Leslie Irene Benson (ASCAP) began her career as an Ohio-based journalist in 1999 while freelancing as a music critic for Impact Weekly (now the Dayton City Paper) and various music magazines and websites like ReGenMag.com. After receiving a master's degree in journalism from Ball State University and a bachelor's in English, she worked as the Music Editor for Nuvo Newsweekly in Indianapolis, IN, from 2006-2007 before continuing her career in magazine journalism, public relations and marketing.
Having written and recorded her first song at age 15 on a lo-fi, fuzzy 4-track recorder, she was self-taught on guitar; she had spent several years singing in a church youth choir; and she had played flute for eight years, including in a symphonic band. She won a Superior 1 rating for a flute solo during a high school competition and later won second place for a song she wrote about diversity, "Love in the Same Way," at Wright State University. The Midwest-based singer-songwriter fronted the poetic rock band Burning Veda in Dayton, Ohio (2001-2002), releasing "The Campfire EP" in 2002. She went on to co-found the Indianapolis-based band Irene & Reed (indie rock/dark-tinged Americana) in 2009 with music partner Jason Reed Milner. Irene & Reed released its debut album, "Closer to Home," in March of 2010.
In August 2012, Benson and Milner launched a new music project, The Sweetest Condition, drawing on their darker electronic music influences, such as Depeche Mode and Nine Inch Nails. They released their industrial synthpop debut "Truth and Light" EP in April of 2013, followed by their first full-length album, "Edge of the World," in 2015. A second full-length album, "We Defy Oblivion," was released in 2016. Both albums were produced and engineered by former Indy-resident Joel Lauver of Burning Bridge Recordings in Nashville, TN.
In 2017, Benson co-launched a New Wave/'80s synthpop band called Electric Dream Society with Canadian-born composer Jason Hubard. New music is in the works!