Benjamin Scott “Ben” Folds (born September 12, 1966) is an American singer-songwriter and record producer. From 1995 to 2000, Folds was the frontman and pianist of the alternative rock band Ben Folds Five. After the group temporarily disbanded, Folds performed as a solo artist and has toured all over the world. The group reunited in 2011.
He has also collaborated with musicians such as William Shatner, Regina Spektor and “Weird Al” Yankovic and undertaken experimental songwriting projects with authors such as Nick Hornby and Neil Gaiman. In addition to contributing music to the soundtracks of the animated films Over the Hedge, and Hoodwinked!, Folds produced Amanda Palmer’s first solo album and was a judge on the NBC a cappella singing contest The Sing-Off from 2009 to 2013.
Folds was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He became interested in piano at age nine. His father, a carpenter, brought one home through a barter trade with a customer who was unable to pay. During this time, Folds listened to songs by Elton John and Billy Joel on AM radio, and learned them by ear. During his years at Richard J. Reynolds High School in Winston-Salem, Folds played in several bands as the pianist, bassist, or drummer.