee is a person who runs away from danger and finds safety and comfort in somethings else…my something else is Jesus Christ. The reason for the 3 in the name is because it incorporates the trinity and for legal purposes.
Benjamin means son of the right hand of God and Gideon means The Lord is with you mighty warrior. Before I am an artist, I am a child of God with a lot to learn and a lot to do for his kingdom, including the various communities I get an opportunity to impact.
How did you get into making music?
I started doing music when I was in 5th grade. I fell in love with Hip-Hop culture and wanted to become a break dancer and a rapper. I never thought I would be able to be the rapper, so I started taking acting and dance lessons. In addition, my cousin Nanette and I started a worship band for teens at my old church when I hit 7th grade. I started writing worship songs and poetry.
When I was 15, I was launched into a summer school program for math and I wrote a poem about a testimony. After I wrote it, I tried it out to the “Jesus Walks” instrumental by Kanye West and it flowed. After finding a friend by the name of Chrias Chunn, recording and uploading it to myspace, it reached over 1,000 people and many were sharing it on their profiles.
I felt like I wanted to pursue it, but then I lost touch with Chrias. After a 2 year Hiatus, in which I kept praying for God to give me the opportunity to use me through music, I was given the chance, meeting Kevin Gradney (Boss Stuna) the producer of my first album. After recording with him for the first day when I was 18, in the summer of 2010, God hit me with the revelation that this is the call He had on my life all along.
What’s the inspiration behind the song and music video?
This specific song was born out of anguish. I was in a season of trials and tribulations in the summer of 2011. I remember falling into a place where I hated my family, old habits were arising, my girlfriend and I at the time were fighting, but the most painful thing was not being able to hear God’s voice for 3 and a half weeks.
After 3 and a half weeks, God revealed to me that I was being tested and that one of the reasons I was experiencing the things I was enduring was because He wanted to write something powerful to people through me. This is the reason for the intro line in the song, “…I don’t know if I’m going through it so that your spirit could write lyrics unexplainable.”I was in a hotel in Toronto and at 3am in the morning, I began writing this prayer on little hotel pads and napkins. I later took it my good friend North P and produced/recorded this track at BUCKBRO Studios in Toronto.
What should fans look out for?
Fans should constantly be looking out for new videos on YouTube, new events on www.r3fugeemusic.com (under events tab), tours/tour dates and just general posts. I want to leave a mark on this generation and on this world for Jesus. I am coming with power to change any community that will have me for a show, event, outreach and etc. I love God and love people, always.
Secondly, my new album “TOUCHY SUBJECTS” will be released later this year. Stay tuned for that. 15-18 New Songs…better quality, better lyrics, deeper subjects and “Monologue” will be on it.
Also stay tuned for a radio interview with CSULB (California State University of Long Beach) November 1st at 8-10Am.
Anything else to share? How can fans get in touch?
I just pray for anyone who hears my music. I pray that they would know that I am nothing without the grace of God and that they are so precious to him. Whether you consider yourself a thug, a metal head…whether your situation is poor, rich, old, young…God loves you and is not afraid to change you in your circumstances if you let him. Religion is garbage, but a relationship with Jesus is the greatest thrill anyone can ever have.
Fans can get in touch by the following links.
YOUTUBE: BenjaminGideon223 (please subscribe)