Benny Hester : biography


Hester auditioned and was chosen to sing with “The Texas Boys Choir”.

He became the youngest member of the Texas Swing Band “Sam Weaver and The Texas Playboys”, and appeared on the band’s weekly television show playing alongside guest music legends including Johnny Gimble and Ernest Tubb.

While in high school, Hester was one of the founding members of the popular pop-rock band “The Morticians”. He wrote songs for the group and included them in sets for the band’s sizable revved up audiences. Headed now by original band member Joe Hall, “The Morticians” continue to play concerts regularly -

Hester was hired to play in the live stage band and orchestra for the long running musical “Texas” and continued with the show for two years. While performing in “Texas” he founded the singing duo “Hester & Hilton” with partner Steve Hilton. “Hester & Hilton” performed their own songs along with stylized takes on songs by their favorite artists. While playing El Paso, Hester was asked to write two songs for a recording session by the group “The Sojourners”. It turned out to be his first professional recording session as a songwriter. The two songs were produced and engineered by Norman Petty and recorded at Norman Petty Studios in Clovis, New Mexico, where Hester had the opportunity to work with the legendary Petty and record in his hit studio. Hester and his older brother, a music fan with a ten-year head start on him, grew up singing and listening to Buddy Holly songs. Norman Petty produced and recorded those songs. Hester coincidentally attended Texas Tech in Lubbock, TX, home to Petty and birthplace of Holly.

"Roundhouse" Television Series on Nickelodeon

From 1992 to 1996 Hester was Co-Executive Producer, Music Producer/Musical Director and Songwriter for the award winning Nickelodeon/MTV Networks television series Roundhouse. He was nominated for seven songwriting and music producer awards, winning for “I Can Dream” (Cable Ace Award) and “Can’t Let Go” (Hollywood Foreign Press Youth In Film Award) in the best “Original Song” for television categories. He also received three Television Cable Ace Award nominations for best “Variety Special Or Series” as Co-Executive Producer of Roundhouse.

The twelve member "triple threat" cast of Roundhouse received "Outstanding Ensemble Cast In A Youth Series Or Variety Show" as awarded by the Hollywood Foreign Press Youth In Film Awards.

Hester is the recipient of the prestigious “Ollie Award” for “Excellence In Television Programming For America’s Children”, presented by the American Center for Children's Television.

Benny Hester and record producer Howard Benson prepared the first Roundhouse Cast album for release on Irving Azoff's Giant Records (Warner Music Group). The Irving Azoff/Giant Records album masters contained six Roundhouse Cable Ace nominated tunes, including the Hester/Sheffield penned Cable Ace winner "I Can Dream". Nickelodeon exercised its 50% approval right by blocking the first of four Roundhouse cast albums, which included five solo artist spinoff options. Simultaneously Nickelodeon withheld approval of the use of the cable channels name in association with the 30 city Roundhouse concert tour by Pace Entertainment Corporation's Pace Theatrical, a subsidiary of Live Nation Entertainment. The Disney Channel, under the leadership of former Nickelodeon employees, recognized the missed opportunity and jumped ahead of Nickelodeon in music driven television for the "tween/teen" market, eventually surpassing them in viewer ratings.

Las Vegas

Hester moved to Las Vegas, Nevada where he met music producer and recording engineer Brent Maher. He taught music at a private music school, recorded “Hester & Hilton” demos at Bill Porter's United Recording Studios, and later formed a successful jingle advertising company, MusAd, which dominated the Las Vegas radio and television market for ten years. He penned the song for Hickory Farms Of Ohio and Nevada’s largest newspaper, The Las Vegas Review Journal, with the slogan “The RJ is Las Vegas” appearing on billboards and ads still. Together Hester and Maher wrote and produced commercial songs for many Las Vegas hotels and banks, Nevada's largest home builders, trendy clothing manufacturers and outlets and notably, at the request of coach Jerry Tarkanian, the original University Of Nevada Las Vegas fight song and school song for the UNLV “Runnin’ Rebels” basketball team. Maher went on to produce Hester's first two albums, the self-titled Benny..., on Bill Porter's VMI Records/Vegas Music International, and his first CCM album for Billy Ray Hearn's Sparrow Records. Hester first became a Christian while attending an evangelical rally at a traveling tent crusade called Christ is the Answer. He later attended a local church called The Neighborhood Church.

Living octopus

Living octopus

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