Could dialect poet William Barnes have imagined that 220 years later another poet from the same hamlet would create a song heard across the world?
In October last year, Ben Varney (22) received a request through the online freelance marketplace
Fiverr for a song for a client in Japan:
“He provided a beat for me to rap to, and asked me to make a UFC-style video game fighting song. I wrote and recorded the song in about an hour. The client was happy, paid me £120, and I forgot about it.”
Ben lives with his parents in the tiny hamlet of Bagber near Sturminster Newton, the birthplace of Dorset dialect poet William Barnes (1801-86). Currently studying for his Master’s at Bath University, like most students, Ben supplements his income. Along with bar work at Plumber Manor, he sells his abilities as a rapper on Fiverr. Taking commissions through the online marketplace, Ben records at home with a microphone attached to a kitchen table.
Last month, Ben saw that forgotten song begin to appear in his ‘top songs’ online. Unsure how, he searched for it on YouTube and came up with Ready For The War JONAH (play the video below). “I was shocked to see it had over 35,000 views – but that it had been posted without my name and, on top of that, on the New Japan Pro-Wrestling channel, a professional wrestling organisation. To be honest, I usually only get about ten views, half of which are my gran.
“From here I found my track was the official song for a professional Australian professional wrestler named
JONAH. He uses it for every live bout entrance and exit, as well as in any match held by the US wrestling organisation IMPACT.
The song can be heard playing in wrestling arenas in the US (I’ve been played in Las Vegas!), Australia, Japan and more; some of the videos have upwards of 300,000 views.
“It was amazing to find that my voice has been played in arenas all over the world, especially as I had no idea what the song was going to be used for.”
And how much more did Ben make from the song – was it a lucrative deal for the useage on such a huge worldwide stage?
“No, nothing – just that initial £120! Apparently my original client worked for New Japan Pro-Wrestling. I did have in the contract that I should at least be credited wherever the music was used, but my client then handed the song rights to the wrestler in question, so it all gets very muddy.”
You can follow Ben and hear more of his music on his Instagram account @BenVarneyOfficial
By Laura Hitchcock