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“Ghost Town”: How Benson Boone turned his friend’s toxic relationship into his first hit

M Bensonboone Mclean 013022
McLean

Last year, Benson Boone got his big break when he appeared on American Idol: The judges raved about him and predicted he’d go far, but he ended up withdrawing from the competition. Now, he’s got a hit on his hands with the song “Ghost Town,” and it’s introduced him to a whole new audience who isn’t even aware that he was on the ABC show.

“When I was teasing the song, a lot of people would be like, ‘Oh, I saw you on American Idol and the song is so good and I’m so excited for it to be out,'” he tells ABC Audio. “But now I’m hardly seeing anything from American Idol.”

“Occasionally, I get, like, that one DM where it’s like, ‘I’ve been following you ever since American Idol and blah blah blah,'” he adds. “But most of it now is like, ‘Your song “Ghost Town” is amazing and I’m relating to it,’ and stuff like that, which makes me so happy. Because my ultimate goal is for people to hear my music and love it.”

Benson wrote “Ghost Town” — with its memorable chorus “Before I turn your heart into a ghost town/show me everything we built so I can tear it all down” — about his best friend’s unhealthy relationship.

“I mean, I was kind of his therapist, I guess you could say, in this kind of toxic relationship,” Benson recalls. “And I saw it change him…what he went through, literally, kind of did turn his heart into a ghost town.”

“He was, y’know, not in the best place,” Benson continues. “And…like the ghost town, that metaphor, it came easier than it would seem, because it seemed so real — like, he seemed like he was just empty inside.” 

Thankfully, the friend got out of the relationship, and when Benson told him the song was about him, his reaction was, “Dude, that is so relatable!”

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