Eminem’s “Stan” tells the six-minute tale of an obsessive fan’s downward spiral. With Dido’s “Thank You” sampled in between each anguished verse, it’s one of the Detroit rapper’s heaviest songs. That’s what pop singer Alec Benjamin thought when he first heard it. He covered the song on the most recent episode of Spotify’s Under Cover podcast.
“I went back through all of Eminem’s old records, and when I found ‘Stan’ it gave me this visceral feeling in my gut,” Benjamin said. His life was changed at eight-years-old after he discovered a CD of The Eminem Show. He’s been a die-hard fan ever since. “[Eminem] was the first artist where I was like, ‘I need to make an effort to listen to this music.”
“Stan” influenced Benjamin’s appreciation for music and songwriting. “This song is like a journey. It’s a really sad story — it’s a very sad, but incredibly well told, brilliant, genius story … When I got to the end of the song, and you find out that he’s writing a letter to somebody who’s already passed away, and the way he realizes and ties it together … it was about the storytelling, which got me hooked.”
Benjamin’s cover was inspired by a live Eminem performance, which he describes as “slightly more stripped than the original.” As an acoustic artist, he knew covering “Stan” was a risk. “I never rap — I’m not a rapper, I don’t pretend to be a rapper.” But, he does have one advantage. “Most rappers can’t sing the Dido part, and that’s pretty essential to the song.”