Artist Highlight: Benjamin Mancillas

Instagram: @benjamin_mancillas

Known for his indie music and funny videos taking place in his community, Benjamin Mancillas pushes for his audience to never stop being creative. He is a 29-year-old musician and content creator from Salinas, Calif.

“I try to be a part of the community as much as I can. When I say community, I mean [Monterey] County. That’s my target,” Mancillas said. “I try to promote people to get creative. No matter what it is. So many people are creative, and they push it to the side and just stop. I live here, you know? Might as well be more involved. It doesn’t take much trying to be a little involved with where you live.”

Mancillas and some of his friends started making these videos of them at different community events and places, interviewing people in a joking manner. He does this to get a laugh out of the people he interviews and his viewers in hopes that he brightens their day.

Mancillas explained he has been making these videos over the past couple of months, due to current events. “I noticed that with everything going on with COVID, Ukraine, and Russia, people watch the news and get anxiety and a lot of people struggle with anxiety or depression. I’m hecka goofy, dude. I’m a spaz sometimes.”

In addition to his videos, Mancillas started his creative endeavors with music. Starting with just a ukulele at age 26, he has created two albums over the course of three years.

“I have an album out called ‘Strangely Poetic.’ It’s the album I’m most proud of. The first album I made felt mechanical, and I didn’t have any emotional attachment to it,” he explained. “When I made ‘Strangely Poetic,’ I took my time, and it was right when COVID was starting. Every song, even if it’s just an instrumental, I have specific memories when I was writing them.”

He was also featured in a photo series curated by California State University, Monterey Bay Visual and Public Arts senior Samantha Saldaña that was displayed in the Otter Student Union in March 2022.

“She decided to do this whole cowboy, sad clown theme. It’s funny. I haven’t told her this – I felt that’s a funny way of seeing me because my music is emotional and serious, but my personality [is] funny, so it’s like sometimes, I feel like a sad clown.”

Mancillas will be performing at the XL Public House in Salinas on May 14, and at LVL Uproad in San Jose on June 3.

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