STU student explores religion through music

Ben LeBrun (above) has used his music to connect with his faith and overcome a dark time in his life. (Liam Carleton /AQ)

Watching STU student Ben LeBrun play in front of an audience, you’d be surprised to hear he only began playing guitar three years ago and not his entire life.

LeBrun said his mother introduced him to the guitar.

“She would show me some stuff, but mainly I’ve taught myself, just playing by ear, listening to what works.”

What he’s been listening to has been working — in the quick three years since he started playing, LeBrun has published six releases on the online music platform Bandcamp since December 2018.

His latest project It’s Him released on Sept. 5 is a six-song EP that was recorded over a five-day session in late April at Sunset Blvd Studios in Nashville, TN.

‘A delinquent’

Having struggled with depression and addiction through his teens, LeBrun needed a way to change his lifestyle and mindset.

Despite growing up in a religious family, as a kid LeBrun was never really interested in going to church. Once he started high school, he was sleeping in Sunday mornings.

Looking back, LeBrun said there was a depravity in himself and it kept him looking for more.

Having realized his vices were coping mechanisms for his lack of faith, he realized he needed an alternative.

“Throughout my teens I just didn’t care. I didn’t have a relationship with God.”

But writing songs about God helped set a course.

“I was really desperate for something, and I really believe that there’s a God-sized hole in our hearts.”

His place in existence

LeBrun views his faith as being about fellowship and community.

When writing lyrics, he looks around himself for inspiration.

He tackles his relationship and other relationships with God, as he sees all interactions being divine work.

“On the track “Mystery” [for example] I’m talking about Sunday morning — I’m acknowledging that there’s something deeper.”

LeBrun has been a staple at his church, playing praise songs with the parishioners.

“It’s not really a performance, it’s leading people, and trying to unify them into the presence of God, is the best way that I could describe it. It’s really celebrating the Lord with other people,” said LeBrun.

He’s excited to cultivate his art further.

“People ask all the time what your sound is, and I don’t know. I think my sound will always be evolving based on the content I’m looking to deliver.”