The singing realtor – in touch and in tune
Real estate might be the commodity he trades, but it’s a little bit of show biz that inks the deal for this tuneful Kingston realtor.
Benji Perosin, Artsci’97, who majored in music and psychology, combines his love of real estate with his musical talents to pen and perform songs that highlight the features of each Kingston real estate property he sells. Instead of offering the same old industry standard online video tour, Benji and his partner Chris Morris prefer to create a video tour of each listing with its very own soundtrack.
The result is folksy-bluesy tunes performed on the piano, trumpet, guitar, and harmonica, with lyrics that run from factual to sweet to comical.
Here’s a taste of what they wrote for one recent listing: “You can walk everywhere you need/It won’t be long now till you get the deed./This house at 480 Bagot/ It’ll be gone if you don’t soon snag it.”
Or this lyric from another area listing: “1478 Adams Avenue/It’s only four years old/It might as well be brand new./Midland Park is a lovely neighbourhood/If you buy this house your life will be good.”
The idea for their tuneful tours came when they were venting about a lost deal. Inspiration comes from the homes’ features and the neighbourhoods in which they’re located. Benji and Chris bounce musical ideas off each other and then begin jamming, and from that a tune is born.
Benji’s musical roots go back to his teens, when he “got stuck” playing the trumpet rather than the sax in a high school music class. Private lessons followed, and when it was time to select a university, Queen’s made sense, not just for music but because it would place him far enough away from his hometown of Milton, Ontario.
It was in his final year at Queen’s when a musician asked him to jam at a local club that Benji fell in love with the performance aspect of playing. The band, Bloom, played at Aykroyd’s Bar (now The Mansion) and at the popular student hang-out The Shot.
While playing on the festival circuit, Benji hooked up with the Toronto-based funk group God Made Me Funky, nominated for a Juno in 2008 as best rhythm and blues band. With Directions, a jazz and electronic group, he secured a record deal in London, England. Session work with various artists such as Sarah Harmer and Hayden followed.
High housing prices pushed Benji and his wife to move from Toronto to Kingston in 2010, and he soon rekindled his friendship with Chris Morris, a local musician Benji knew from his post-university days.
Benji, whose songs still get radio and Internet play all over the world, is as active today musically as he is in real estate, touring festivals, playing nightclubs, and doing session work.
The 39-year-old is aware that some people consider their real estate tunes corny or unprofessional, but clients seem to enjoy them. He and Chris are busy and business is growing.
“I’m sure there are realtors who think we’re idiots,” laughs Benji. “I imagine those people don’t have a sense of humour.”
Despite the naysayers, Benji and Chris are committed to their songs. In fact, they recently developed a new marketing brochure with the tagline, “In touch and in tune.”
To check out Benji’s musical listings, visit www.chrisandbenji.com and click on the link to their YouTube channel.