You Give Me Fever: Bentley Robles

Synth-pop singer, songwriter and performer Bentley Robles photographed and styled by Angelo Kangleon in Brooklyn, NY, on July 24, 2021

Bentley Robles is a Latinx queer singer, songwriter, performer, and producer of the synth-pop genre based in New York, NY; born and raised in Los Angeles, CA, he grew up knowing that making music was in the stars for him, but that dream laid dormant as he threw himself into the corporate world upon entering adulthood; moving to the Big Apple in 2015 stoked the flames of inspiration for him, and so began a rekindling of his love for music and performing; he burst into the scene in the fall of 2019 with his explosive debut single “Hellboy,” a dark, sinister and sexy club stomper featuring bluesy riffs and industrial drum-based beats that cradle a carefully paced story glorifying self-subversion and the thrills of chasing the proverbial forbidden fruit; the song was quick to earn him a massive following and singlehandedly unveiled a burgeoning New York underground flip side—proof that carefully thought-of work and meticulous production can guarantee a breakthrough (the lyrics of “Hellboy” underwent numerous drafts on his iPhone and sat there for months until he decided it was no longer healthy to keep it under wraps)—and soon Bentley found himself performing in important venues across town; in February of 2020 he dropped his first EP, Overdramatic, featuring “Hellboy” as the carrier single, plus a profusion of other tracks that pair fiendishly catchy electronic beats and lyrics that illuminate the joys of celebrating your individuality; the EP received glorious reviews, and although he never got the chance to truly promote it by virtue of the lockdowns brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, he did get a chance to perform the songs on stage at the famed Bowery Electric, among others, and the release propelled his voice into the LGBTQIA music conversation; fans, critics and industry insiders alike admire Bentley for being a gifted raconteur and for his emphasis on melody—it’s his brutally honest and unapologetically queer narratives jelled with his propensity for dance-anthem-worthy harmonics that make him stand out from his synth-pop contemporaries who favor glacial storytelling set against gnarled tunes; and it is exactly this sterling formula—except more polished and structural this time—that he serves up in his latest EP Don’t Feel Like Talking (stylized as DFLT), released this past spring (May of 2021); themes of self-actualization course through the record, and the first three singles—the deliciously cadenced “Cool Boy,” the immensely danceable “Duh,” and the rapaciously groove-oriented and exquisitely bilingual title track—are, in a dizzyingly accelerating rate, cementing Bentley’s reputation as a torch-bearer to hoist pop music into bright new territory; visit his Website or his Spotify page to stream his songs, or his YouTube channel to watch his videos (including the recently-dropped MV for “Don’t Feel Like Talking,”); follow @bentleyrobles on Instagram for updates on upcoming releases and live performances

Photographed by Angelo Kangleon in Brooklyn, NY, on July 24, 2021 (with social distancing precautions in place); styled by Angelo Kangleon; some of these photos were taken using Kodak Ultramax 400 35mm film

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