After spending years producing and writing for some of the biggest artists in the world, Benny Blanco has a ton of stories to tell about the music industry. Ahead of the arrival of his new solo album Friends Keep Secrets 2, Blanco sat down for an interview with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe to share some of the wildest tales of his career, as well as some hilariously mundane and strange encounters with Drake.
Blanco has worked with everyone from Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber to Rihanna and the Weeknd, but even he was seemingly starstruck the first time he ran into Drizzy. It was in a bathroom at the Grammys “maybe 10 years ago,” Benny noted. “Drake walks into the bathroom and he’s right next to me at the stall and I’m like, ‘What am I...’ … What am I going to say to him?” he said, only to reveal he instead dealt with his business in there as fast as he could.
His next run-in with the 6 God was at the Grammys again. Blanco brought his parents along to the ceremony, only for them to be seated next to Drake and Rihanna. “They were really good seats. Like, second row. My mom sits down and she’s sitting next to Drake. Right next to Drake, and my dad is right next to Rihanna on the other side,” he told Lowe. “Then my mom is sitting there and she starts talking to Drake and she’s like, ‘You know, my son makes music.’ And he’s like, ‘Oh, who’s your son?’ And then she was like, ‘Oh Benny Blanco.’ And he’s like, ‘Oh, I love him. Yeah. Set us up. We got to...’ And then he literally switched seats with his dad because I think my mom was probably being so annoying that he actually switches.”
While these two stories are interesting enough, there was still a number of further strange encounters. When Blanco and Ed Sheeran were on the road in Canada, they were invited along with a few friends to a semi-exclusive party at “some place that Drake owns” the day What a Time to Be Alive dropped. “So we’re in the thing and it’s honestly like there’s 67 women and six goofy men. Goofy men in the corner. And then Drake’s crew. And Drake’s not even there yet. We’re sitting there and we’re actually…it’s honestly like out of a Seth Rogen movie. We’re on the dance floor, doing the robot and then everyone’s hating on us at the beginning. And then eventually everyone’s like, ‘Okay!’ And we’re dancing with everyone. We start the party. And then Drake comes in, we have a small interaction.”
Blanco also opened up about the time he was invited to Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s house in the Hamptons alongside Hit-Boy and others around 2010-2011. Eventually a beat battle happened at the request of Bey, which led to Jay drinking and freestyling in Benny’s ear. While he admitted they all had a lot of fun at the house, he felt a little awkward by the time he and the others there had to say goodbye.
“I remember I go in for the hug, okay? And then, I’m like, oh, I’m going to kiss her on the cheek,” he said. “I went to do like, kiss on the cheek, and I guess we just missed a little bit. And just like, I definitely hit the corner of some sort of lip. … I’m sitting there, and as I’m doing it, out of the corner of my eye, Jay-Z is right there looking at me. And I’m just like, my lip is here. Hers is there, and there’s definitely some corner things are happening. And I look at Jay and I’m like, ‘Oh, okay. I’m dead. My life is over. It was great. Nice knowing you guys.’”
The moment he accidentally kissed Bey, he noted, he thought he’d be in a coffin the next day. “My life flashed before my eyes,” he said. “No one noticed, she didn’t,” he added, seeming relieved.
Elsewhere in the chat, Benny Blanco opened up about his relationship with Sheeran and spoke about why he thinks multi-time collaborator Juice WRLD is “maybe the most talented person I’ve ever been in the room with” and “the funniest dude in the world.” He also spoke on how a still-in-progress “Diamonds”—which Blanco often hears is “the best song you’ve ever been a part of”—felt to Benny like a nice match for Kanye or Eminem, with the latter going so far as to record a song over the beat. “First of all, the second [Rihanna recorded] the song, they were completely right,” he said of production team Stargate preferring to get the track to Rih. “I was like, ‘This is the best song I’ve ever done.’ And then, this is how life works, full circle. Kanye West does a remix to the song.”
Watch a portion of the interview up top.