Multi-talented singer, songwriter, and motivational speaker Benny DiChiara has overcome incredible odds to reach the top of the charts with his band, Empowered. "Listen to the Children," the first video from their critically acclaimed 2019 project, Three Days, has debuted at No. 1 on IndieGospel.net's Top 10 video chart, while the accompanying radio single has hit No. 3 on IndieGospel.net's singles chart.
Benny DiChiara is the founder and frontman of indie Christian rock band Empowered, whose EP, Three Days, along with its debut single, "Listen to the Children," has garnered over 170,000 Spotify streams. Both the "Listen to the Children" single and video have recently landed at the top of IndieGospel.net's Top Ten charts-with the video debuting at #1 and the song hitting the #3 position.
Q: Benny, thanks for doing this interview with us. I believe not too long ago you had a fall, how are you now?
Thank you so much for having me. My fall and subsequent TBI was five years ago this past October 15th. Today, I am doing well by the grace of God. I still have no taste or smell from the injury due to the frontal lobe crush of my brain. All of my other senses are good. There are some other side effects, like short term memory loss. But praise God-I am functioning at 99%.
Q: Tell us what happened -- how did you fall? And what kind of injury did you suffer?
I was walking over to my wife Donna around 6:30 a.m. to get my phone from her, which had gone off in the bedroom after I fell asleep on the sofa. I honestly have no idea what happened after that, because I have a 20 minute or so lack of recall about the event. My wife told the neurosurgeons at the hospital that I did not try to catch myself when I fell, nor did I slip or trip, but just went down horizontally. When my head hit the wood floors, it sounded like a gunshot.
She got me into bed, and after a few minutes, I knew that something was not right. She got me to the hospital, where I was in the ICU for 2 days, and then a hospital room for the next day. I was officially diagnosed with a "traumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage with loss of consciousness of unspecified duration." In layman's terms, I had a traumatic brain injury (TBI) with a brain bleed. Then, the doctor said they could do nothing more for me and sent me home to see how much my brain would recover on its own. I was under strict orders to do nothing, and I slept away the first 20-30 days or so; I don't remember a thing. I began to become somewhat cognizant during the front part of November 2015.
Q: What and who gave you strength during these times?
The "what" to that question is my wife Donna. She literally gave up her life in the normal sense and became my 24/7 full-time nurse. Every 3-4 hours, she had to be awake and aware to get me meds, water, and any kind of liquid sustenance she could get me to drink. The "Who" in this question is most definitely God. He stepped in and saved my life and gave me strength to get through the injury, even as I was unconscious. He continues to walk with me through the after-effects to this day.
Q: Tell us about your new record, "Three Days." How was this record birthed? What are you most excited about it?
"Three Days" is an incredible journey. The song is the title track on our new record, and it was written with the intent of letting people know a few things. No matter what you've done in your past or current life that you may feel is unforgivable, God sent His only Son, Jesus to die for us. He took care of it in just three days.
We ended a Faith Music Festival in Slidell, LA with that song, as it was sort of in its infancy. We opened for 7th Time Down, and the frontman for that band is Mikey Howard. We spoke after the show (which was incredible), and he felt the Lord saying that he should produce our next project. So, the decision was made to do this record - and here we are.
I'm most excited that we have the opportunity to bring the message of Jesus to people through our gift of music. Being on stage and performing is great, but to be able to share and sow into people afterwards is incredible. It is a platform that God has given us that we do not take lightly.
Q: Tell us a little about your band Empowered.
I actually founded Empowered in 1997.Through the years and many changes within the band, God has us exactly where He needs us to be at the right time - HIS timing. It's never about ours, if we just press in and stay consistent and do His calling. The band's name actually comes from a banner hanging in my home church years back which simply read, "Empower." I thought to myself, "how cool is that?"
So, Empowered's name simply means this: we as musicians have been "empowered" with the gift of music so that we can "empower" others with the life-giving message of Jesus so that they can then go out and "empower" others. It's the great commission wrapped up in music.
Q: What's the story behind your #1 single "Listen to the Children"?
I believe that Satan knows his time is up soon. You can see the evil in the world, even if your spiritual glasses aren't on. The attempt to eradicate the Gospel in schools and at home, what the government is allowing into the public square and our schools and universities under the guise of inclusiveness.
If we would just listen to what our children are saying, we could hear what the world is telling them. We can then open up dialogue with our kids to teach them what we stand for biblically. So, that's the crux of the message.
Q: How has your trials and God's healing shaped your new music?
You know, throughout the injury and rehabilitation, and even up to today, my faith was not shaken. It has actually been emboldened. There's something about having a near-miss injury. It's a reflective thing. For me, it was, "How do I repay You for stepping into my life and saving it?"
With that, my new music is more direct. Not that it wasn't before, but there is more energy and passion now. I want people to "feel" what I feel, knowing that the King of Kings has me covered, physically, mentally, and spiritually. There is redemptive power in the message of Jesus, and we're going to get it out there.
Q: What do you have to say to some of our readers who may be going through a tough time now?
"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." - John 14:1-3 [KJV]
I would say to your readers, what an incredible promise! With having gone through a traumatic injury, I realize that there are others who have gone through different trials. Some have gone through even worse injuries than myself-family issues, or addiction issues.
Lay it all at the foot of the cross, because Jesus died for you and me to handle it all. Don't try to figure it out. We're simply too finite to understand the infinite wisdom that is God. Just press in. Call out to Him. He's waiting. What He did for me, He can do for you as well.