Glenda Benevides Story

Glenda Benevides is an award winning, Recording Academy voting member, GRAMMY® considered a singer-songwriter who weaves stories that touch the soul. Imagine the soul  singing love child of Heart, Janis Joplin, and Bessie Smith and that is Glenda. A powerfully resonate voice, emanating with blues and soul, demanding attention, calling to action and uplifting the very fabric of love shared amongst us all… Like a wild tent revival preacher, Glenda’s  sermon is empowerment, enlightenment and building bridges of understanding all wrapped in  powerful self-expression that moves you from the head to the feet! Glenda Benevides was born in Oakland Ca and has been singing professionally since 16. Deeply influenced by classic vocalist Sarah Vaughan to Rachelle Ferrell to Staple Singers, her soul’s expression and intention is of the heart. Glenda has toured from Japan to the EU to the UK on through Canada leaving no stone unturned to light a fire on the dance floor. Her  career has included singing and performing for the South African Film Festival in Cannes France, The Brava theater for a women’s fundraiser gala in San Francisco, the Popkomm Music conference in Berlin, a Beverly Wilshire, Los Angeles solo performance for bestselling author Harv Ecker (Millionaire Mind seminars) and a guest appearance at the Crown Plaza in Santiago, Chile to a Presidential fundraiser for Dennis Kucinich at the Kuumbwas Jazz Center in Santa Cruz, CA and in 2017 a rally for Alabama Dem Senator Doug Jones.

Glenda has also produced many of her live performances, a web series, music videos and has been the creative director and producer for many private events such as an exclusive fundraising gala for The Shakespeare Society of America, Foundation for Climate Restoration and donates a percentage from her music sales to One Tree Planted. Glenda also started started her own record company Good Witch Records in 2004, along with Mirror Speaks The Truth productions for music in film and tv. Glenda wrote and developed a tv script called Never Give Up. She started Global Badass Goddess online Magazine and podcast in 2018, which features women from around the world sharing  stories of inspiration and empowerment. She now has a Glenda Benevides Music podcast to share stories from extraordinary artists in their trials and triumphs. Glenda is an author of Courage, Find Your Fire and Ignite Action in Your Life along with Own The Goddess Within e-book and workshop. She has worked and sung with artists Toto, Jeffrey Osborne, Pink Martini and Broadway artist of “Aida” fame, Damian Perkins, Steve Smith of Dirty Vegas, just to name a few. Awards received include AOF Action on Film International LA Film Festival X 2014 award winner for Best Score, Original composition Change – Orphans in the Storm.

  What memories from your early life bring a huge smile to your face?

I am fortunate because I was born and raised for the first 6 years of my life in Oakland, California in the Ghetto. It  was pretty hardcore and my parents decided to move when my dad got another job up North. We moved to Salem Oregon and it was a leave it to beaver lifestyle for a young kid. I am glad it was so, because it allowed me to play and discover myself as a young girl growing up so am grateful for that. I have never shared this experience with anyone but I think it’s relevant and I want to share. I was 16 and had just got into high school, there was a young man that was a bit older than me. He was around age 20- 21 yrs and handsome. He and I were dating and he was appropriate with my parents, my parents liked him.  He had graduated from high school and was on his way to college. He asked my parents for permission to go with him to visit his college dorm apartment with his friend. My parents knew him so they felt it was okay. I was 16 at the time and as a typical 16 year old was romanticizing the whole thing being naive. So, as we went off to his college in his car we did a little side trip up in the mountains where it was covered in  snow. We got out of the car and played around in the snow. I remember being happy and laughing . He was chasing after me and when he caught up to me, he kissed me differently and it felt uncomfortable. I was  a virgin and did not understand the ins and outs of sexuality.

We got back in the car and headed back to his apartment, when we arrived his roommate decided to leave and I was left alone with him.  He then excused himself went into the other room. I was sitting on the couch alone watching TV and he called out to me. He was in the bedroom, and when I went to the room he was in the bed. Being a 16 year old girl and naive at the time I did what he asked. I was  uncomfortable but trusting, he coaxed me to get in the bed. Then he began to touch me in ways that were foreign. He then penetrated me and it was painful. After, I remember getting up from the bed and going to the bathroom  looking at myself in the mirror and thinking “ you are different now“ . It was very upsetting and challenging because this is a  person I liked , I felt safe, connected to and being manipulated to do something I didn’t want to do, or understand was a mind boggling, traumatic scenario . At that point I wasn’t thinking I was raped even though I felt like it. He took me home and on our way he took me to dinner. To him it wasn’t a big deal and I remember going to the bathroom and I realized I was bleeding and I didn’t know what that meant. At that moment I had the choice of telling my parents,  I knew my dad would kill him and I chose to protect my parents from the violence they would inflict on him. So, it was my secret and I never told them about the incident. After that incident he called me once and that was it I never heard from him again.

You can imagine what that felt like. Not telling anyone about the incident forced me to face and deal with the trauma on my own. I was experiencing low self-esteem and as time went on I normalized it and over time, when the Metoo conversations came up on the planet, the memories came flooding back and I realized that I had had a Metoo experience that night. Despite having the experience, I never allowed it to hold me back. I continue to do my own inner work and shadow work. It’s powerful and allows me to be free!

  How did this experience affect you or play out in your life?

My self esteem took a hit because I felt different, not worthy and most of all the incompletion of not telling my parents or anyone. I went on to normalize everything. I didn’t go into rage, drugs or do anything crazy, instead I gravitated towards creativity. Being an artist gave me a channel to express myself.  I joined my first band at 16 and I became “ one  of the guys “ in the band. Part of the brotherhood, I thought of myself as a person always so I would pick up, set up the gear, put up the lights like everyone else. I could see that this created acceptance, safety as they were like my brothers.  It took me a long time to wear and be okay with sexy outfits whilst performing on stage. As a teenager I had fairly large breasts and on my first official gig at 17 I was singing my first song of the night on stage, and a guy seated in the back yelled “big tits” and that was it for me. I was so embarrassed I wanted to hide, run off the stage but I kept singing while crying inside. I just wanted people to see me for my talent and who I am and not that I had big breasts. That year I had breast reduction surgery because that was not going to happen again. I took a horrible situation and created a solution. That is my moto in life. If you don’t like it shift it.  In essence ultimately it was a good move for me because the doctor said I needed to do it as he saw possible health issues down the line.

After that I felt good in my body, I felt sexy and more myself because I got to be me.

 You focus heavily on self expression, what has been your journey on self expression

This is the first time I am speaking about this aspect of my journey, I never thought about how the experience influenced how I showed up and I see it now. I was hiding trying to find safety at the same time I was performing on stage. I was hiding and conservative on the inside but on the outside I was out there wearing sexy outfits and connecting with people. Creating honor and balance in both worlds. In 1998 I did a course called landmark education and that was all about freedom and self expression. Gaining tools to practice with to allow yourself to know when you’re lying to yourself and when you’re not. It’s a zone of be, do and have. They talk about BEING, this is even before the word transformation was used liberally in our culture today. When I was in  Kuala Lumpur it was very hot and I  encountered a Muslim woman covered up all the way to her face and I get it , it’s their religion and it could be or not be their choice and am not talking about that. What I was interested in is the basic facts. It’s hot and she had her face , neck and body all covered up and I felt why the torture? It really upset me because I felt it’s about power, control, manipulation and dominating women and not the freedom to choose. I feel that restrictions that create harm or a lack of self expression in the name of God is not balanced. Why can’t we pray to Jesus, Muhammed,  Buddha or whomever people pray to without having to wear the regalia or hurt someone. At the time I felt it was an attack on women to suppress them that’s my opinion. I have friends from all walks of life, I am not trying to disrupt anyone beliefs but merely speaking from my point of view. As a woman in the 21st century with the metoo movement all of it


I feel like we are at a level where we can have conversations and businesses and don’t have to fear for our lives because we don’t have the right clothing. We are fortunate to be here in the US with somethings and as you look back on our history as women we’ve had to fight to have the vote, to own property, to not have to wear dresses to school, to speak our truth and not be punished for it. This is not true across the board. Some women in some cultures still do not have the right to drive or go anywhere without being accompanied by a relative or male. This to me is not freedom or self expression. This is my thoughts and experience on my journey so please take it as such. I stand for acceptance, love, self expression and freedom. These are the things that were upsetting me and getting me angry, so I wrote a song about it called “Liberate Me” This helped me to let go and accept others choices. That’s where the self expression piece started and I slowly embraced the things I had learned.

 What does self expression mean to you?

Self expression is a phenomenon in BEING

I come to a place where I accept who I am. What is it that I like and what is it that I don’t like? When I recognize the things I don’t like, I find a way around them. I get practical and this is the beginning of the clarity part .I recognize and observe what I am afraid to say or do and I make the choice and say, I don’t want to be afraid or imprisoned by those things. I then decide how I want to show up for myself and the world to shift the things they aren’t working. Then I start to be curious and think how to handle challenges differently. Once you hit “curious”you are then looking for what can break the fear.

This  is a step by step process of being accountable and responsible for yourself. And when you step into that, that’s a way of BEING in your life and it becomes clear. Then you can have the courage, then opportunities for confidence, a commitment shows up because you know yourself and then you allow community to shine in your life. That’s how I see it

Share with us about your book COURAGE

I wrote a book called COURAGE find your fire and ignite action your life. I have a course “ Own the Goddess Within “ and that was originally my 2 day course and now it’s a one day course.

I now have a one-hour impactful hybrid blend of music, video and audience interaction that I will be touring. This is presentation is in the realms of edutainment. Transformational, spiritual and moving. It’s called “Soul On Fire” I will eventually have a retreat as well called “ Soul on Fire”

                                                                    What are you working on right now?

Musically I’m working on a song called “Pride” which is a working title. TBA in Aug. It was inspired by a tragic story a good friend of mine experienced while on his way to work at a gas station. He was so upset he shared his experience on Facebook. I read it and was moved to write about it in a song. It’s a challenge we all face by not being active in our lives to do things about situations that upset us and that aren’t working. It takes all of us to make a change together. So, my friend had pulled into a gas station on his way to work and he saw a man on the ground dragging himself across the pavement. He looked around and everyone was ignoring the man, he rushed over to the man to help him and take care of him. The man was homeless and in dire need. My friend was shocked by the scenario and wrote about it and when I read it, it hit me hard and I wrote a song about it called “pride.” It will be out this year in 2024 ready for Grammy submissions! Fingers crossed! I am hoping that it will land in the right place and people will be moved to make a difference in their community with a helping hand.

You are multifaceted , being an artist, healer , advocate etc . Do you tap into all these aspects of yourself when producing music or art?

Yes, I’m a Reiki master and have been one since the 1980’s. It was originated by Mikao Usui from Japan in the 1920’s meaning Life Force Energy. Back when I was learning it there were only 22 dedicated masters allowed to share the work which was from Hawayo Takata, who was attuned by Hayashi. I thought I was going to be a reiki practitioner, I practiced for a while and then I realized that hands-on work is not for me. I started using it on myself, friends and then used it on stage through the music. More effect for me activating it as soon as I get on stage.

What is your process when producing any work, how do you know or feel the book , the lyrics, the art ready to be expressed?

It’s different every time for me. There is no set pattern, there is just an inner desire and intention to create. Sometimes people beliefs get in the way. I think you can write or create at any moment you choose, and I have. Sometimes you might have to wait longer or one may not feel inspired but you can! I could sit down right now and if you said write me a song , if I want to I can do it, it might not be great but I can do it. I would say don’t let anything stop you from being creative, self expressed in an art form of you choosing. You would be blocking and lying to yourself if you believe that .

There is no wait for God to show up so I can be inspired, just tap into yourself and ask the right question.

Be curious about you and the world

Go out and be involved with people

Be curious, listen, ask questions

Have conversations with other people

Once you do this you begin to see life and other people’s ideas, experiences and opinions and it adds to your complete life.  And then you have food for creativity which you continue to nurture . At times I get music that comes to me , my music partner, Gene and  I write together as well. He would send me something and I would tap into it, like yes I am feeling it, or am not feeling it . Not that I can’t do it, it’s just that I tend to want to be authentic . In my journey that authenticity has to be there. I ask myself Is there value to that? I have to look at that and if I feel there is value I go for it. All song writers are different , some write whatever they want and when I sit down I have to write something poignant for me.

You mentioned asking the right questions, What is the one question consistent in your life that you ask yourself to keep you on the right track?

What do I want?  This is the foundation and then other questions come from that like how am I serving people? How will this make a difference?

How do you protect your authenticity, your essence and whole being?

This is a 2 fold question for me. If I am going onstage I set the intention that I am not pushing against anything, that I’m not drawn into anything other than my focus this supports not taking on unwanted extraneous energy’s.  Protection in mine already, what I do is focus on what I want to create and what gifts I will leave people with. This is my service. Doing this I tap into my higher spirit and naturally visualize light all around me and I go and let go. This process is quick I am not there for 20 min trying to do this. I am one with it.

As far as protecting my authenticity , I believe it’s key to have that foundation to knowing who you are, so when you enter a room you follow your intuition and all your true essence shine. It’s best to practice not speaking all the time, but to listen, so you know what others are about. If you find you’re not aligned with them or the situation, you just move along. When I enter a room I make sure I stay in touch with me and make sure I listen to that inner voice within me.

 What’s the most fun performance you have had?

It was in Scotland at the Rock and Blues festival just before the yearly fringe festival. It was packed out with around 2500 people, maybe more. It was delightful and exquisite. I felt loved, honored and respected. People were so warm and welcoming on all levels. From backstage, to getting a beautiful music review to organizer Alison Demarco who was a kindheart, selfless gem!  It was a fabulous night and I got to love on people in the audience with my gifts. I felt that I was in my rightful place. It was a deeply moving moment for me as an artist. My uncle, who was aware he didn’t have much time to live, came with his daughter my cousin to join in the celebration of music, my career and our lives together. They too were so excited; I am proud to have Scottish heritage. My grandfather’s lineage is part of the Douglas Clan.

 What is your most memorable moment in your life

I have a future one! When I accept my grammy! I have had so many memorable moments … I set an intention about 4 years ago. I was asking myself what would move my career and I said I want to be in the recording academy, and I want a Grammy. I said to myself “I have been in the music business for over 35 years. Why can’t I have one?” Well that was a journey unto itself!

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