“Think of a pie graph,” says Sean Bennett. “I’m 70 percent violinist/composer, 20 percent voguer, and 10 percent wannabe vocal powerhouse.” The Philadelphia native started playing violin in fourth grade, and took his talents to the streets of Philly at the age of 12. Fast-forward a decade, and now you can hear his sounds filling the air on the streets of Soho and in the subway tunnels of Penn Station.
Realizing that New York represents endless possibilities, the 23-year-old violinist has made the city his new stage and home. While inspired by Solange for her musical palette and Björk because, well, she’s Björk, the artist that has left the biggest impact on him is composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart — hence his nickname “Yozart.” “Mozart is my Aquarius brother, and I see so much of myself in his music and personality,” says Bennett. The Cut spoke with him about Betty Boop, self-care, vampires, and slumber fashion.
Where do you get inspiration for your work? What was the last thing that you saw that inspired you?
I draw inspiration from my experiences. It’s a beautiful way to gain perspective and heal and rejoice in the woes of existence.
What does “cool” mean to you?
Warm is the new cool. To be a warm, kind, and loving human being is to be doing your duty as a member of the Earth Club.
What three fictional characters do you relate to most?
First of all, Betty Boop is an icon. Her charm, sparkle, and wittiness are personality goals. That is all.
What are the last three songs you listened to?
I was just listening to “Underground Solutions” by Paradise 97, then did some stretching to Benjamin Britten’s “String Quartet No.2,” and had Ariana Grande’s “Safety Net” for dinner LOL.
What kind of animal would you be?
I’m not an animal; I’m a vampire.
What superpower would you have?
I would have the superpower of sensitivity and hyperfocus.
If you could master any skill (that isn’t related to your current job), what would it be?
I’ve always wanted to learn ballet/pointe. Tutu and everything.
Has how you dressed changed during quarantine? If so, what are you wearing now?
Surprisingly, my sense of style has seen a major upgrade during quarantine. But we’ll let the fashion police decide as I sit in bed wearing a camel-colored cashmere sweater with blue ball shorts … slumber fashion?
Are there any causes or organizations you are supporting?
BLACK LIVES MATTER.
Do you have a self-care routine? If so, what does that look like?
My self-care routine involves going hard in the gym, brushing my hair, stretching my body, and practicing my instrument. Oh, and taking showers.
What piece of advice has had the biggest impact on you?
A violin teacher of mine named Choon-Jin Chang of the Philadelphia Orchestra told me that you will never be perfect, but you can get really close. That stuck with me.
What is one item that has made your life better?
I am grateful to have my violin, because I’ve been able to see myself in the music I make and challenge myself to be better.
Photo: Lia Clay Miller